On Friday, Ashton B. Carter, Deputy Secretary of Defense and John D. Porcari, Deputy Secretary of Transportation, issued a letter to Lawrence Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information.
The two men are co-chairman of the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Executive Committee. This is the organization that was charged by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) with investigating the interference question surrounding LightSquared’s proposed terrestrial based wireless broadband network and the nationwide Global Positioning System (GPS).
The letter reads in part, “It is the unanimous decision of the test findings by the National Space-Based PNT EXCOM Agencies that both LightSquared’s original and modified plans for its proposed mobile network would cause harmful interference to many GPS receivers. Additionally, an analysis by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has concluded that the LightSquared proposals are not compatible with several GPS-dependent aircraft safety-of-flight systems. There appear to be no practical solutions or mitigations that would permit the LightSquared broadband service, as proposed, to operate in the next few months or years without significantly interfering with GPS. As a result, no additional testing is warranted at this time.”
NTIA is conducting its own analysis, and the decision of the PNT EXCOM is not binding on the FCC. NTIA said the panel’s decision will help inform them as they make their final recommendation to the FCC.