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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.

In December, federal officials from the Department of Transportation and the Department of Defense said that LightSquared’s 4G LTE network still interferes with GPS signals, but LightSquared has argued that a new antenna developed in partnership with PC-TEL resolves most of the FCC’s concerns. The company currently has a contract to provide Sprint with part of its new 4G LTE network, but LightSquared must gain FCC approval to validate the terms. LightSquared was originally given until the end of 2011 to gain approval but Sprint, on January 3rd, said it will give the company another 30 days to get a blessing from the FCC. Unfortunately, The Wall Street Journal explained that LightSquared must now gain approval from the Department of Defense before it can convince the FCC its technology is harmless to GPS networks.