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US wireless broadband project hits snag

US wireless broadband project hits snag

The US wireless broadband project could conflict with GPS signals, affecting coverage and accuracy.

A project to provide the US mainland with a nationwide wireless broadband network has hit a major stumbling block - it could conflict with GPS signals.

According to The Guardian, makers of GPS devices, as well as a host of other parties such as the aviation sector and emergency services, are very concerned about the impact of the network on GPS signals.

Virginia-based company LightSquared is constructing the network, which uses signals on a very similar frequency to those transmitted by GPS satellites. According to The Guardian, the background noise of the LightSquared signals, produced by as many as 40,000 transmitters, is also more powerful than the strength of GPS signals when they're received at ground-level.

GPS is used increasingly for all-manner of navigational tasks, and fall-back systems, such as ground-based radio signals for aircraft, could end up suffering from lack of coverage and thus accuracy.

One solution is to provide filters in existing and future GPS devices. However, this is a costly method, and manufacturers of GPS devices have already clashed with LightSquared over the estimated cost of doing this. However, mobile phones may not need the additional filter for basic positioning, as they can use other methods to determine their position.

The idea behind the network is that LightSquared would provide access to US-based companies, which would then in turn sell access directly to consumers. However, the budget for the project is reportedly $5bn short of the required $7bn needed to complete the network.

Is a nationwide wireless broadband network a good idea? Would you pay more for GPS devices as a result? Let us know in the forums.

32 Comments

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TWeaK 7th April 2011, 13:29 Quote
While it's a novel idea, the practicalities of covering an entire nation - particularly one as large and sparsely populated as the States - make it a bit excessive. I'd bet this isn't the only major challenge they have to overcome, and I'm surprised the project's even got this far when the cost surely outweighs the benefits.
Floyd 7th April 2011, 14:07 Quote
I just want internet thats faster than 7meg! Im not into the wireless thing.
TheStockBroker 7th April 2011, 14:45 Quote
One word.

Latency.
Xir 7th April 2011, 14:49 Quote
sure...pour more power into the microwave band, woohoo!
DwarfKiller 7th April 2011, 14:54 Quote
"$5bn short of the required $7bn needed to complete the network."

That's quite a bit short.
schmidtbag 7th April 2011, 15:00 Quote
i could care less about wireless broadband. i completely agree with the previous comments. i would much rather have a strong gps signal than this pointless technology. seriously, people need a break from the internet once in a while. i'm a computer enthusiast but it disgusts me to see people on their smart phones whenever they have more than 5 seconds of a waiting period. and for what? to look at facebook? seriously, if you're outside and you have nothing to do, go see your damn "friends".

i really wish people would stop and think about what's practical instead of whats cool or convenient. this includes everyone who has touchscreen monitors at home or speakers with a frequency range beyond 22,000KHz (which we can't even hear). A GPS is an essential technology that dramatically helps businesses as well as the average person. wireless internet everyone is rarely going to HELP anyone with something important.
will_123 7th April 2011, 15:01 Quote
"$5bn short of the required $7bn needed to complete the network."

LOL i thought the exact same thing @DwarfKiller...
borandi 7th April 2011, 15:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DwarfKiller
"$5bn short of the required $7bn needed to complete the network."

That's quite a bit short.

Next stop, Dragon's Den.
jimbok11 7th April 2011, 15:10 Quote
is this something kin to wi-max, or am I getting the two mixed up...?
Silent_Raider 7th April 2011, 18:55 Quote
I'd rather have a national fiber backbone. It's ridiculous that we have to pay $200/month for 100mbps internet service when japan and other countries get it for $20/month. (Note that I don't actually subscribe to this service, but it is available from Comcast).
HourBeforeDawn 7th April 2011, 19:46 Quote
huh plenty of funding out there, I mean if Intel can throw away billions in settlements lol but anyhow what about 2025 when the $12billion+ 25 New GPS low orbit sats are up and activated.
theevilelephant 7th April 2011, 20:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn
... the 12billion+ new GPS low orbit sats are up and activated.

I hope by that you mean $12billion of satellites, as I think things may get a tad crowded with 12 billion more satellites in orbit.:)
paisa666 7th April 2011, 21:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
i could care less about wireless broadband. i completely agree with the previous comments. i would much rather have a strong gps signal than this pointless technology. seriously, people need a break from the internet once in a while. i'm a computer enthusiast but it disgusts me to see people on their smart phones whenever they have more than 5 seconds of a waiting period. and for what? to look at facebook? seriously, if you're outside and you have nothing to do, go see your damn "friends".

i really wish people would stop and think about what's practical instead of whats cool or convenient. this includes everyone who has touchscreen monitors at home or speakers with a frequency range beyond 22,000KHz (which we can't even hear). A GPS is an essential technology that dramatically helps businesses as well as the average person. wireless internet everyone is rarely going to HELP anyone with something important.

