In a CEO letter published yesterday, embattled start-up telecom LightSquared fired back at its critics’ claims that its GPS system threatens national security.
The company has come under major scrutiny recently. First, House Republicans announced that it would be investigated under circumstances similar to Solyndra, a renewable energy company with debated support from President Obama. LightSquared also might have received support from the White House. In another incident, six Republican lawmakers sent a letter to LightSquared founder, Harbinger Capitol’s Phil Falcone questioning his donations to the Democratic party. And most recently, it has surfaced that George Soros may be involved with the company– which does nothing to settle conspiracy theorists on the right.
Some of this criticism appears to be politically motivated. Texas Republican Representative Ralph Hall, the lead author of the letter to Falcone, has received donations from LightSquared rival AT&T throughout his entire career. Some critics, however, have more legitimate concerns — they fear that LightSquared’s grid would interfere with military defence signals.
Those are the claims that LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja addressed in his letter. Read the full CEO letter >
Here’s an excerpt:
…Within the next 24 months, demand for broadband wireless will outstrip the current total spectrum available in the United States—jeopardizing everything from the smartphones and tablets we love to the emergency responder services we rely upon to keep us safe. The current nationwide wireless providers have failed to innovate and in the process have failed to keep pace with consumer and technological demands.
…Half a dozen years ago, Republican and Democrat regulators and policy experts understood the impending crisis caused by a lack of competition and innovation, and they, too, endorsed our plan to bring an affordable solution to Americans no matter where they live.
Recently, concerns have been raised about interference with GPS devices. We take these concerns very seriously. Despite the fact that the interference is caused by others’ inappropriate use of LightSquared’s licensed spectrum, we have been proactive in working toward a solution to the GPS issue. We are making a $150 million private investment in the solution for GPS. We have moved our spectrum farther away from the core GPS frequencies and at the request of the FCC, we set up, funded, and ran the largest and most comprehensive testing program this country has ever seen…
With 99.5 per cent of all commercial GPS interference accounted for and solved, LightSquared has now tackled solving the remaining .5 per cent of GPS interference occurring on precision devices that also inappropriately violate our licensed spectrum. We have partnered with established GPS manufacturers to develop technology that eliminates interference issues for high-precision GPS devices, including those in the agriculture, surveying, construction, and defence industries. Pre-production designs are already in testing; once completed, this technology can be implemented simply, quickly, and inexpensively into GPS devices…
LightSquared’s commitment to infuse $14 billion of private investment—without any government funding—into America’s infrastructure will bring 75,000 jobs over the next five years, competition, and innovation to the U.S. wireless industry, with affordable prices and better service for Americans everywhere. I hope you will join with us as we work to build the 21st-century communications network all Americans deserve.
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