Feds: LightSquared Could Interfere With Hurricane Tracking

Sep 8 2011 | 12:58pm ET

Harbinger Capital Management's planned wireless Internet venture may not be as big a help when it comes to dealing with hurricanes as it hoped.

LightSquared ran into a new hurdle this week—a particularly bad one in the middle of one of the most serious hurricane seasons in recent memory. According to three federal bodies, LightSquared's systems may negatively impact hurricane tracking and preparedness.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Transportation and the National Coordination Office for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing will tell a House of Representatives committee today that LightSquared could hurt precision systems used to track hurricanes, guide farmers and build flood defenses. LightSquared requires "further testing" before it can go online, NOAA's Mary Glackin will say, according to Bloomberg News.

The concerns are only the latest about how LightSquared will affect global positioning systems. Other groups have said that the service will hurt precision farming, construction and air-traffic systems.

LightSquared, which last month said its network could give first responders to Hurricane Irene reliable communications access, will tell the House panel that its system can be modified to avoid most GPS interference.

"Everyone had nine months to do all the testing they wanted to do," LightSquared spokesman Chris Stern told Bloomberg. "If they want more testing they should be very specific about what exactly it is they want tested, because testing can always be just another delay tactic."

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