I see many people who think like you do... this is highly increases the chances to survive a zombie apocalypse... I say embrace it and enjoy the oportunities it offers.

Seriously now, When wireless came out the first thing announced for massive connectivity was hot-spots, and I was all aboard the Idea, I mean if you are say in mall and you saw something you like, you could just get online from your phone and maybe check a review of the product, see if you like it or something (this is something I do all the time to this day)

BUT, with the cellphone networks growing, now I dont see the point of this wireless broadband project, specially in the US, everyone who is goin to surf the web or do something online has a smartphone of any kind there, and surely with its Data Plan (like I do now :p)
HourBeforeDawn 7th April 2011, 22:58 Quote
I guess people dont realize that even today more then half around 56% of Americans CAN NOT get any form of High Speed Internet. (I dont call Hughes or Wild Blue Sat High Speed as thats just an over priced joke)


Where I live there is no Hi-Speed lan line, so I have to do line of sight antennas to get high speed internet but since this company I go through is the only one offering out in my area he can charge an arm and a lef for his fastest connection which is 3mb cost me $115 a month so there is a lot of people on here that dont have the right to complain about what they pay for their connection unless your in a similar situation as myself lol.
Quote:
Originally Posted by paisa666
BUT, with the cellphone networks growing, now I dont see the point of this wireless broadband project, specially in the US, everyone who is goin to surf the web or do something online has a smartphone of any kind there, and surely with its Data Plan (like I do now :p)

Ya you watch hulu and netflix on an hourly/daily basis and tell me what your cell phone bill will be at the end of the month when you exceed that bandwidth cap, assuming your with ATT, Verizon, T-Mobile, MetroPCS, or Sprint as they have bandwidth caps.
Sloth 7th April 2011, 22:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent_Raider
I'd rather have a national fiber backbone. It's ridiculous that we have to pay $200/month for 100mbps internet service when japan and other countries get it for $20/month. (Note that I don't actually subscribe to this service, but it is available from Comcast).
The U.S. can't possibly be compared to countries such as Japan or any individual European countries simply for geographical reasons. With roughly 3,800,000 square miles of space it's in an entirely different league, individual states are larger than some countries. To make matters worse, even our high population isn't enough to give us a comparable population density. Japan, for example, is ten times denser. Look at a map of U.S. population density. How could a company afford to lay fiber to all of those population centers and charge just $20 a month? Noticable population centers still hardly reach the density of Japan's national average and are spread out across several times the country's size. It's just not profitable to put fiber everywhere, at least not yet.

Of course, poor old me out here in the wild west can't even get that 100Mbps package at all. Even a $200 a month there isn't enough populace to make money off of it.

EDIT: See post above. Let's get everyone covered in the first place before talking about 100Mbps speeds.
ZERO <ibis> 8th April 2011, 01:21 Quote
Still if only one company owns the entire thing it will not solve cost issues for customers b/c they can charge what ever they want. The reason we have slow internet in the states is that in many areas there is only one real high speed provider b/c the local gov creates a monopoly. If we got rid of these and opened up real competition like what exists in some other nations than we should expect to get the benefits that these other nations have which is better quality service.
HourBeforeDawn 8th April 2011, 01:50 Quote
@Zero right but we live in a anticompetitive greedy country that feels anything more then three competing companies is bad business and is enough to get passed the monopoly thing so as long as we keep operating like this and allowing company after company to buy out other companies this will never changed and we will always get shafted. >.<
Xyllian 8th April 2011, 07:53 Quote
As a Swede i know what you guys are asking for, and i know it can be done. All major citys in Sweden have acess to optical fiber and the network covers most of sweden.

We are less densly populated, have less money per person and per area unit, there is no reason it cant be done in America. That is if you raise your tax a tiny bit for a couple of years and start a nation-wide infrastructural update project.

Sincerely, a swede with fiber.
blink 8th April 2011, 08:09 Quote
Well, if it's really interfering with the GPS signal (which I doubt) the reason it will get shut down is because the government won't allow it. They are not going to allow anything to interfere with their ability to covertly track people.
blink 8th April 2011, 08:35 Quote
Quote:
"We are less densly populated, have less money per person and per area unit, there is no reason it cant be done in America. That is if you raise your tax a tiny bit for a couple of years and start a nation-wide infrastructural update project."

