January 19, 2012
LightSquared Claims GPS Tests Were Rigged To Fail
LightSquared and former FCC chief engineer Edmond Thomas said on Wednesday that the GPS test devices used by a government agency to test its new network were rigged.
The company said that devices from GPS manufacturers were "cherry picked" in secret and that independent authorities were not allowed to partake or oversee the test or test results.GPS manufacturers claimed that LightSquared's network interferes with GPS communications.
LightSquared said the test was rigged by the “manufacturers of GPS receivers and government end users to produce bogus results.”
The companies said the tests focused on obsolete technology that is only used in "niche market devices" and that are "least able to withstand potential interference" from wireless networks.
After a list of test devices was released to LightSquared, it found that the only mass market device that reportedly failed the government's tests actually "performed flawlessly during Technical Working Group" testing.
The National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Executive Committee (PNT EXCOM) reportedly tested LightSquared's network at a power level that is 32-times greater than the level at which it will actually operate.
LightSquared is relying on FCC approval to solidify a contract with Sprint to build the carrier's 4G LTE network.
“Transparency is the only way taxpayers can be assured that the testing process is not manipulated to benefit one particular set of self interests,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday. “LightSquared is confident that a fair process will allow the company to move forward with its plan to deliver wireless broadband to hundreds of millions of consumers.”
U.S. officials declared last week that LightSquared disrupts GPS receivers and that no further testing is warranted after the unanimous finding. PNT EXCOM advises the government on GPS technology.
The FCC said it would not approve LightSquared for commercial service if they find it disrupts GPS devices.
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