Leaked government test results show that “LightSquared signals caused harmful interference to majority of GPS receivers tested” according to the Bloomberg news service. The report concludes that “millions of GPS devices are not compatible” with LightSquared’s network.
“No additional testing is required to confirm harmful interference exists… The wireless service caused interference to 75 percent of the global-positioning system (GPS) receivers examined in a U.S. government test,” says the draft.
At this point it seems highly unlikely that LightSquared will be able to fire up it network anytime soon.
LightSquared, backed by $3 billion from Philip Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund, has spent roughly $14 billion creating the network. The company faces challenges from makers of GPS devices who say the service will disrupt navigation by cars, boats, tractors and planes. U.S. regulators are withholding approval as they check on claims of interference.
Agencies participating in the testing included the Department of Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration, according to the draft summary. Companies participating included GPS makers Trimble Navigation Ltd. and Garmin Ltd., farm-gear maker Deere & Co., and General Motor Co.’s OnStar unit, according to the summary.
The full results of the testing are expected to be presented in Washington on December 14, and the FCC itself is expected to decide next year whether LightSquared can move forward with its plan to offer high-speed mobile Internet service to as many as 260 million people using 40,000 base stations. The service would operate on airwaves formerly reserved mainly for satellites, and near those used by GPS devices.