From Analytical to Empirical

The Air Force is studying the equipment that a commercial telecommunications company wants to introduce across the United States because of its likely interference with the Global Positioning System signal, Gen. William Shelton, Air Force Space Command boss, told House lawmakers last week. The company, LightSquared of Reston, Va., seeks to erect up to 40,000 towers mostly in US urban centers for a new 4G broadband network. “We believe from what we have seen thus far that virtually every GPS receiver out there would be affected,” said Shelton. He continued, “What we’re looking for now from the company is actual hardware that they plan to use so that we can collect empirical data as opposed to analytical data.” This technical analysis is due for delivery to the Federal Communications Commission—which is mulling whether to grant the company an operating license—”by the June timeframe,” said Shelton. He noted that the company shifted its business model from a “largely a space-based effort with terrestrial augmentation,” to “a terrestrial-based network with space augmentation.” Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn recently wrote FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski “strongly” recommending that the commission defer final action until the analysis is completed. (Lynn letter)