LightSquared Analysis Finds No Cell Phone Interference

Separate analysis by FAA finds interference with terrain avoidance systems
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The government technical group reviewing tests of LightSquared's impact on cell phones and GPS devices says its preliminary analysis shows that the LightSquared signals caused harmful interference to the majority of general purpose receivers. Meanwhile, a separate analysis by the FAA found interference to a system that warns pilots of approaching terrain -- like mountains and the ground.

The tests found no significant interference to cell phones, however.

That is according to Anthony Russo, director of the National Coordination Office on Behalf of the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing.

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration will use the final report to make recommendations to the FCC on whether to lift the hold on the service. The FCC conditioned the waiver it gave LightSquared to launch a wholesale broadband wireless network on that network not interfering with GPS service.

Those preliminary findings were presented to a group representing the nine federal agencies that make up the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing, which will complete the analysis.

Some of those findings had already been leaked, and LightSquared had complained that they were being pilloried for political purposes.

"We are pleased that the statement issued by the National Space-Based PNT Executive Committee, chaired by the Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation, validates LightSquared's compatibility with the nation's 300 million cellular phones. While we are eager to continue to work with the FAA on addressing the one remaining issue regarding terrain avoidance systems," said Sanjiv Ahuja, CEO of LightSquared. "We profoundly disagree with the conclusions drawn with respect to general navigation devices.

"LightSquared has had the legal and regulatory right to use its spectrum for eight years over two administrations. The testing further confirmed that the interference issues are not caused by LightSquared's spectrum, but by GPS devices looking into spectrum that is licensed to LightSquared. We have taken extraordinary measures -- and at extraordinary expense  -- to solve a problem that is not of our making. We continue to believe that LightSquared and GPS can coexist. And we will continue to work with the federal government on a solution that will allow us to begin investing $14 billion in private money into the infrastructure of America to create jobs, competition and increased access to technology to the nation."

While FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has pledged not to allow the service until the interference issues are resolved, FCC staffers have also pointed out that a viable new wholesale wireless network would provide price and service competition in that important space.

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