Coalition Warns If
LightSquared Moves Forward There Will Be GPS Disruption
By Shane Nolan
November 12, 2011 - Representatives of the Coalition to
Save Our GPS on told the Space Based Positioning,
Navigation, and Timing (PNT) National Advisory Board
that if LightSquared is allowed to proceed with the its
plans to establish a high powered terrestrial broadband
network in spectrum long reserved for satellite
transmissions the costs and disruption to industry,
government and individuals will be immense and far
reaching, and said that LightSquared should be
foreclosed from using the upper mobile satellite
LightSquared is a company that plans to develop a
wholesale 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) wireless
broadband communications network integrated with
satellite coverage across the United States.
company has operated in the North American market with two
geostationary satellites since 1995. MSAT-2 is licensed in the
United States and was launched in 1995. MSAT-1 is licensed in
Canada and was launched in 1996. LightSquared was granted the
first license to deploy and provide terrestrial service in the
L-Band spectrum in November 2004. In 2011, LightSquared
announced that it had signed a 15-year agreement with Sprint to
build and operate its wireless network .
January 12, 2011 letter to the FCC, National Telecommunications
and Information Administration (NTIA) chief Lawrence Strickling
said that LightSquared's hybrid mobile broadband services raise
"significant interference concerns. Grant of the LightSquared
waiver would create a new interference environment and it is
incumbent on the FCC to deal with the resulting interference
issues before any interference occurs.
from Coalition members participating in a panel discussion in an
open session of the PNT Advisory Board included Jim Kirkland,
Vice President and General Counsel of Trimble, and Scott Burgett,
Director of GNSS Technology of Garmin. Kirkland told the
PNT that the Coalition, in a filing yesterday with the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) and a subsequent news release,
seeks to have the Commission rule that LightSquared cannot use
the upper MSS band for high powered terrestrial operations.
Kirkland told the PNT that the Coalition, in a filing yesterday with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and a subsequent news release, seeks to have the Commission rule that LightSquared cannot use the upper MSS band for high powered terrestrial operations.
said, ?LightSquared is asking everyone to concentrate on the lower band
and its proposed solutions for using that spectrum, which are still
being tested. But as long as the upper band, which LightSquared has said
it hopes to use in the next few years, is still on the table that
creates a tremendous amount of uncertainty in planning for all GPS
?It means, if a
reasonable solution is found in the lower band, although that remains to
be seen, that GPS users could face the prospect of a time consuming and
highly disruptive transition in the lower band merely to be faced with
being asked to do so again in the upper band just a few years later.
This is particularly untenable for critical government users including
defense and aviation, given the lengthy testing and certification cycles
needed to protect the safety of air travelers and our military
The PNT Advisory
Board heard a presentation from Dr. Javad Ashjaee, who has announced
that his company will make available new equipment that may reduce
interference from LightSquared?s proposed lower band operations.
Kirkland stated that, ?We look forward to the further testing that could
validate Dr. Ashjaee?s technical claims, which NTIA will be conducting.
Even if they are confirmed, however, Dr. Ashjaee?s presentation confirms
that his company?s equipment does not provide a solution for use of the
upper 10 MHz of LightSquared?s spectrum. It also confirms that the cost
to retrofit existing equipment would be hundreds or even thousands of
dollars per device. This translates to a cost of hundreds of millions or
more for the private user base alone, not including transition costs for
government uses such as defense and aviation, which are immense.
?It is also clear
that this solution only addresses a small portion of the existing user
base and that retrofit options will need to be developed for the broader
user base. There are an estimated 750,000 to 1 million high‐precision
GPS receivers in use in the United States. They vary widely, with
hundreds of different high‐precision
devices used in performing thousands of different tasks.?
Scott Burgett of
Garmin told the panel that ?[t]he solutions that we have seen are
intended for high precision receivers and do not solve the problems that
LightSquared?s proposed high power terrestrial broadband network will
cause to the millions of general location/navigation devices, including
aviation products, and FAA‐certified
devices essential for safe operation of general aviation aircraft.
solutions for general location/navigation receivers and aviation
receivers that meet requirements for safety of flight present challenges
very different from addressing high precision devices. The solutions
offered to date do not address these issues for the installed base of
GLN and aviation products. Many GLN devices will experience problems if
LightSquared?s commercial operations are allowed to proceed.
LightSquared?s claim that over 99 percent of general location/navigation
devices and cell phones will be unaffected ignores the hard evidence and
relies on inappropriate technical criteria.?
that when and if technical solutions for the lower band are confirmed by
testing, LightSquared must still be required to bear all costs of any
transition to introduce these solutions. ?LightSquared?s repeated
attempts at revisionist history notwithstanding, LightSquared was not
authorized to provide ubiquitous terrestrial only service prior to
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