Well we tried that, and not by raising taxes but rather by giving the large telecom companies their wishes in the form of deregulation and tax BREAKS for several years beginning in the early to mid 90s. This was done with the expressed understanding that they would use that money to upgrade the infrastructure. Guess what they did? They sat on the money, called it profit and continued to raise their rates.

http://www.alternet.org/story/148397/how_the_phone_companies_are_screwing_america%3A_the_$320_billion_broadband_rip-off?page=entire

Most people really do not realize how bad it is over here in terms of the marriage between big money corporations and the U.S. government. There is zero accountability for corporations. This past year General Electric, one of the largest corporations in the world, made a profit of 14 billion and they not only paid no taxes, they were actually GIVEN 3 BILLION dollars by our government.

http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/03/28/ge-pays-no-taxes-wants-workers-to-accept-cuts/

Besides being an absolutely INSANE culture/society with a completely ignorant and intentionally dumbed-down citizenry, the truth of the matter is that our political system has evolved into Inverted Totalitarianism and Managed Democracy.

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Inverted_totalitarianism

In short, sans a populist revolt on the scale of Egypt or larger, we are ****ed as a people and a nation.
Xyllian 8th April 2011, 10:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by blink
Quote:
"We are less densly populated, have less money per person and per area unit, there is no reason it cant be done in America. That is if you raise your tax a tiny bit for a couple of years and start a nation-wide infrastructural update project."

Well we tried that, and not by raising taxes but rather by giving the large telecom companies their wishes in the form of deregulation and tax BREAKS for several years beginning in the early to mid 90s. This was done with the expressed understanding that they would use that money to upgrade the infrastructure. Guess what they did? They sat on the money, called it profit and continued to raise their rates.

http://www.alternet.org/story/148397/how_the_phone_companies_are_screwing_america%3A_the_$320_billion_broadband_rip-off?page=entire

Most people really do not realize how bad it is over here in terms of the marriage between big money corporations and the U.S. government. There is zero accountability for corporations. This past year General Electric, one of the largest corporations in the world, made a profit of 14 billion and they not only paid no taxes, they were actually GIVEN 3 BILLION dollars by our government.

http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/03/28/ge-pays-no-taxes-wants-workers-to-accept-cuts/

Besides being an absolutely INSANE culture/society with a completely ignorant and intentionally dumbed-down citizenry, the truth of the matter is that our political system has evolved into Inverted Totalitarianism and Managed Democracy.

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Inverted_totalitarianism

In short, sans a populist revolt on the scale of Egypt or larger, we are ****ed as a people and a nation.

So the problem is the government, monopoly and the lawsystem. It is the same here sadly, althoug not to the same extent (the latest occurance was a week or so ago, 3 fired bosses of the government owned electricity company was given 92million swedish kronor each, straight out of the taxpayers pockets).

We live in a corrupt ****ing world my friend.
blink 8th April 2011, 11:02 Quote
Yes, a screwed up world indeed. Sorry though, you being fortunate enough to live in Sweden, you'll get little sympathy from me:) 92 million? That's nothing. The American tax-payer "bailed out" the criminals on Wall Street to the tune of nearly $1 TRILLION lol. Iceland did the correct thing. They let the thieving, fraudulent banks fail.

Like I said, the American people are idiots for what we allow. And that is not even bringing up the constant meddling and war-making we engage in. We are sick beyond recovery as a culture.
feedayeen 8th April 2011, 11:14 Quote
GPS is used in dozens (hundreds?) of applications, many (most?) of which will not be able to upgraded with some of these devices having catastrophic results if there is a failure.

How many applications will a national help with? I can think of a few, it's always nice to do a quick search to find some little bit of info, or post a little information onto the Internet. These applications are fairly limited though and really can be substituted by having a smart phone which uses a frequency which doesn't interfere with our precious GPS.

Now smart phones can't work for everyone, there are still regions (rural cities in the flyover states), where the basic network infrastructure is lacking, the bandwidth here is too limited and may overwhelm the existing towers. The solution, short range radio networks like microwave relays mounted on the homes. The install will be as simple as a DirectTV dish and a single tower could cover a small town without producing much interference.
blink 8th April 2011, 11:19 Quote
Oh, and I am not sure how I forget to include this in my first post but do you know what happens to smaller communities here in the U.S. who can't get decent broadband and so they decide to build their own community owned and operated network? They are first SUED and then the big telecoms, who literally write the telecommunications policy and laws that get enacted, get their bought-and-paid-for government officials to introduce legislation that effectively makes such publicly owned broadband networks impossible. No, I am not making this up.

http://www.muninetworks.org/
Xyllian 8th April 2011, 12:28 Quote
Blink, i was not asking for your sympathy but that doesent mean 91x3million sek (a total of about 35million dollars) is ok by any means. It seems to be a pretty ****ed up country you live in to allow such things, same goes for afghanistan but that is for another day.
Guinevere 8th April 2011, 13:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by blink
They are not going to allow anything to interfere with their ability to covertly track people.

