FCC Requiring Additional Testing for LightSquared Network

Network could interfere with government GPS signals

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Wireless startup LightSquared is facing yet another setback from the FCC as it tries to launch its new high-speed network, which has been under fire for its potential interference with GPS signals.

In a notice, the FCC said that “additional targeted testing is needed to ensure that any potential commercial terrestrial services offered by LightSquared will not cause harmful interference to GPS operations,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

In June, a federal engineering advisory group warned that LightSquare’s proposed network could interfere with GPS signals in space and on the ground. In response, LightSquared offered to build its network on a different block of spectrum that wouldn't interfere with GPS signals, and last week, the company also said that it would limit the power levels emitted from its wireless towers.

The modified proposals would help alleviate any interference problems for consumer GPS devices like car navigation systems and mobile phones, but GPS manufacturers and government agencies including the Defense Department, NASA, and the FAA are concerned that LightSquared's network could still knock out precision GPS devices.

The FCC said that complaints about the possible interference made further testing necessary, which means that LightSquared might not get a definitive answer about whether it can launch its network until December or early next year.

@adweekemma emma.bazilian@adweek.com Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.