GPS and wireless Internet are two of the most-loved and most important tech advances of our time—but now a clash of frequencies is threatening a high-tech showdown. LightSquared is developing a $14 billion, 40,000-transmitter high-speed wireless Internet network, but that system bumps right up against GPS operating frequencies, touching at 1559 MHz, reports the Washington Post. The result: car navigation systems start to jam 3.5 miles from a LightSquared transmitter, and aviation GPS signals begin to jam from 14 miles away, according to an earlier report in the Las Vegas Sun.
“The impact of a LightSquared ... deployment is expected to be complete loss of GPS receiver function,” stated a report made to the FAA on Friday. And with the airline industry trying to introduce a next-generation GPS-based tracking system, NextGen, the interference could be crucial. “Like all spectrum holders, we have an obligation to operate properly within our band, and we take that responsibility very seriously,” says a LightSquared executive. “A robust GPS system is a vital national resource that LightSquared will not jeopardize.”