Broadband firm returns fire in GPS battle

Broadband firm returns fire in GPS battle

Virginia broadband startup LightSquared fired right back after the House Armed Services Committee hearing at which government officials said its network would jam military GPS. The narrative that LightSquared is a deep-pocketed political octopus that wants to imperil military readiness just isn’t true, CEO Sanjiv Ahuja said in a statement.

Here were his exact words:

Regulators from both parties understand LightSquared’s approach will create more competition in the marketplace, put downward pressure on the prices paid by consumers, create good paying jobs in the tech sector, and give Americans access to the most modern cellular technology.


LightSquared’s plan has drawn bipartisan support because it’s right for the country. Any suggestion that LightSquared has run roughshod over the regulatory process is contradicted by the reality of eight long years spent gaining approvals. Just this week, there has been another request from the government for an additional round of testing of LightSquared’s network.

We understand that some in the telecom sector fear the challenges for their business model that LightSquared presents. We understand the opposition of some in the GPS industry; many of their devices “squat” on someone else’s spectrum and while technological fixes are readily available, some companies are loath to make the necessary engineering changes and would instead prefer to get access to someone else’s spectrum for free.

It’s also ludicrous to suggest LightSquared’s success depends on political connections. This is a private company that has never taken one dollar in taxpayer money. About $10,600 sits in the LightSquared PAC. The founder of LightSquared has given to candidates in both political parties in the last eight years, with two thirds of his contributions going to Republicans because of the founder’s free market philosophy. I gave $30,400 in contributions to both parties in late 2010.

It’s difficult to charge that LightSquared has undue political influence when it was denied the opportunity to testify at [Sept. 15’s] hearing of the House Armed Service Committee’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee – or even be allowed a one-on-one meeting with the chairman of that committee prior to the hearing, as the GPS industry was given.

True: Subcommittee chair Rep. Mike Turner made much of the fact that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski did not show up to testify, but he did not mention whether he had invited anyone from LightSquared — evidently they asked to be there and were “denied,” per Ahuja’s statement.

So what’s next? The message that subcommittee Democrats tried to get home last week was that the feds and LightSquared can work all this out, that there’s a way to get some kind of compromise here. But Air Force Space Command boss Gen. William Shelton didn’t sound so confident; he said as far as he knew, there were no “mitigation measures” for protecting military GPS from LightSquared’s interference. So the basic dispute here — how to square this company’s proposals with what the military says is an essential capability — is unresolved.

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The Democrats believe any law can be retracted by their Congress…including the Laws of Physics. What idiots.

Where is Paul harvey when you need him:
“Regulators from both parties understand LightSquared’s approach will create more competition in the marketplace, put downward pressure on the prices paid by consumers, create good paying jobs in the tech sector, and give Americans access to the most modern cellular technology.“
What about the promises of not interfering with GPS? and when did Regulators have party affiliation?

“We understand the opposition of some in the GPS industry; many of their devices “squat” on someone else’s spectrum…“
How can a GPS device, that receives a GPS signal at a set frequency reserved for GPS “Squat” on someone else’s spectrum?

Oh, I dont even begin to think that its ONLY Democrats that overestimate the powers of Congress when it comes to the laws of Physics.… . I think that here they just got caught en flagrante delicto. Actually its a problem we see quite often, in the government and outside. The PM (or management in general) mandates that 3+2 must equal 7 in order for his CPI or SPI to look pretty, or some system requirement is inconveniently costly and must therefore be eliminated, or.… .… When people who do not understand the “tradeoffs” that they make, put themselves in charge of making the tradeoffs, the result quite often dont look pretty the next day. Here it was a convenient little campaign contributor favor, that even looked to support some legitimate goals (while enriching the contributor of course!), but that ended up adding 2 to 3 and getting 5 every time. Now everyone in charge has to find a way to say that they really just wanted it to be 5 in the first place! :-)

>How can a GPS device, that receives a GPS signal at a set frequency reserved for GPS “Squat” on someone else’s spectrum?

Because they don’t just receive on the GPS frequencies they didn’t bother to filter out the frequencies they don’t have rights to.

Wrong. Its not the receiving of signals without rights to them, its bleed from a signal 5 billion times stronger than currently authorized in that part of the spectrum. And further, filtering won’t work and Lightsquared knows it.

(from one of the FCC filings)
“The interference problems exhibited by precision GPS receivers can be fixed with filters.” [according to LightSquared]

This sounds plausible, even to some engineers knowledgeable in radio-signal processing, until it is realized that the typical filtering concepts don’t really apply here because the critical data for accurate GPS position is the ranging information that is derived from the arrival times of the state transition in the code message modulated onto the GPS carrier frequency and the arrival times of the carrier waves.

Synchronized atomic clocks on each of the satellites tell us when the signals leave the satellites, and when the GPS receiver is tracing four or more satellites the receiver can measure with atomic-clock accuracy when the clean signals arrive at the receiver’s antenna. To oversimplify a bit, the important factor about a clean code-message signal is that it has a good sharp and square edge when the digital signal modulated onto the carrier frequency changes from a digital 0 to a digital 1 or vice-versa. We know the signal traveled at the speed of light from the satellite to the receiver’s antenna and when we know how long it took to make the trip we know how far the receiver’s antenna is from each satellite and can determine the position of the receiver’s antenna.

Accurate edge/transition-time detection is necessary to determine when the signals arrive at the receiver’s antenna. When heavy filtering is applied to remove strong near-band interference, the signal edge transitions get rounded, blurred, and even time-displaced so determining an accurate arrival time becomes much more difficult if not impossible. It is easy in comparison to filter simple 0s and 1s to transmit a video file, for example – much more difficult to filter code and carrier without destroying the essential ranging information. GPS is essentially determining position using a “measuring stick” that is moving at 3 x 10 **8 meter/second. ”

Here Am I.….. Kilroy was here.

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