AfterDawn: Tech news

Leaked report says LightSquared network still failing government tests

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 12 Dec 2011 5:15

Leaked report says LightSquared network still failing government tests Despite assurances to the contrary from LightSquared, it looks like the latest government testing of their proposed LTE data network aren't convincing government regulators to let them start operating any time soon.
LightSquared's plan to offer wholesale mobile data service has been in limbo ever since receiving conditional approval from the FCC. Their problems stem from the use of frequencies in a range normally limited to satellite communication.

Until the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) is satisfied their signal won't interfere with the operation of high precision GPS equipment, which use an adjacent frequency band, they won't be allowed to turn on their service.

A previous round of testing performed by the NTIA and Department Of Defense, who uses some of the problematic GPS equipment, was an overwhelming failure. The resulting hearings led to charges of political cronyism as it appeared President Obama tried to push through FCC approval without the necessary testing.

According to a new report from Businessweek, who claims to have a leaked copy of the results from the latest round of testing, LightSquared hasn't managed to fix their problems yet. They say a report on the tests, set to be presented to various government officials this week, says the service will still interfere with the vast majority of GPS systems.

LightSquared Executive Vice President Martin Harriman responded to the report by saying the tests were conducted at a power level far higher than their revised plans call for. He said their service would only actually cause problems for around 10 percent of GPS devices and also expressed outrage at the leak.

Whether it's most high precision GPS devices or just a few, it appears there is no question the interference problem still exists. Of course LightSquared had all but acknoledged that already by announcing the development of multiple solutions for retrofitting GPS receivers to address the issue.

At the same time, they appear to be making a plea directly to prospective users of the service. Last week LightSquared executives and lobbyists met with rural public safety officials in an attempt to sell them on the service.

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