LightSquared plans to lay off 45% of its staff

By on February 21, 2012 at 7:00 PM.

LightSquared plans to lay off 45% of its staff

LightSquared announced on Tuesday that the company plans to cut its workforce by 45% in an effort to cut costs. “This and other cost savings measures will allow LightSquared to continue to navigate the regulatory process as it works with the appropriate government agencies to find solutions to the GPS interference issue and bring its $14 billion privately funded wireless broadband network to more than 260 million Americans,” the company said in a statement to Reuters. Last week, the FCC announced that it would block the company’s planned 4G LTE network due to issues concerning GPS interference. LightSquared currently employs 330 people and according to Reuters, the company is not currently considering bankruptcy. More →

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LightSquared and former FCC chief engineer say GPS tests were rigged

By on January 18, 2012 at 11:15 AM.

LightSquared and former FCC chief engineer say GPS tests were rigged

LightSquared and former FCC chief engineer Edmond Thomas on Wednesday said the GPS test devices that were used by the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Executive Committee (PNT EXCOM) to test its new network were rigged by “manufacturers of GPS receivers and government end users to produce bogus results.” The company said that devices from GPS manufacturers, which have claimed LightSquared’s network interferes with GPS communications, were “cherry picked” in secret and that independent authorities were not allowed to partake or oversee the tests or test results. In addition, LightSquared said the tests focused on obsolete technology that is only used in “niche market devices” and that are “least able to withstand potential interference” from wireless networks. Read on for more. More →

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LightSquared’s 4G LTE network will always interfere with GPS, government says

By on January 18, 2012 at 12:15 AM.

LightSquared’s 4G LTE network will always interfere with GPS, government says

In a memo released on Friday, the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Executive Committee said the nine federal agencies that make up the body have concluded unanimously that none of LightSquared’s proposals would overcome the network’s interference with GPS technologies. The announcement comes as a crushing blow for the startup, which is looking to build an LTE network with the company’s 1600MHz frequency. Preliminary testing last year showed that LightSquared’s planned network interfered with GPS. After a handful of rebuttals, changes, and more testing, the government has decided to pull the plug and request no further testing. The Federal Aviation Administration also concluded the network would interfere with aircraft safety systems.”Based upon this testing and analysis, 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,” the memo said. LightSquared slammed the decision, claiming the agency has a biased agenda that is in favor of the GPS industry. Late last year, LightSquared reiterated that the GPS industry is at fault and it demanded approval from the FCC to begin deploying its network. More →

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LightSquared asks NASA for investigation into GPS advisory board

By on January 13, 2012 at 10:00 PM.

LightSquared asks NASA for investigation into GPS advisory board

LightSquared has asked NASA’s inspector general to investigate whether or not an advisor to federal agencies has conflicts of interest that make it unfair for him to determine whether or not LightSquared’s 4G LTE network interferes with GPS networks. The advisor was named as Bradford Parkinson, who works both as a vice chairman of Trimble Navigation, an industry board that advises federal agencies on GPS technology, and also as a Stanford University professor, The Wall Street Journal said Friday. “His involvement on both has been known by everyone involved since concerns of GPS interference by LightSquared were raised,” a GPS coalition spokesperson Dale Leibach told The Wall Street Journal. Read on for more. More →

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LightSquared demands approval from FCC

By on December 20, 2011 at 5:30 PM.

LightSquared demands approval from FCC

LightSquared on Tuesday issued a letter to the Federal Communications Commission ostensibly demanding approval to build out its 4G LTE network. LightSquared executive vice president of regulatory affairs and public policy Jeff Carlisle argued that the GPS industry has had almost 10 years to address issues that cause GPS satellite signals to partially transmit on spectrum that LightSquared has licensed. The letter was written in response to an announcement earlier this week from federal officials, stating that they were still concerned about interference LightSquared’s network causes with GPS equipment after conducting a new investigation into the matter. “LightSquared has had FCC authorization to build its network for over eight years and that authorization was endorsed by the GPS industry, and fully reviewed and allowed to proceed by several other government agencies,” Carlisle wrote in the letter. “Commercial GPS device-makers have had nearly a decade to design and sell devices that do not infringe on LightSquared’s licensed spectrum. They have no right to complain in the eleventh-hour about incompatibility when they had ample opportunity to avoid this problem.” A link to LightSquared’s full letter follows below. More →

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LightSquared’s network still causes GPS interference, federal officials say

By on December 15, 2011 at 10:45 PM.

LightSquared’s network still causes GPS interference, federal officials say

LightSquared’s intentions to build a brand new 4G LTE network has gained nationwide attention, but over the past few months the attention has been turned to the network’s tendency to interfere with GPS devices. On Thursday, federal officials said they were still concerned about GPS interference despite a number of measures LightSquared has taken to address those issues. The company announced in late October that it worked with PCTEL to develop a new antenna that “[resolves] concerns over high precision GPS receivers.” Unfortunately, the Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation still see an interference problem with the network. Read on for more. More →

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TeleNav announces free HTML5-based turn-by-turn GPS navigation service

By on December 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM.

TeleNav announces free HTML5-based turn-by-turn GPS navigation service

TeleNav just announced that the company will soon introduce a brand new voice-guided GPS navigation service for use in mobile apps and web sites. The innovative navigation solution will be HTML5-based and it will include spoken turn-by-turn directions. By using one line of code, TeleNav will provide free navigation to any mobile app or mobile web site, supplanting the need in many cases for something static like Google Maps. TeleNav let us know that this service will be free even for non-TeleNav subscribers, which is amazing if you think about it. The service will be launching “early next year,” though developers can start testing the service starting today. TeleNav’s full press release is included after the break. More →

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Google intros privacy solution for home routers, forces users to opt out

By on November 15, 2011 at 1:35 PM.

