LightSquared today filed a report with the Federal Communications Commission regarding its planned Long Term Evolution network and the interference issues it has experienced with GPS systems. In the report, LightSquared accuses the GPS industry of being at fault. It said, “The interference is caused by the GPS device manufacturer’s decision over the last eight years to design products that depend on using spectrum assigned to other FCC licensees.” Further, LightSquared said, “GPS device manufacturers have been largely uninterested in finding a win-win solution. Rather, their only answer to a problem of their own making is to demand that the government simply block LightSquared from using the company’s own spectrum to roll out the first wholesale-only wireless broadband network for the entire nation. This is a problem that the GPS industry could have avoided by equipping their devices over the last several years with filters that cost as little as five cents each.” LightSquared also accused the GPS industry of “piggybacking” off the government’s GPS system in what amounts to an $18 billion subsidy. LightSquared has been at odds with the GPS industry since the FCC gave it permission to use its L-Band spectrum for the terrestrial LTE network. Despite laying the blame on the GPS industry’s doorstep, LightSquared says its plan to use a lower block of spectrum and reduce the power output of its towers will solve 99.5% of the interference issues. LightSquared says it still needs the cooperation of the GPS industry to move forward. LightSquared didn’t immediately spell out how it plans to resolve interference problems reported by the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Defense.
LightSquared Submits Nationwide Wireless Broadband Plan to FCC
RESTON, Va., June 30, 2011 – LightSquared™, the nation’s first wholesale-only integrated wireless broadband and satellite network, formally presented the company’s modified spectrum plan to the FCC and proposed a comprehensive solution to the GPS interference issue. This plan will serve as a foundation for the construction of a new wireless broadband network that will bring world-class Internet service to the United States, including rural areas and other underserved communities and inject new competition in an increasingly consolidating wireless market.
LightSquared’s proposal outlines a three-part solution for resolving GPS interference issues involving GPS devices, which was detailed in recommendations filed at the FCC today. GPS device test results, which were also filed at the FCC today, show unequivocally that the interference is caused by the GPS device manufacturer’s decision over the last eight years to design products that depend on using spectrum assigned to other FCC licensees.
Now LightSquared is stepping forward to help resolve the problem. In contrast, the GPS device manufacturers, unlike relevant government agencies, have been largely uninterested in finding a win-win solution. Rather, their only answer to a problem of their own making is to demand that the government simply block LightSquared from using the company’s own spectrum to roll out the first wholesale-only wireless broadband network for the entire nation – an economic benefit worth as much as $120 billion to consumers. This is a problem that the GPS industry could have avoided by equipping their devices over the last several years with filters that cost as little as five cents each.
“This issue will be resolved by good data, smart engineers and good faith problem solving dialog. The end-result will be continuity for the reliable and safe GPS system we have come to depend on along with a new high speed wireless network that will provide huge benefits to consumers,’’ said Sanjiv Ahuja, LightSquared Chairman and CEO.
Despite the GPS industry’s claims, the FCC does not face a stark choice between reliable GPS service and a new competitor in the broadband market. In fact, the testing results released today show LightSquared’s proposed solution resolves interference for approximately 99.5 percent of all commercial GPS devices- including 100 percent of the 300 million GPS-enabled cell phones.
While issues remain with precision GPS devices, LightSquared is fully committed to finding a solution. It is unthinkable that a nation which recently completed a complex digital-television transition involving nearly every household in the U.S. will be stymied by a problem posed by approximately 200,000 GPS devices.
But LightSquared cannot solve this problem on its own. It needs the cooperation of the GPS industry. LightSquared believes cooperation is the least to expect from an industry that built a business by piggy-backing on the federal government’s GPS network without any investment in infrastructure or spectrum. A recent Brattle Group study showed that the commercial GPS industry’s ability to use the U.S. government’s GPS network amounts to an $18 billion federal subsidy.
LightSquared is fully committed to a safe and robust GPS service. In fact, LightSquared will not launch unless the FCC, in consultation with the NTIA, is satisfied that all reasonable interference concerns have been addressed.
In the meantime, LightSquared looks forward to working with the FCC, NTIA, and other federal agencies in its effort to find solutions so that it can move forward with its plan to bring world-class wireless broadband services and needed competition to 260 million Americans in 2015.
LightSquared’s mission is to revolutionize the U.S. wireless industry. With the creation of the first-ever, wholesale-only nationwide 4G-LTE network integrated with satellite coverage, LightSquared offers people the speed, value and reliability of universal broadband connectivity, wherever they are in the United States. As a wholesale-only operator, LightSquared will deploy an open 4G network to be used by existing and new service providers to sell their own devices, applications and services – at a competitive cost and without retail competition from LightSquared. The deployment and operation of LightSquared’s network represent more than $14 billion of private investment over the next eight years.
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Forward Looking Statement:
This release contains forward-looking statements and information regarding LightSquared and its business. Such statements are based on the current expectations and certain assumptions of LightSquared’s management and are, therefore, subject to certain risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements expressed herein relate only to information as of the date of this release. LightSquared has no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this release, nor is there any assurance that the plans or strategies discussed in this release will not change.