LightSquared's plan to build a wholesale broadband network is facing increasing skepticism from members of Congress who worry that interference from the system could be a safety risk.
The company's innovative network, partially based on a giant satellite, will operate on spectrum very close to global positioning system (GPS) signals. That has both the GPS industry and defense and public safety officials worried that the broadband network's powerful transmitters could overpower GPS devices.
In response, the Federal Communications Commission has required LightSquared to work with GPS companies to test potential interference. In a letter sent to the agency Thursday, 33 senators asked the FCC to revoke a waiver granted to LightSquared.
"We have substantial concerns that LightSquared's proposal places an unacceptable risk to public safety through interferences with GPS receivers necessary for aviation, first responders, agriculture, construction, maritime navigation, E-911, and national defense systems," the letter states.
The lawmakers, including Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ben Nelson, D-Neb., call on the FCC to make LightSquared prove its system won't cause interference before it can start operating.
LightSquared Executive Vice President Jeff Carlisle said there are technical ways to reduce potential interference and says the company is operating well within FCC guidelines.