LightSquared plans to unveil a prototype global positioning device designed to be compatible with its planned nationwide wireless network, a company executive said on Wednesday that the company
Jeff Carlisle, vice president of public policy and regulatory affairs for LightSquared, said the wireless startup had partnered with an unidentified GPS manufacturer to build a test receiver. That receiver, Carlisle told reporters in a conference call, will help prove that GPS and LightSquared can coexist.
The device, to be officially revealed next week, is a high-precision receiver and will be compatible with LightSquared's revised operating plan, which uses spectrum further away from GPS bands. The receiver will not solve the interference between GPS and LightSqaured's transmissions on higher bands.
GPS manufacturers have argued that it is impossible to build a receiver that will allow the two systems to exist together, and Jim Kirkland, vice president of Trimble and a founding member of the Coalition to Save Our GPS, said any receiver developed by LightSquared would be limited.
"There are two broad and challenging issues that must be solved," Kirkland said in an e-mail statement. "One is that there are many kinds of high-precision GPS devices engineered to support a wide variety of uses, including agriculture, construction, aviation and the many scientific and safety-of-life applications described at last week's House Science Committee hearing. So, a single prototype has very limited relevance to the substantial interference issues affecting this whole range of devices."
The second issue, Kirkland said, is that a new receiver doesn't help existing devices that will experience interference. "LightSquared must take responsibility for solving both problems," he said.
On Thursday, the House Armed Services Committee will hear testimony from a range of government officials on how LightSqaured's plans could affect national security uses of GPS.