Americans are all implanted with GPS trackers now are they? I learn something new every day
schmidtbag 8th April 2011, 15:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xyllian
As a Swede i know what you guys are asking for, and i know it can be done. All major citys in Sweden have acess to optical fiber and the network covers most of sweden.

We are less densly populated, have less money per person and per area unit, there is no reason it cant be done in America. That is if you raise your tax a tiny bit for a couple of years and start a nation-wide infrastructural update project.

Sincerely, a swede with fiber.

well, proportionally, your point is absolutely correct. but realistically, the continental united states alone is of the largest countries in the world - in both physical size and population. fiber wire isn't cheap. i'm not exactly sure how the western states are connected to the eastern states, but i highly doubt they use a fiber wire for that, because that alone would be extremely expensive and unprofitable.
ssj12 8th April 2011, 19:39 Quote
Why is it that the reasons sound entirely bs? Probably because it is.
Sloth 8th April 2011, 20:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
well, proportionally, your point is absolutely correct. but realistically, the continental united states alone is of the largest countries in the world - in both physical size and population. fiber wire isn't cheap. i'm not exactly sure how the western states are connected to the eastern states, but i highly doubt they use a fiber wire for that, because that alone would be extremely expensive and unprofitable.
I couldn't tell you of the exact construction, but can say that connecting two regions to each other will demand speeds that are massive compared to what individuals see and will be costly. You're right on the money for why a higher speed backbone would be so expensive, though.

Sweden is similar in size (and shape) to the state of California. It's quite easy to see on a map why it's cheaper to cover the entirety of it compared to the US. Even as a nationwide project it's on an incredibly smaller (and cheaper) scale. The distance between two major exchange points here rivals the span of the entire country of Sweden. Canada is the place to look if you want to compare similar options and challenges, a large area country with dispersed high density population centers. Covering everyone with fiber is laughably expensive, and taxing those in rural areas for a line that only benefits urban centers is out of the question. At least the U.S. has the benefit of a higher total population to ask for such a thing.
blink 9th April 2011, 05:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere
Americans are all implanted with GPS trackers now are they? I learn something new every day

You're funny. No not implanted. At least not yet but we are bugged just whenever the hell they want to do it.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101008/03035211331/guy-finds-fbi-tracking-device-on-car-posts-pics-online-fbi-shows-up-demanding-it-back.shtml
paulp 12th April 2011, 09:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn
I guess people dont realize that even today more then half around 56% of Americans CAN NOT get any form of High Speed Internet. (I dont call Hughes or Wild Blue Sat High Speed as thats just an over priced joke)


Where I live there is no Hi-Speed lan line, so I have to do line of sight antennas to get high speed internet but since this company I go through is the only one offering out in my area he can charge an arm and a lef for his fastest connection which is 3mb cost me $115 a month so there is a lot of people on here that dont have the right to complain about what they pay for their connection unless your in a similar situation as myself lol.



Ya you watch hulu and netflix on an hourly/daily basis and tell me what your cell phone bill will be at the end of the month when you exceed that bandwidth cap, assuming your with ATT, Verizon, T-Mobile, MetroPCS, or Sprint as they have bandwidth caps.

Hi speed internet should be available to everyone at home. Its the more basic service that all Americans should have available.

We also want the next generation to grow up with this and to be more tech savvy which will help them be better workers, more productive and getting better salaries.
paisa666 12th April 2011, 17:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn
I guess people dont realize that even today more then half around 56% of Americans CAN NOT get any form of High Speed Internet. (I dont call Hughes or Wild Blue Sat High Speed as thats just an over priced joke)


Where I live there is no Hi-Speed lan line, so I have to do line of sight antennas to get high speed internet but since this company I go through is the only one offering out in my area he can charge an arm and a lef for his fastest connection which is 3mb cost me $115 a month so there is a lot of people on here that dont have the right to complain about what they pay for their connection unless your in a similar situation as myself lol.



Ya you watch hulu and netflix on an hourly/daily basis and tell me what your cell phone bill will be at the end of the month when you exceed that bandwidth cap, assuming your with ATT, Verizon, T-Mobile, MetroPCS, or Sprint as they have bandwidth caps.


Well, turns out here in Colombia we dont have bandwidth cap :| ... 40$ for unlimited Data Plan.. web surfing or whatever you do with it... ofc this is due to the fact our cellphone network still have a lot of bandwidth to work with, not many people have this plans.

How much would you say it would be the bill or full Data PLan usage over there versus the wireless, because I understand bandwidth cap its also present on wired or wireless conections too!
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