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Think back to last summer, when the weather was warm and we all expected a formal announcement about LightSquared and Sprint launching their shared LTE network.  Back to today, and we find out that the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Executive Committee (some of the folks who decide all this stuff) have determined that none of the proposals submitted by LightSquared will ever work without affecting GPS.  Last year during preliminary testing, it was discovered that LightSquared's LTE plans greatly affected GPS, and after a handful of re-submittals, changes, and more testing that didn't alleviate the problems, the feds have said enough is enough.  

Based upon this testing and analysis, there appear to be no practical solutions or mitigations that would permit the LightSquared broadband service, as proposed, to operate in the next few months or years without significantly interfering with GPS. As a result, no additional testing is warranted at this time

To make matters worse, the FAA also said that LightSquared's network would interfere with aircraft safety systems.  Of course LightSquared disputes these findings, going as far as claiming there may be a conflict of interests at work trying to hold their network plans back.  

This one may be dead in the water folks.  We'll have to see if the people in Washington and LightSquared can figure it all out, or if this is the end of LightSquared's broadband dreams.  Sprint has moved on and have their own LTE network in the planning stages, but it's always nice to see competition.  Hit the source link to read more.

Source: ComputerWorld


Reader comments

Feds just say no to LightSquared's LTE network, say it will never work with GPS


Sprint said the Galaxy Nexus is only using their 1900mhz spectrum (Lightsquared's is 1600mhz). So the Galaxy Nexus is fine.

Maybe I'm reading wrong..but it says, "Sprint has moved on and have their 'own' LTE network in the planning stages". So is Sprint just using their technology & can avoid this speed bump?

Do you people keep up? Sprint had more than one option for LTE but who cares Light Squared shouldn't be allowed to )((#2 up gps systems. I need to know where I am going even if it is down a one way street

You want to know what's funny is if you read news articles about why light squared is interfering with the GPS. If I was not on my Android phone right now I'd copy and paste the link to said news article. But i'm a nut shell light squared purchased this spectrum eight years ago BEFORE the GPS companies started using some of it. The government informed GPS companies that light squared eventually would try starting up their own network using the spectrum they purchased and the GPS companies needed to develop hardware to use a different spectrum and stop tapping into light squared spectrum. So instead the GPS companies just continued making hardware that borrowed off of spectrum that light squared owned and now are complaining that light squared lte us interfering with their GPS. Well duh cause the GPS companies didn't change their hardware like they were instructed to do. And let's just face it the GPS companies have more pull i'm the easily bought and always for sale united states government. As for Sprint they are moving on with lte on a different spectrum so this won't hurt them in that area.

What an absolute load of rubbish, the only thing you said that has a modicum of sense was when you stated - "But i'm a nut shell..."!

+1. Talking about re-write the history. For one, GPS units are receiving devices, they don't transmit any RF out. So, the GPS companies use LightSqaured frequency to total BS. For two, GPS signals are actually transmitted by Defense Dept.'s satellites in space long before LightSquared purchased the frequency. All GPS units are receiving signals from those satellites for free.

And LightSquared didn't get those frequencies originally. It purchased from another company which originally get it for satellite based communication, not land based communication that LightSquared intended to use it for.

FCC is also to blame for when it even allowed LightSquared to use this band for such purposes. I guess the members at the time must get paid a lot of bribe for let it happen.

It is true, the GPS companies didn't 'use' the spectrum.

But they did design and build receivers with little or no filtering, taking advantage of adjacent bands being unused at the time.

Lightsquared comes along and wants to use it now, legal spectrum that should be usable, and they can't because the GPS chip just couldn't cost that extra cent per unit. This IS all on the GPS industry.

No, LS2 didn't get a lega spectrum at all. They accquired 2nd hand spectrum that is sold for use as Satellite communications only, not land based cell network. If they use that spectrum as originally intended, there will be no problem with GPS receivers as Satellite signals arrive at the ground 1000 times weaker than those land based cell towers. They gamble and they lost. Simple as that.

Sprint's announcements all along have been about their own 1900MHz LTE. Sprint has never mentioned Light Squared 1600.

This formally frees Sprint from any obligation to LS.

This is good news that Sprint was expecting by the end of the month.

"LightSquared intends to invest $14 billion over the next eight years to build its network, and aims to sell wholesale wireless services to companies which would then resell the service under their own brand names.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Philip Falcone has bet more than $3 billion of his Harbinger Capital Partners money on LightSquared.

Sprint Nextel Corp, would share some of the network and help build it out for $9 billion, but the agreement is contingent on LightSquared getting regulatory clearance by the end of January."


Maybe this is why Sprint went back and helped Clearwire with funding to help them develop their LTE network. Of course they are using 2500 MHz which sucks horribly.

This just shows that some of the readers have no idea and go on to bash sprint. I dont even have sprint anymore but people read and do your research before you speak nonsense.

Sprint is not using Lightsquared, lightsquared is using sprint. Sprint's LTE network has nothing to do with Lightsquared. They both run on different frequency. Lightsquared was going to pay sprint to put up their equipment on sprint's towers.

Am I wrong in thinking that LightSquared was actually sold the spectrum they're meant to be using, and that te GPS makers knowingly allowed this problem to happen because they wanted to use cheaper and less accurate chips? That this was a problem for years that lead up to it, and LightSquared is actually getting screwed on this?

Pretty sure I either read or heard that somewhere (probably on TWiT).

Seems like a hell of a lawsuit could come from it, at the very least. Meanwhile, we lose a potential boon to improved cell coverage and speed. I mean, I rely on my GPS every day, but shouldn't Garmin and the like, or, at the very least, the people who sell spectrum be taken to task for this?

LightSquared bought the spectrum second hand. Originally intended not for land based communication but rather satellite communications.

Yes, LightSquared get screwed. They take a gamble and lost. Yes, GPS makers could have built a better chip but those chips has been in wide use for more than a decade or two. How much that will cost consumers to replace all the existing GPS chips. As a owners of multiple GPS devices, I certainly hope LightSquared to loss. I don't need their broadband but I do rely on my phone and car GPS to continue functioning.

It is such crap. This is just like your neighbor building his pool on your land and when you want to landscape it then he says it will make his pool dirty. Get your pool off my property. The Government sold them this spectrum and now tells them they can't do anything with it. The Government and the GPS companies should have to buy it at a premium price or they should give LS a different and equal or better spectrum to use. This is corporate welfare and anyone cheering this on is cheering on continued crappy connections no matter what carrier you are on. I hope LS sues and wins big.

See the explanation above about satellite vs. broadband spectrum. The government was completely appropriate here.

it has to do with lightsquard's intended use of the spectrum when the bought it. they got it cheap because it was to be used for something else but when using it for the pelurposes of LTE it causes interference. that is my understanding and im on my phone and too lazy to google search this all atm

idk, I can't find the article but either way it would be nice to have some more competition in the wireless spectrum

But it still technically shouldn't have been an issue if GPS receivers were built to higher rf standards.

Of course it is technically possible. But at what cost? Imagine every GPS receiver requires a DISH TV sized antenna and costs $5k.

That's why we have FCC the controls the allocation of the spectrums so that things like this won't happen. They should never grant LS2 permission to accquire that spectrum to build ground based cell networks.

Somehow I suspect there are some political favoritism at play at FCC back then over the objections of scientists.