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Satnews Daily
June 30th, 2011

LightSquared's GPS Interference Solution Could Cost Just Five Cents

[SatNews] LightSquared says they've got the solution.

LightSquared™, the nation’s first wholesale-only integrated wireless broadband and satellite network, formally presented the company’s modified spectrum plan to the FCC and proposed a comprehensive solution to the GPS interference issue. This plan will serve as a foundation for the construction of a new wireless broadband network that will bring world-class Internet service to the United States, including rural areas and other underserved communities and inject new competition in an increasingly consolidating wireless market.

LightSquared’s proposal outlines a three-part solution for resolving GPS interference issues involving GPS devices, which was detailed in recommendations filed at the FCC today. GPS device test results, which were also filed at the FCC today, show unequivocally that the interference is caused by the GPS device manufacturer’s decision over the last eight years to design products that depend on using spectrum assigned to other FCC licensees. Now LightSquared is stepping forward to help resolve the problem. In contrast, the GPS device manufacturers, unlike relevant government agencies, have been largely uninterested in finding a win-win solution. 

Rather, their only answer to a problem of their own making is to demand that the government simply block LightSquared from using the company’s own spectrum to roll out the first wholesale-only wireless broadband network for the entire nation — an economic benefit worth as much as $120 billion to consumers. This is a problem that the GPS industry could have avoided by equipping their devices over the last several years with filters that cost as little as five cents each.

“This issue will be resolved by good data, smart engineers and good faith problem solving dialog.  The end-result will be continuity for the reliable and safe GPS system we have come to depend on along with a new high speed wireless network that will provide huge benefits to consumers,’’ said Sanjiv Ahuja, LightSquared Chairman and CEO.

Despite the GPS industry’s claims, the FCC does not face a stark choice between reliable GPS service and a new competitor in the broadband market. In fact, the testing results released today show LightSquared’s proposed solution resolves interference for approximately 99.5 percent of all commercial GPS devices- including 100 percent of the 300 million GPS-enabled cell phones. While issues remain with precision GPS devices, LightSquared is fully committed to finding a solution. It is unthinkable that a nation which recently completed a complex digital-television transition involving nearly every household in the U.S. will be stymied by a problem posed by approximately 200,000 GPS devices. But LightSquared cannot solve this problem on its own. It needs the cooperation of the GPS industry.

LightSquared believes cooperation is the least to expect from an industry that built a business by piggy-backing on the federal government’s GPS network without any investment in infrastructure or spectrum. A recent Brattle Group study showed that the commercial GPS industry’s ability to use the U.S. government’s GPS network amounts to an $18 billion federal subsidy.

LightSquared is fully committed to a safe and robust GPS service. In fact, LightSquared will not launch unless the FCC, in consultation with the NTIA, is satisfied that all reasonable interference concerns have been addressed. In the meantime, LightSquared looks forward to working with the FCC, NTIA, and other federal agencies in its effort to find solutions so that it can move forward with its plan to bring world-class wireless broadband services and needed competition to 260 million Americans in 2015.