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LightSquared Interference Report Gets 2-Week Extension

– The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted a request by LightSquared
for a two-week extension for filing a multi-industry report on potential interference
from LightSquared’s proposed 4G cellular network on the operation of commercial
and consumer GPS systems.

 The report, which was due yesterday, is now
due July 1, after which a public comment period will begin before the FCC makes
a final decision on letting LightSquared build its terrestrial network.

extension was criticized immediately by GPS-equipment suppliers in the Coalition
to Save Our GPS, which complained that the results of field testing by a multi-industry
working group “show devastating interference to GPS and no proven method of

The group added, “Delay will not change these results.”

time for LightSquared and the FCC to stop squandering resources and move on to
spectrum that does not impact GPS,” the group continued.

 For its part, LightSquared has been saying
that filters on its base-station equipment would prevent signals from spilling
over into the adjacent GPS band.

  LightSquared plans a satellite- and
terrestrial-based 4G network to provide terrestrial- and satellite-based voice
and data service on a wholesale basis to retailers, cable operators, and other
companies that want to offer service under their own brand.

late last year granted a waiver to let LightSquared build the terrestrial
portion of its network in the 1525MHz to 1559MHz L-band, which was previously
reserved only for satellite service. The FCC, however, made the waiver
contingent on LightSquared and the GPS industry resolving any potential
interference problems from the signals, which are too weak to interfere with
GPS systems when broadcast from satellites.

“After pushing the FCC to order an accelerated review of the
interference issues raised by its proposed service, a process that has consumed
massive governmental and private resources, LightSquared has now unilaterally
sought to delay the process for two week,” complained Jim Kirkland, VP/general counsel
for Trimble, a GPS supplier and coalition founder.

group consists of companies in the aviation, agriculture, transportation,
construction, engineering, and surveying industries as well as suppliers of
GPS-based equipment and services.

 In a previous statement, Kirkland said two
separate tests conducted to measure interference to GPS receivers used in
aviation and other government applications found “substantial interference” and
that LightSquared didn’t deliver “test equipment that matches its proposed
operations, thus causing optimistic results – and even those optimistic results
showed interference.”