Report on whether LightSquared's 4G network disrupts GPS signals is delayed

The company behind a proposed 4G wireless network has been given a two-week extension to file a report to the Federal Communications Commission on whether the network’s transmissions disrupt Global Positioning System signals, the Associated Press reports.

LightSquared, on the orders of FCC, had tested its Long-Term Evolution (LTE) broadband network in May at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. During the tests, first responder vehicles from the New Mexico State Police and Otero County, N.M., reported GPS outages when they were near LightSquared’s cellular towers.

A working group made up of representatives from LightSquared and GPS equipment makers was to gather information from the tests and report its finding to FCC June 15, but asked for — and was granted — an extension until July 1, AP reported.

A possible reason for the extension request was that the news wasn’t good for LightSquared. According to the Wall Street Journal, the report due June 15 would have concluded that the networks caused substantial interference with GPS signals.

LightSquared’s satellite and ground-station network operates in the L Band of the wireless spectrum, at 1525 MHz-to-1559 MHz. That’s close to the bands used by GPS and the Global Navigation Satellite System, which operate between 1559 MHz and 1610 MHz, and that appears to be the problem.

Jim Kirkland, of Trimble Navigation Ltd. and the Coalition to Save our GPS, told the The Washington Business Journal: "You can’t have such unequal signals sitting right next to each other in adjacent spectrum bands. It’s not a problem that engineering or technology will solve in three, five or 10 years.”

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Reader Comments

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 Don O'Neill

In Cyber Security terms, the Lightsquared intrusion into the GPS signal spectrum represents a denial of service attack bt an inadvertent actor.

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