LightSquared Pushes GPS Standards

Feb 9 2012 | 4:58am ET

Harbinger Capital Partners' wireless Internet venture remained on the offensive this week, calling for a tough standards for global positioning system receivers.

LightSquared has been dogged by concerns—and test results—that show its system could interfere with GPS devices. The company argues that GPS manufacturers have long used parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that they are not licensed to employ.

On Tuesday, LightSquared filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission, calling on the regulator to set industry standards for GPS receivers. The move follows another request to the FCC, asking for a ruling on whether GPS deserve legal protection from interference, and a furious response to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who is conducting an investigation into the FCC's grant of a crucial waiver to LightSquared and who recently implied that LightSquared or Harbinger may have offered a quid pro quo in exchange for his "pulling punches" in the probe.

"Two rounds of testing by independent and government entities have confirmed that the interference experienced by the commercial GPS receivers is the result of an industry decision to design and sell poorly filtered devices that purposefully depend on spectrum licensed to LightSquared for accuracy," the company said. "If sensible standards were in place, the GPS industry would not be facing the current interference problems and consumers would benefit from a more efficient use of spectrum."

Opponents remain unimpressed.

LightSquared's "suggestion that GPS manufacturers should have designed receivers to accommodate a prohibited use is simply self-serving nonsense," Jim Kirkand of Trimble Navigation and the Coalition to Save Our GPS said.


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