* Posts by leszekp

1 post • joined 4 Jan 2012

Sprint grants LightSquared last-minute stay of execution

leszekp
Facepalm

Not right.

The article states that LightSquared's modified system only interferes with high-precision GPS receivers - that's not correct. The latest NTIA tests showed that 75% of general-purpose GPS receivers (e.g. car systems and handheld models) would suffer significant interference from LightSquared's system. As would terrain avoidance systems in commercial aircraft, which are kind of important. Only cellphone GPS receivers showed no serious effects, but these are inherently less accurate.

All this is moot, though. The latest Defense Authorization Act, passed last month by Congress and signed by Obama early this year, contains a clause stating that the FCC can't approve LightSquared unless the Defense Department states that all their interference concerns have been resolved to their satisfaction. Even if this happens (which they've made clear is very, very unlikely), it won't happen until the next round of tests on high-precision receivers is completed, those haven't even started yet, and they'll take at least 90 days to do. The Sprint deal is dead, and LightSquared is probably dead as well. Good riddance, too.

Dish Network is working on their own wireless broadband network, though, in a frequency band that doesn't interfere with GPS, so the idea isn't dead.

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