Yesterday, LTE wholesaler-in-waiting LightSquared made another attempt to mollify the GPS Industry over interference concerns. They offered to cut power substantially, a move that will require them to have more towers for the same coverage. They also offered to reserve a specific band for high precision signals, which would help with particular applications. But while the offer reduces the potential problems, it obviously doesn’t eliminate them completely. And since the GPS industry has little incentive to compromise, we’re probably still not done yet. You can read that in the GPS industry’s cautious response to the offer. I’ll try my hand at translating bits of it from Publicity-English into English:
While we are continuing to review this latest proposal by LightSquared, it appears to be a positive step toward reducing, for some devices, the harmful interference to GPS signals confirmed during testing of LightSquared’s earlier incomplete proposals.
[Translation: We need to make encouraging noises so that the FCC doesn't make us come up with our own insufficient compromise position beyond our current 'Go Away' stance.]
To be clear, this proposal may be headed in the right direction, but there are still many questions and many concerns to many users. The quite harmful impacts interference to GPS would cause users must be responsibly, constructively, and completely addressed before LightSquared moves ahead.
[Translation: There's no way in hell we're going to say yes to this yet. Maybe they'll offer us money next.]
Even after three tries, there remain substantial gaps in what LightSquared has offered.
[Translation: If it weren't already clear, we really like being in a position where all we have to do is wait for another offer to shoot holes in. Let's do it again.]
Not that I’m surprised, there really isn’t any reason for the GPS industry to be in a generous mood on this subject. But as-is, the usage of this spectrum is wasteful at a time when everyone is trying to free up spectrum of all sorts for the data deluge to come. Sooner or later the GPS industry will have to clean out the garage. But that doesn’t mean it has to happen on a timescale determined by LightSquared’s funding and licenses. What a mess.