Tests show that global-positioning devices from three makers won’t be disrupted by the wireless network proposed by Philip Falcone’s LightSquared, Chief Executive Officer Sanjiv Ahuja said.
Preliminary results from an Alcatel-Lucent lab demonstrate the GPS devices surpass performance standards, Ahuja said today at a news conference in Washington. The closely held companies supplying GPS devices for testing were Javad GNSS, PCTel and Partron, according to a LightSquared statement.
The findings prove that LightSquared “is well on its way” to demonstrating that GPS interference concerns are resolved, the Reston, Virginia-based company said in the statement. Makers and users of GPS devices say LightSquared may disrupt navigation by aircraft, boats, tractors and automobiles, and the Federal Communications Commission is weighing the application.
“The results announced today do not address proven interference to hundreds of thousands of existing high-precision GPS receivers in a wide variety of critical uses,” Jim Kirkland, general counsel of Trimble Navigation Ltd. (TRMB), a maker of GPS equipment, said in an e-mailed statement. LightSquared’s tests are “simply one input” along with government-sponsored analyses, Kirkland said.
Trimble is a member of the Coalition to Save Our GPS, formed to oppose LightSquared’s plans. The group lists members including package shippers FedEx Corp. (FDX) and United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS), GPS-unit maker Garmin Ltd. (GRMN), farm-gear maker Deere & Co. (DE) and the Air Transport Association with members Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) and AMR Corp.’s American Airlines.
LightSquared, backed by $3 billion from Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund, plans to offer high-speed wireless Internet service to as many as 260 million people on airwaves formerly reserved mainly for satellites.
U.S. officials are weighing data gathered in separate tests and haven’t stated a timeline for determining whether LightSquared may cause unacceptable interference, Moira Vahey, a spokeswoman for the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, said in an e-mail.
LightSquared is to face another round of tests on whether it interferes with high-precision GPS devices, according to a plan laid out by Vahey’s agency, which is part of the Commerce Department and helping to guide the U.S. response to the company’s proposal.
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