In a statement issued Dec. 14 the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) said preliminary analysis of last month’s testing of LightSquared’s proposal to provide new broadband service showed that LightSquared signals caused harmful interference to the majority of tested general purpose GPS receivers. Separate analysis by the Federal Aviation Administration also found interference with a flight safety system designed to warn pilots of approaching terrain. The final test report will be sent to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which advises the President on telecommunications policy, and represents federal agencies to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
In response to this preliminary information, the Coalition to Save Our GPS issued a statement on Dec. 15:
“The results reported yesterday confirm yet again the depth and breadth of the serious GPS interference problems raised by LightSquared’s proposed plans, even after many rounds of changes to these plans by LightSquared which supposedly ‘solved’ the interference problem," said Dale Leibach, a spokesman for The Coalition to Save Our GPS. "As far back as June, LightSquared has been saying that there were no interference problems with the GPS devices consumers use every day in their cars and boats, and that are used every day to make air travel safer and prevent loss of life in aviation accidents. The results reported yesterday, which come from additional testing ordered by the FCC and NTIA, show that in fact there are substantial risks to all of these everyday activities. In short, the GPS interference problem does not just affect ‘hundreds of thousands of high precision GPS receivers,’ but millions of devices in everyday use.
“We look forward to reviewing the detailed interference test results as they become available. Unfortunately, based on LightSquared’s public statements, it is clear that LightSquared simply refuses to accept the overwhelming technical evidence on the interference issue and continues to try to ‘define away’ devastating test results. For example, LightSquared’s public statements reject the clearly established interference metric selected by the expert Federal agency overseeing the tests, calling the demonstrated interference effects ‘minor.’ This is grossly irresponsible – the interference threshold used in the tests represents a twenty percent reduction in the ability of GPS receivers to process GPS signals. This is not minor.”
The Coalition to Save Our GPS is at www.saveourgps.org.