NTIA, No Practical Way To Mitigate Lightsquared Signal Against GPS Interference


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NTIA, No Practical Way To Mitigate Lightsquared Signal Against GPS Interference

By Mike Mitchell

February 16, 2012 - The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the federal agency that coordinates spectrum uses for the military and other federal government entities, has now concluded that there is no practical way to mitigate potential interference with the global positioning systems (GPS) at this time. Consequently, the FCC will not lift the prohibition on LightSquared. 

LightSquared is a company that plans to develop a wholesale 4G LTE wireless broadband communications network integrated with satellite coverage across the United States. However, the issue of interference between it LightSquared network and with global positioning systems (GPS) used by the aviation industry has caused the company problems in getting the needed authorization from the FCC. 

NTIA is proposing to vacate the Conditional Waiver Order, and to suspend indefinitely LightSquared?s Ancillary Terrestrial Component authority to an extent consistent with the NTIA letter.  

LightSquared was granted the first license to deploy and provide terrestrial service in the L-Band spectrum in November 2004 and in 2011, LightSquared announced that it had signed a 15-year agreement with Sprint to build and operate its wireless network. 

GPS receivers have relatively sensitive "front ends" because of the extremely weak signal strength, generally have little filtering to further reduce the signal loss, and are subject to interference from high power signals in the L band, something made worse when an active antenna system containing a LNA is added to the system. When MSS/ATC (Mobile Satellite Service/Ancillary Terrestrial Component) operation was first proposed, the number of ATC transmitters was thought to be small, because it was part of an integrated system with the satellite.  

In response to the NTIA?s recommendation to the FCC regarding LightSquared?s network, the company said it remains committed to finding a resolution with the federal government and the GPS industry to resolve all remaining concerns. LightSquared reports it is confident that the parties will continue the on-going efforts to explore all engineering options and alternatives to find a solution to this difficult issue.  

However, LightSquared stated the NTIA?s recommendation relied on the flawed conclusions of the PNT ExCOM about LightSquared?s potential impact on GPS. LightSquared profoundly disagrees with both the NTIA?s and the PNT?s recommendations, which disregard more than a decade of regulatory orders, and in doing so, jeopardize private enterprise, jobs and investment in America's future.

LightSquared said NTIA relied on interference standards that have never been used in this context, and were forced by the GPS community in order to reach the conclusions presented.

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