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Government Analyzing GPS-Interference Tests

12/01/2011 03:18:39 PM Eastern
Washington, D.C. - The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is analyzing the results of tests designed to gauge whether LightSquared's proposed terrestrial LTE network will interfere with the operation of GPS receivers in cellphones, car navigation systems, and other consumer-oriented devices used for marine and outdoor recreation activities.

The federal agency said it would "promptly" analyze the results, examine potential technical solutions if needed, and develop recommendations, as it announced in an earlier statement. A spokesperson, however, gave no specific deadline for the NTIA to issue its conclusions.

The NTIA also plans to review the results of separate tests planned for GPS receivers used for high-precision and timing applications. Those tests will include GPS devices modified with new filtering technology that LightSquared and other companies have said will solve interference and would need to be added to existing GPS devices. A start date for those tests hasn't been determined, the spokesperson said.

LightSquared has said that previous testing showed that planned modifications to its network deployment would "resolve interference" with all but high-precision GPS devices, which consist of GPS devices used in aviation, agriculture, construction, engineering, surveying, disaster monitoring, and government applications. The company proposed new filtering technology that could be added to high-precision GPS devices to eliminate interference.

But a coalition of GPS industry groups opposed to LightSquared's plans has dismissed the assertions. The Coalition to Save Our GPS contended that previous testsfound that LightSquared interfered with GPS in six of 39 cellphones and with 20 of 29 general location/navigation receivers. The group also cast doubts on the effectiveness of adding filters to these devices and high-precision GPS devices.
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