LightSquared Says It Has Yet Another GPS Antenna Fix

LightSquared says it has found another antenna maker who can retrofit GPS devices to resolve the interference issue that has become a flashpoint for a national, wholesale 4G wireless network LightSquared proposes to build with billions in investment and an FCC waiver.

The company announced Thursday that it is collaborating with PCTEL on an antenna that can provide "an efficient and elegant solution for thousands of high precision device users." It is the subset of high-precision GPS devices whose sensitivity to in-band LIghtSquared transmissions has been the key issue holding up the service. LightSquared earlier this month announced that another company, Javad GNSS, had designed a retrofit antenna that could help resolve the interference issue.

The FCC conditioned its approval for LightSquared to use its satellite spectrum for a terrestrial service while it does more testing on the impact on GPS. The GPS industry and numerous federal agencies have said the high-powered transmissions from LightSquared could wreak havoc with navigation, weather prediction and defense applications, among many others.

LightSquared execs say there is a fix, including steps it has already taken to reduce power and put more distance between the spectrum it will use, at least initially, and adjacent GPS spectrum, as well as pledging to invest in a receiver solution.

Elsewhere on the GPS interference front, representatives of that industry have scheduled a press conference Thursday to address what it says is "misinformation" from LightSquared as it presses its "ill-conceived" plan.

LightSquared has pointed out that its plan is based on an FCC waiver and backed by billions it has already spent to create the kind of wireless broadband price and service competition the FCC and White House have been clamoring for.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.