LightSquared threatens GPS?
Again, another CTIA keynoter makes the news. The LightSquared CEO shared the opening keynote of CTIA discussing their LTE buildout and expansion plans for the upcoming year. I really didn’t know what LightSquared did until the keynote. Then I read an article today:
Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) want the FCC to stop LightSquared from deploying its LTE network until it proves its service doesn't interfere with GPS services.
In an open letter released yesterday, the lawmakers asked their fellow senators to call on the FCC to ensure that GPS service is not compromised in any way by LightSquared's planned hybrid-satellite LTE network.
LightSquared plans to deploy its services on spectrum directly adjacent to GPS bands. The company has developed filters to stop its signal from bleeding into GPS service, but major GPS stakeholders, including the Defense Department, fear that widespread GPS "dead zones" are inevitable if LightSquared's network goes live.
He shared with everyone the LTE for everyone concept because they were the first to utilize satellites to help the network cover current dead zones. That is now what is being questioned.
The problem, they say, is that sensitive satellite receivers -- designed to pick up relatively weak signals coming from space -- could be overwhelmed when LightSquared starts sending high-power signals from as many as 40,000 transmitters on the ground using the airwaves next door.
"The potential impact of GPS interference is so vast, it's hard to get your head around," said Jim Kirkland, vice president and general counsel of Trimble Navigation Ltd., which makes GPS systems. "Think 40,000 GPS dead spots covering millions of square miles in cities and towns throughout the U.S."
He made an announcement that Cricket Wireless and Best Buy had already signed on. Knowing the government and how long they can take, I wonder what this will do to the LTE network for LightSquared. The GPS industry as a whole is huge. It won’t be as easy as they say it will be.