(LightSquared) – LightSquared, a wholesale carrier building a nationwide wireless broadband network that will create consumer choice and drive industry innovation, has collaborated with several high-tech companies to develop solutions to the GPS interference issue.
Despite claims by GPS device manufacturers that a solution would take ten years and billions of dollars to develop, viable and inexpensive solutions have entered into the marketplace within a matter of weeks. In fact, once LightSquared challenged the high-tech community to find a fix, several innovative companies rose to the occasion.
“So far at least three companies have come forward with a solution and we expect that more will step forward,” said Martin Harriman, executive vice president of ecosystem development and satellite business for LightSquared. “A majority of precision devices can be fixed by replacing the external antenna, others will require a factory retrofit, but in every case LightSquared has an affordable and efficient fix.”
The first GPS manufacturer to bring LightSquared compatible receivers to the marketplace is Javad GNSS.
“With the U.S. government’s modernization program in effect, many legacy receivers will be obsolete in several years regardless,” said Javad Ashjaee, president and chief executive officer of Javad GNSS. “Going forward, there is no reason to build high-precision GPS receivers that are not compatible with LightSquared’s network. Our research and development has shown that making receivers compatible with LightSquared today produces higher quality results than before.”
In addition to receivers developed by Javad GNSS, several other high-tech companies have also created LightSquared compatible components that can be integrated into receivers. For example, PCTEL has developed LightSquared compatible chip sets, and Partron America has created a filtering component that only costs $6.
These solutions will undergo extensive NTIA and FCC testing in the coming weeks, and preliminary testing leaves LightSquared confident that the debate over our system and interference from GPS signals will be resolved. In fact, the previous round of testing by the FCC on LightSquared’s system was the most extensive in the agency’s history.
Throughout this process, LightSquared has collaborated with the regulatory agencies within the government as well as the private sector to determine the cause of the interference issues and find engineering solutions to mitigate the problems. When presented with the reality that our original plan created interference problems for most GPS devices, we moved to new spectrum that is farther away from GPS. This new plan, which was announced in June, cost LightSquared $100 million and solved the problem for 99.75 percent of all GPS devices, including all consumer devices, such as cell phones, tablets and computers. The 400 million cell phones and auto systems that currently use GPS are already compatible with LightSquared’s network.
We invested $9 million to develop filters that ensured our signal did not cross into spectrum licensed to GPS, which means that any interference that remains is caused by GPS signals looking into our spectrum. Additionally, we have committed $50 million to retrofit or replace high-precision GPS devices in use by federal agencies.
LightSquared’s mission is to build a world-class 4G LTE wireless network that will bring lower prices, better service and more competition to 260 million Americans by 2015. We are confident these new solutions will keep our deployment plan on track so that all Americans can realize the benefits of a nationwide wireless broadband network.