LightSquared vs. GPS: A $6 Solution?

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LightSquared, the broadband company that has met with resistance from GPS users due to interference from its system, said last week technology company Partron America has developed a filter that costs only $6. This technology, along with several other prototypes, will undergo extensive testing in the coming weeks, LightSquared said. "Preliminary testing leaves LightSquared confident that the debate over our system and interference from GPS signals will be resolved," the company said in a news release.

The company said it has already adjusted its spectrum to eliminate interference with 99.75 percent of all GPS devices. "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," the company said. "Additionally, we have committed $50 million to retrofit or replace high-precision GPS devices in use by federal agencies." The battle over the spectrum has been a contentious one, as LightSquared laid the blame on GPS users "squatting" on wavelengths that were rightfully theirs. Yet with hundreds of millions of GPS users in agriculture and industry as well as in aviation, the pushback has been equally firm.