Javad Ashjaee, longtime GNSS pioneer and founder of JAVAD GNSS, made big waves at this week’s Institute of Navigation annual meeting in Portland, OR by announcing that his company had developed a solution to the interference caused by the proposed LightSquared broadband initiative. I caught up with Javad to find out more about the announcement.
Javad said the "fence" that his solution has built around the GPS spectrum (see diagram) will not only protect against LightSquared interference, but also improve signal reception by improving the signal to noise ratio. Noise is what a receiver rejects as it processes the GPS signals to provide an accurate position. He added that the fence will also guard and protect the GPS signals from any future sources of interference.
ACSM broadcast an e-mail about the announcement yesterday and the dominant theme of the responses I saw were, Who’s going to pay for the equipment upgrades? Javad said that all existing JAVAD GNSS products will be eligible for a LightSquared upgrade at a cost of $300-800, depending on the model, and henceforth, all JAVAD GNSS products will be LightSquared hardened.
One of the respondents to the ACSM broadcast opined that Javad probably owns stock in LightSquared. Javad vehemently denied this and said, "The threat is real, and even my company would be devastated if a solution can’t be found." At the Summit, he was already saying that it was an engineering problem, nothing more. As with all the innovations he has come up with in decades past, after the Summit he and his team immediately began work on a solution that would allow GPS receivers to co-exist with LightSquared.
What remains unknown is whether the LightSquared proposal will even be allowed to proceed. It has become a political issue, with Fox News and other media outlets raising the question of possible collusion between the White House, the FCC and the owners of LightSquared to smooth the way. Javad raised eyebrows at the Survey Summit when he said, "We love LightSquared," but he had very good reasons for doing so. I wrote about it HERE.
Having supported the Stop LightSquared movement, I feel a bit conflicted about the new developments. On the one hand, absolutely nothing can be allowed to affect surveyors’ ability to use and make money with GPS. On the other hand, ubiquitous, nationwide broadband will enable RTK everywhere. So it seems to me that Javad is correct by attempting to provide a solution that will satisfy both sides.