Washington - GPS
industry representatives went before Congress today to pan a proposal by
LightSquared to reduce interference between LightSquared's planned 4G cellular
network and GPS receives used by consumers and industry.LightSquared
offered to limit the
initial operation of its 4G LTE network to the lower part of the L-band
spectrum that it planned to use and to reduce planned base-station transmitter
power by more than 50 percent. Although LightSquared said the solution would
still, to some degree, likely affect precision GPS systems used by the aviation
and agriculture industries, it said it would work to include solutions in a report
to be delivered to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on July 1.
prepared for a hearing by a House Transportation and Infrastructure
Subcommittee, representatives from GPS supplier Garmin, the Air Transport Association
(ATA), and the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA) contended the
only way to resolve interference would be to move LightSquare's operation out
of the L band altogether to a band farther away from the GPS band.
proposals are either "infeasible or insufficient," a statement by the three
Referring to plans
to move LightSquared operations to a lower portion of the L band farther away
from GPS frequencies and to reduce base-station output, ATA senior VP Tom
Hendricks said the plans were "fraught with technical challenges not yet fully
understood." Regarding a proposal to apply filters to high-precision GPS
receivers, Hendricks noted that no such filters today exist.
Even if a
technical fix did become feasible, the costs would be astronomical, Hendricks
continued. "The U.S. airline industry simply cannot afford to purchase and
install it in approximately 6,600 aircraft, which would cost billions of
dollars," he contended.
engineering VP Philip Straub said the LightSquared solution "conveniently
ignores much of the existing user base, especially users of high precision GPS
"With so much of
the early evidence showing that LightSquared's proposed network would potentially
endanger nearly every flight operating in U.S. airspace, it seems evident that
no further development of this system can be allowed," added AOPA president/CEO
For its part, the
carrier has said that tests
run by LightSquared and GPS suppliers
found the lower block of frequencies to
be "largely free of interference issues with the exception of a limited number
of high-precision GPS receivers." To "provide additional protection," the
carrier said it would reduce maximum authorized base-station transmitter power
by more than 50 percent.
"This is a
solution which ensures that tens of millions of GPS users won't be affected by
LightSquared's launch," said LightSquared chairman/CEO Sanjiv Ahuja.
Washington - GPS industry representatives went before Congress today to pan a proposal by LightSquared to reduce interference between LightSquared's planned 4G cellular network and GPS receives used by consumers and industry.