LightSquared Interference Report Gets 2-Week Extension

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Washington - 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.

The 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 mitigation."

The group added, "Delay will not change these results."

"It's 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.

The FCC 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.

The 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."


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