LightSquared Asks FCC to Set Technical Standards on GPS Gear

Philip Falcone’s LightSquared Inc. asked U.S. regulators to develop technical standards for the global-positioning system receivers at the crux of a debate over the venture’s proposed nationwide wireless service.

GPS devices pick up signals from “other people’s licensed spectrum” causing interference concerns that could be eliminated by setting an industry standard, Jeffrey Carlisle, executive vice president, said in a news conference today. The company filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission, Carlisle said.

LightSquared has sought final FCC clearance for its network since late 2010 against opposition from GPS makers and users who say the service would disrupt navigation gear in cars, tractors and planes. The Reston, Virginia-based company says GPS makers should have planned to accommodate LightSquared’s use of airwaves near those occupied by navigation devices.

LightSquared’s filing today proceeds from “false premises,” Jim Kirkland, general counsel of Sunnyvale, California-based Trimble Navigation Ltd. (TRMB), said in an e-mailed statement.

“Its suggestion that GPS manufacturers should have designed receivers to accommodate a prohibited use is simply self-serving nonsense,” Kirkland said.

The FCC said in an order released April 6 that existing users of airwaves share responsibility for protecting against interference. The agency may consider establishing standards setting receivers’ “ability to reject interference from signals outside their allocated spectrum,” the agency said in the order.

Tammy Sun, a spokeswoman for the FCC, declined to comment today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Todd Shields in Washington at tshields3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Shepard at mshepard7@bloomberg.net

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