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LightSquared Complains of Conflict of Interest

In its continuing disregard for public safety, LightSquared filed a complaint with the NASA Investigator General’s office regarding conflicts of interest on the PNT Advisory Board last Wednesday.

In its complaint LightSquared claims that Dr. Brad Parkinson, who sits on the Board of Directors of Trimble and was the original program director (1972) and chief architect of the global positioning system (“GPS”), has a conflict of interest in his position as the Vice-Chairman of the PNT advisory board. PNT is the organization charged with testing LightSquared’s equipment for interference with Global Positioning System equipment.

LightSquared does not deny that interference exists, but blames the interference on GPS systems, which were in place long before LightSquared developed its LTE system in a neighboring frequency range. Since GPS frequencies are not the same, but adjacent to LightSquared’s spectrum, LightSquared management maintains that GPS manufacturers should fix the problem.

The company is running out of time. Sprint Nextel has a 15 year, $9 billion dollar network hosting deal with LightSquared predicated on FCC approval of the LTE equipment. The deal, which expired at the end of December, was extended until January 31st by Sprint. LightSquared is running out of options to win approval for its system, and has threatened to resort to litigation.

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