LightSquared Says GPS Industry Should Pay To Fix Commercial GPS Device Interference

LighSquared Execs Say GPS Device Users Were Aware Of and Supportive Of LightSquared’s Network, But Continued To Operate Out of Their Licensed Spectrum. Therefore Certain GPS Users Such As Trimble Should Carry Some of the Financial Burden of Solving the Interference Issues.

This weekend LightSquared’s General Counsel, Curtis Lu, said “The GPS industry continues to claim falsely that it was caught off guard by LightSquared’s network, but the truth is that it has known about the vulnerability of its devices for nearly a decade.” LightSquared pointed out that publicly traded members of the GPS industry had filed dozens upon dozens of SEC 10K filings over the past eight years that acknowledge its continued use of adjacent spectrum bands, not licensed to it, were critical to its continued business and financial success.

LightSquared executives said, “Not only was the GPS industry fully aware of the LightSquared network, but they fully participated in the public regulatory process to ensure that LightSquared’s network would be compatible with GPS devices. Indeed, they blessed LightSquared’s planned terrestrial network.”

The company has committed to pay up to $50 million to retrofit government receivers, but says fixing commercial receivers is the GPS industry’s responsibility. LightSquared says certain users of global-positioning systems (GPS) such as Trimble Navigation Ltd. (TRMB) should pay for filters on their GPS devices that will help mitigate the interference caused by the network. “The GPS industry has to bear responsibility,” particularly those users of high-precision GPS receivers, said LightSquared General Counsel Curtis Lu.

According to the company: “All of the key technical parameters for its network were resolved in a series of regulatory actions between 2003 and 2005 with the GPS industry’s consent. Those decisions allowed our customers to communicate with our ground network and use the satellite network as a back-up. This is again confirmed by the GPS industry’s own words in 2004. They urged approval of LightSquared’s network because it would not only “validate [LightSquared’s] adherence to best commercial practices,” but it would “advance the public and national interests in promoting the responsible use of spectrum.”

LightSquared further stated: “The GPS industry has known since LightSquared’s spectrum plan was approved in 2005 that it would need to begin building inexpensive filters into GPS devices to keep their devices from reaching into our spectrum. They did nothing because they thought LightSquared would never move from concept to reality. As LightSquared moved closer to actual deployment in January 2011, the GPS industry began a coordinated lobbying and public relations campaign to stop LightSquared.”