The sometimes vitriolic nature of the newly political debate over LightSquared's proposed wholesale wireless network has added "tension" to its relationship with the GPS community, Jim Kirkland, vice president at global positioning systems manufacturer Trimble, said on Thursday.
"We try to keep a stiff upper lip when we read what LightSquared says in the press," Trimble told reporters. LightSquared "repeatedly misstates and rewrites history" to win approval for its proposed wireless network, Trimble added in a conference call held by the Coalition to Save Our GPS.
The group, made up of many GPS users and manufacturers, sought to rebut arguments by LightSquared that it has the licenses and permission it needs to build a nationwide, wholesale wireless network.
"LightSquared has time and again repeated its self-serving claim that it has been authorized for years to build its recently proposed nationwide terrestrial network, and that this alleged prior authorization shifts the burden of avoiding interference to GPS manufacturers and users," the group said in a statement. "LightSquared's assertion is flat out wrong."
The GPS coalition contends that the company's plans have only recently expanded to such an extent that they would seriously disrupt GPS. LightSquared and the Federal Communications Commission say the plans for a full-sized, nationwide land-based network have been known for years.
"LightSquared (and its corporate predecessors) worked for almost a decade with the GPS industry to ensure that its plans for a terrestrial broadband network could co-exist with GPS devices," LightSquared said in a letter to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in September. "The kind of interference that GPS manufacturers now complain of - overload interference - should have been just as much of a concern then as it is now, but the GPS manufacturers failed to raise the overload issue until late 2010."
The group argued that despite LightSquared's proposed fixes, there are no known ways to prevent the interference the operation could cause to GPS devices.
LightSquared contends that the GPS industry is fighting its plans in an effort to avoid paying to fix GPS devices that should have been compatible with the new system.
LightSquared has taken a more aggressive approach to its critics after getting criticism over the past few months. On Wednesday LightSquared highlighted Trimble executives who sold millions of dollars in company stock after the FCC approved certain parts of LightSquared's plan in January.
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