Lightsquared Solution To GPS Concerns Not Well Received By Industry

Chuck Zimmerman

Yesterday Lightsquared announced a “solution” to concerns over interference with GPS systems from it’s proposed wireless broadband network.

LightSquared™, a wholesale carrier building a nationwide wireless broadband network that will create consumer choice and industry innovation, has signed an agreement with Javad GNSS Inc. to develop a system that will eliminate related interference issues for high-precision GPS devices.

The Javad GNSS system can be adapted to work with high-precision GPS devices including those already in the agriculture, surveying, construction and defense industries. (full release)

I’m not sure how forcing farmers and all kinds of people, especially those defending our country, to purchase new equipment that will have to be installed to keep their current GPS systems working is a real solution to what appears to be a very real problem. I’m all for more and better choices for broadband, especially in rural areas but not at the expense of GPS systems that perform very critical functions. This action seems to be an admission by Lightsquared that the concerns are real. Otherwise, why do this? I asked the Coalition to Save Our GPS for their response and got it right away.

“LightSquared has, as usual, oversimplified and greatly overstated the significance of the claims of a single vendor to have ‘solved’ the interference issue. There have been many vendor claims that have not proven out in rigorous tests and the demanding tests of marketplace acceptance. Moreover, this is not a one-size-fits-all situation and a few prototypes does not a solution make. The estimated 750,000 to 1 million high-precision GPS receivers now in use in the United States vary widely: there are hundreds of different high-precision devices used in performing thousands of different tasks. High-precision GPS supports a wide variety of uses, including agriculture, construction, aviation, surveying and many scientific and safety-of-life applications.

“LightSquared also ignores that fact that availability of new products, even if confirmed, does not address this very large existing base of equipment. If and when solutions are available, LightSquared must accept responsibility for paying to replace the existing base of existing equipment with new products.

“In any case, this is not an issue that can be solved with a LightSquared press release. As the FCC and NTIA recently recognized, more testing is necessary to evaluate interference impacts under LightSquared’s latest technical proposals. We welcome the participation of Javad in those tests.”

Equipment, Internet