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LightSquared slams leak on GPS tests, expects to win

Stephen Lawson | Dec. 13, 2011
LightSquared believes a government official selectively leaked results from tests of its proposed mobile broadband network to set public opinion against the company, and it is seeking a federal investigation of the apparent leak.

LightSquared contends that its analysis shows only 14 of the 92 GPS receivers tested were affected by the LTE network based on the standard that the government used. Even that effect didn't necessarily degrade the performance of the receivers, LightSquared said. Harriman said he is confident that if the PNT committee will take into consideration whether GPS performance was actually affected.

The devices affected most seem to have been less expensive consumer navigation devices, Harriman said. No cell phones with GPS in the test were affected, he said.

In interpreting the results of the tests, LightSquared wants the government to factor in a lower power level that the company has already disclosed plans to use, which could show a lower impact. This would be relatively easy to do, he said.

The proposed network faces another round of testing in January, which will study the effects on high-precision GPS receivers such as those used in surveying, defense and automated agriculture. LightSquared has said it is working with several developers of filters that could prevent interference between the LTE network and the high-precision receivers.

Also on the conference call, LightSquared said it is working with the staff of Senator Charles Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who has requested documents about the company's dealings with the Obama administration. Grassley has vowed to block the confirmations of two FCC nominees if he does not receive documents about LightSquared from the FCC.

The PNT executive committee referred questions about LightSquared's request to the departments of Transportation and Defense, whose deputy secretaries co-chair the committee. Neither had any immediate comment.

 

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