LightSquared Says GPS Tests 'Rigged'

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LightSquared is now claiming that interference tests on GPS devices in the presence of its broadband signal were "rigged" and it's asking the FCC to redo the tests. In a news release Wednesday, LightSquared officials claimed those running the tests "cherry picked" the most vulnerable devices for testing and then applied unrealistic standards. A panel of representatives from nine government agencies said on Friday that LightSquared's proposed broadband service would cause "significant interference with GPS" and "there appear to be no practical solutions or mitigations" that would allow the two systems to co-exist. The National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Executive Committee (PNT) told the Commerce Department that no further testing of the system is needed. LightSquared was quick to protest, and filed a conflict-of-interest complaint against the "deeply flawed" process, claiming that PNT is biased in favor of GPS manufacturers.

LightSquared claims the PNT analysis was "fraught with inappropriate involvement of the GPS manufacturers, lax controls, obvious bias, lack of transparency, and unexplained delays." Also, the FAA "unilaterally decided to suspend any further collaboration," LightSquared said, which deprived LightSquared of the opportunity to fully address the FAA's concerns. The Coalition to Save Our GPS characterized LightSquared's response as "shrill [and] irresponsible." The technical evidence "speaks for itself," the Coalition said. "Every set of independent technical studies has confirmed that LightSquared's proposed operations would create widespread interference to critical GPS uses," the Coalition said.  "In addition, the most recent studies confirm interference to critical aviation safety systems."