LightSquared’s Nationwide 4G Network Faces Resistance from GPS Opponents

July 12, 2011

10:00 am

LightSquared, a firm looking to build the first nationwide 4G wireless broadband network, is facing a lot of resistance from makers of GPS devices. The US Department of Commerce’s telecommunications division released an assessment of problems that the LightSquared 4G service might create for both commercial and government GPS.

In an effort to prevent any interference between GPS systems and its planned wireless network, LightSquared said on Thursday that it has launched a program focused on smaller communities. Their Empower Rural America Initiative addresses concerns from small town users and aids in the adoption of broadband services.

It looks to be an uphill battle if LightSquared wants to get its network up and running anytime soon. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has made clear that the firm’s new proposal won’t move forward until lawmakers’ concerns about GPS interference are addressed.

For now, LightSquared’s biggest opposition is coming from the Coalition to Save Our GPS, which has warned that the signals used in the 4G network would impair GPS satellites necessary for running everything from navigation systems to agricultural equipment.

“LightSquared persists with a plan that is simply unworkable,” said Dale Leibach, a spokesman for the Coalition.

Last month, LightSquared proposed a workaround to the interference that involved moving the network to a block of spectrum farther away from the airwaves used by GPS, but the Coalition deemed the proposal insufficient.

LightSquared recently secured an additional $265 million in capital from new and existing investors. This latest round of financing brings LightSquared’s total for the past 12 months to over $2.3 billion. To find out more about LightSquared, you can learn more here.

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Trisha Cruz is a Tech Cocktail intern with a passion for writing and design. She is a rising third year at the University of Virginia majoring in Media Studies and minoring in Studio Art. Follow her at: @heytrisha

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