LightSquared Customer Open Range Wades Into GPS Issue

Wed, 06/29/2011 - 11:08am
Maisie Ramsay

LightSquared customer Open Range Communications is speaking out on the GPS interference issue, saying the problem isn’t a “win-lose dilemma.”

In an open letter released yesterday, Open Range CEO Bill Beans said the portrayal of the issue as a win-lose dilemma with a winner-take-all outcome “is unfortunate, shortsighted, and just plain wrong. It is not true that for one technology to exist, the other must not.”

Open Range is the first of LightSquared’s five customers to make public comments about the company’s struggle to address its network’s effect on GPS.

Beans said Open Range is “anxious” for the GPS interference issue to be resolved. The FCC may block LightSquared from launching its network if the company is unable to prove its network won’t harm GPS systems.

Beans argued that the FCC, LightSquared and stakeholders in the GPS industry must find a solution that protects GPS while allowing LightSquared to move ahead with its plan for a wholesale LTE network.

Open Range, which provides WiMAX services to rural areas of the country, inked a deal in March to lease LightSquared’s L-band spectrum for its planned transition to LTE. The two companies also agreed to a reciprocal roaming arrangement and planned to collaborate on the construction of Open Range’s LTE network.

LightSquared announced yesterday it had signed up VoIP startup netTALK as its latest wholesale customer. The company did not reply to requests for comment about whether it was concerned about the GPS issue.

LightSquared is due to issue a report to the FCC on Friday that will disclose the extent of its network’s effect on GPS systems. The company recently revised its plans to mitigate the interference problem. Government officials and the GPS industry have called for additional testing on the revamped plan, which would move LightSquared’s network into bands farther away from those used by GPS.


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