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Federal Agencies Dispute LightSquared GPS Claims

 

January 19, 2012 - Interference to GPS signals from LightSquared’s proposed national high-speed broadband network would remain even under the company’s modified plan, according to nine federal agencies that have conducted technical testing over the past year.

In a letter released this week and signed by top officials from the Department of Defense and Department of Transportation, the agencies conclude that "there appear to be no practical solutions or mitigations that would permit the LightSquared broadband service, as proposed, to operate in the next few months or years without significant interference with GPS."

The agencies recommended no further testing take place.

The letter is the latest setback for LightSquared, as its proposal has met with heavy opposition from aviation groups – including EAA – as well as those in law enforcement, agriculture, military, and other communities. Members of Congress have also stated that they would not support the proposal unless GPS interference could be solved with certainty.

"LightSquared has been afforded every possible opportunity to make its technical case, and has failed to demonstrate that it can avoid interference to many critical GPS based activities," said Dale Leibach, a spokesman for the Save Our GPS Coalition, of which EAA is a member. "Over the last year, it has proposed numerous modifications to its proposals, which it claimed would solve the interference problem. Each of these proposals has been extensively evaluated and none have been found adequate to eliminate widespread interference to GPS."

LightSquared, meanwhile, has accused the federal panel of bias and asked the Federal Communications Commission, which granted a conditional waiver to the company a year ago, to take over control of the technical testing. LightSquared also continued to blame substandard and "poorly manufactured" GPS units for the interference issues.

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