Preliminary report confirms LightSquared GPS impact

Broadband provider LightSquared´s revised operating band for 4G wireless service still interferes with most of the 92 general purpose GPS devices, including handheld GPS units, tested by the US Air Force in November, according to a government technical group.
The judgement was revealed in a preliminary statement by the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT), chaired by US Transportation and US Defence department officials,
The 14 December statement on the analysis of testing on certified aviation GPS units reads:
“Today, a government technical group reviewed the findings from last month´s testing of LightSquared´s proposal to provide new broadband service. The final test report will be sent to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which advises the President on telecommunications policy, and represents federal agencies to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Preliminary analysis of the test findings found no significant interference with cellular phones. However, the testing did show that LightSquared signals caused harmful interference to the majority of other tested general purpose GPS receivers. Separate analysis by the Federal Aviation Administration also found interference with a flight safety system designed to warn pilots of approaching terrain.
The findings were presented to the technical steering group which represents the nine federal agencies that make up the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing. Over the next several weeks, the final analysis of the findings will be completed and a final report will be transmitted from NTIA to the FCC.”
LightSquared has said it will focus on resolving issues surrounding terrain avoidance systems but maintains that the PNT´s conclusion on general navigation devices is incorrect.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in January gave LightSquared a conditional approval to launch the new broadband service, pending confirmation that the L-band system would be compatible with GPS.
LightSquared has now petitioned the US Federal Communications Commission (FFC) to effectively set aside its allotted upper 10MHz operating spectrum in favour of a lower 10MHz band, a slot thought to be more compatible with GPS, pending analysis and testing.
LightSquared has also asked the FCC to remove any caveats that would keep it from launching service on that band.
Current issues notwithstanding, lower band testing will continue in early 2012 with a PNT final report covering both air force testing and FAA analysis due at the end of January.

Posted in Navigation, News, Safety, Surveillance

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