LIghtSquared Update - Fed Report Conclusions Released, House Bill Passes to hold Approval, More 12/15/11

An official statement on the report (not yet public) on testing of LightSquared interference leaked and reported on last week was made public on Wednesday. In short:

Government tests showed that "LightSquared signals caused harmful interference to the majority of…general purpose GPS receivers," said Anthony Russo, director of the National Coordination Office for Spaced-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing, a government and industry advisory board, in a statement late Wednesday.


The Dept of Defense and Dept of Transportation issued their own statement, including this text.

However, the testing did show that LightSquared signals caused harmful interference to the majority of other tested general purpose GPS receivers.  Separate analysis by the Federal Aviation Administration also found interference with a flight safety system designed to warn pilots of approaching terrain.

- press release

The testing found no interference with cell phones. The House passed a bill stating FCC could not approve LightSquared use of spectrum until the Dept of Defense cleared its concerns. 

In addition, language passed by the House in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) contains a provision that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) shall not provide final authorization for LightSquared operations until Defense Department concerns about GPS interference have been resolved. That language was authored by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) who chairs the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.

- PC Mag

In perhaps related news FCC chief of staff Eddie Lazarus resigns, though the sense is that had more to do with net neutrality and the recent mergers in the telcom arena.

- WaPo

In response to the leaked report info (and presumably the official statement), Javad Ashjaee, Ph.D.m CEO of Javad (the first company to offer a filter) suggested other low end GPSs would fail when near FM signals. He asked the FCC to establish guidelines for GPS receivers, including that they include details of their signal to noise ratios.

- Letter to FCC/press release

And of course, LightSquared offered its response:

While we are eager to continue to work with the FAA on addressing the one remaining issue regarding terrain avoidance systems, we profoundly disagree with the conclusions drawn with respect to general navigation devices.
LightSquared has had the legal and regulatory right to use its spectrum for eight years over two administrations. The testing further confirmed that the interference issues are not caused by LightSquared's spectrum, but by GPS devices looking into spectrum that is licensed to LightSquared. 

- press release

Published Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Written by Adena Schutzberg

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