Google intros privacy solution for home routers, forces users to opt out

Google has announced a new privacy option that allows users to opt out of having their wireless routers included in the Google Location Server. That’s right, you have to opt out, not in. Here’s how Google Location Server works: when you’re walking around town trying to figure out your location using your smartphone and Google Maps, your phone can either use GPS or a faster, more battery efficient method that determines your location based on local wireless networks. Google maintains a database of local wireless access points but, if you don’t want to be included in it, you can simply change your router SSID (the network name that you broadcast) to include “_nomap” at the end of the access point name. Once you’ve done that, Google will not include your wireless access point in its Google Location Server database. “As we explored different approaches for opting-out access points from the Google Location Server, we found that a method based on wireless network names provides the right balance of simplicity as well as protection against abuse,” Google’s global privacy counsel Peter Felischer said in a blog post. “Specifically, this approach helps protect against others opting out your access point without your permission.” More →

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LightSquared develops new antenna to settle GPS concerns

By on October 27, 2011 at 10:00 PM.

LightSquared develops new antenna to settle GPS concerns

LightSquared announced on Thursday that, in cooperating with PCTEL, it has developed a new antenna that will help “resolve concerns over high precision GPS receivers.” LightSquared’s 4G LTE network, which will be deployed in the 1600MHz frequency spectrum with Sprint, has been found to interfere with the frequencies used by GPS and personal navigation systems. The new antenna helps alleviate those concerns, despite speculation that a fix could require billions of dollars and take upwards of a decade. “PCTEL has developed GPS antenna solutions that have solved a variety of interference issues that others said were unsolvable,” LightSquared executive vice president Martin Harriman said. “Their wideband antenna provides an efficient and elegant solution for thousands of high precision device users.” The new solution will soon undergo testing with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration as well as with the Federal Communications Commission. Read on for the full press release. More →

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Microsoft’s ‘Locationgate’ ends with Mango

By on September 30, 2011 at 4:20 PM.

Microsoft’s ‘Locationgate’ ends with Mango

Microsoft has updated its Windows Phone platform to address what is now presumed to have been a bug that caused phones to gather location data before a user opted in to such services. Windows Phone developer Rafael Rivera last week revealed that Microsoft’s mobile platform was exhibiting behavior that directly contradicted earlier claims the company made to the United States government. Microsoft’s new “Mango” update, however, appears to have remedied the matter. Read on for more. More →

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Microsoft gets its own ‘Locationgate’ scandal with accompanying class action lawsuit

By on September 1, 2011 at 12:25 PM.

Microsoft gets its own ‘Locationgate’ scandal with accompanying class action lawsuit

Apple has repeatedly accused Samsung of “copying” its products, but it looks like Microsoft is now the one following Apple’s lead. A class action lawsuit filed in Seattle on Wednesday accuses Microsoft of unlawfully tracking users of smartphones that run the company’s emerging Windows Phone 7 operating system. According to the complaint, the camera application in Microsoft’s Windows Phone software continues to track users’ locations and transmit that data to Microsoft even if users opt-out of Windows Phone’s tracking and feedback functions. The class action suit seeks an injunction as well as punitive damages. Earlier this year, Apple was caught tracking iPhone and iPad users’ locations and storing them in a hidden file on the devices. Apple would go on to state that the issue was caused by a bug, and the Cupertino-based company quickly issued a software update to remedy the problem. Numerous complaints were filed as a result of the scandal however, and while damages have been minimal so far, several cases are still outstanding. More →

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'Exciting new features' coming to iOS location services, Apple says

By on August 31, 2011 at 7:01 AM.

'Exciting new features' coming to iOS location services, Apple says

Apple has big plans for location services according to a new job listing posted by the Cupertino, California-based company. In a listing for a new “OS QA Location Engineer,” Apple said the candidate will “join a dynamic team responsible for qualifying the latest iOS products, working on exciting new features for iOS location services.” The job also requires “familiarity with GPS, A-GPS, LBS, or navigation algorithms” and “experience with cellular technologies.” Apple has already said that it wants to “radically improve” its current iOS Maps application, which we would argue certainly needs an update, so it is possible the job could be on that team. In addition, Apple included a new location-based Reminders application inside iOS 5, which will launch to the public in the fall. Perhaps the company has similar ideas in store. More →

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Apple fined by South Korean regulator following 'Locationgate' scandal

By on August 3, 2011 at 10:35 AM.

Apple fined by South Korean regulator following 'Locationgate' scandal

Apple has been fined by South Korea’s telecommunications regulator following the “Locationgate” scandal that caused public outrage earlier this year, Dow Jones reports. This marks the second time Apple has had to pay penalties resulting from the iOS location-tracking snafu. A South Korean lawyer sued Apple and was awarded $1 million won, or approximately $945 at the time, by a court this past June. It was discovered in April that the iPhone and some iPad models were secretly tracking users and storing their locations in a local file. Apple determined that a software bug was responsible for the collection of location data, and it promptly issued a fix. The damage had already been done, however, and lawsuits were filed. Apple’s prompt attention to the matter likely limited the damage, and Wednesday’s fine levied by the Korea Communications Commission is the first penalty we’ve seen issued by a regulatory body. So what’s the damage this time around? $3 million won, or approximately $2,829. More →

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