LightSquared Lets Loose Lowly Yowl of Government Bias, Collusion, and Conspiracy Theories

LightSquared Lets Loose Lowly Yowl of Government Bias, Collusion, and Conspiracy Theories

Professional Land Surveyor News

Professional Land Surveyor News

Today, LightSquared latest a press release, Government Committee’s Refusal to Continue Testing Highlights Systemic Pattern of Bias and Collusion, decries its perceived treatment by the Federal Government, particularly by the National Executive Committee (EXCOM) and Advisory Board for the Space-based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT).

LightSquared, as stated at the top of its press release,  "is urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to retake the lead on government testing for GPS filtering solutions."

LightSquared's reasoning for this latest request, is:

"The request follows a systematic disregard for fairness and transparency by the National Executive Committee (EXCOM) and Advisory Board for the Space-based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT). The PNT EXCOM is a government panel established to “advise and coordinate federal departments and agencies on matters concerning the global positioning system (GPS) and related systems.” A panel of non-governmental officials known as the PNT Advisory Board provides guidance to the PNT EXCOM. Members of the PNT Advisory Board have deep ties with the same GPS manufacturers who have sold poorly designed equipment to America’s farmers, public safety officials, military and government agencies."

LightSquared Specifically Blames Trimble

"As a director of Trimble, Vice-Chair of the Advisory Board, Dr. Brad Parkinson had a professional duty to his company to protect its market position and its increased shareholder value that directly contradicts his responsibility to provide impartial advice to the government."

LightSquared outcries the GPS testing process, they claim conspired by Trimble, for the following three reasons:

  • LightSquared was specifically excluded from the testing process
  • The devices selected as part of the most recent round of testing include numerous obsolete and off-market GPS receivers that nearly guaranteed failure
  • Power levels used for testing were 32 times that of real-world conditions further stacking the deck in favor of GPS industry interests
GPS Constellation

GPS Constellation

Here's my unscientific WAG on what the above three claims may really mean:

  • LightSquared wasn't allowed to tinker with the testing process
  • "Obsolete and off-market GPS receivers" mean that LightSquared expects every land surveyor to upgrade their GPS equipment once LightSquared switches on their system, making your GPS equipment obsolete and inoperable.
  • Real-world conditions often are underestimated and misidentified in testing scenarios

I don't know who is right, the GPS manufacturers or LightSquared, but it's obvious to me that LightSquared certainly misunderstood the science, misunderstood the GPS industry, and misunderstood its political clout.

Sour Grapes, Futility and Conspiracy Theories

This latest PR from LightSquared smacks of sour grapes, a futile attempt to get politics to trump science, and the spinning of conspiracy theories in the worse possible way.

I think the proposed LightSquared network, as proposed, is dead. If not dead, it's taking a few last gasps of air. Here's the rub: If LightSquared is correct that its claimed inexpensive filtering technology, that will supposedly nearly completely mitigate any interference issues, then why is this not the path to overcoming their GPS industry troubles?

Is one reason that their "filtering solution" might be more theoretical than practical? Regardless, LightSquared's only has, in my opinion, two viable options at this point:

  1. Pull political strings. And, at this point, pull hard. Now is the time to apply the totality of their resources and connections in the political arena. This is a time-honored approach, more "political science" than real science.
  2. Or, LightSquared could put its money where its mouth is, and agree to upgrade every existing GPS receiver, regardless of how "obsolete and off-market". Of course, this assumes that the LightSquared filtering solution really works.

What do you think?

Eric D. Colburn, PLS, "The Geo-Business Innovator", helps geo-professionals improve through innovative solutions, mastery of marketing and business growth strategies, and coaching/training. Eric is a successful, serial entrepreneur, podcaster, industry writer, product development consultant, and RI licensed professional land surveyor.

Posted in Associate Membership, Business, Geomatics, GNSS, GPS, Land Surveying, Land Surveying Equipment, News, Trimble Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
One comment on “LightSquared Lets Loose Lowly Yowl of Government Bias, Collusion, and Conspiracy Theories
  1. Gary Bertolo says:

    Eric, I read this in the Directions Media Daily a little over a month ago. I’m not sure if you seen or read it also. Here is the hyperlink to the article posted:

    LightSquared Update – Leaked Test Results, Lawsuit Expected 12/12/11; hope it works properly or just got to Directions Media-Magazine.

    Directions Daily