Congressional hearing on threat to GPS systemMarch 10, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Posted in Aviation Law Current Event | Leave a comment
by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty
GPS users in a variety of industries joined together March 10 to speak out against a waiver that many think could disrupt GPS signals, with far-reaching consequences.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted mobile-satellite services operator LightSquared a waiver allowing it to repurpose the satellite spectrum immediately neighboring that of GPS. Given pilots’ widespread use of GPS and the FAA’s transition from ground-based to satellite-based navigation and surveillance (known as NextGen), AOPA petitioned the FCC to reverse the authorization until LightSquared can prove it will not interfere with GPS. Now the association has joined with other aviation associations and a wide range of other users in the Coalition to Save Our GPS to seek protection for GPS technology.
The broad coalition cites concerns for GPS users in public safety, homeland security, consumer navigation, aviation, surface transportation, agriculture, forestry, engineering, land management, utilities, research, and more.
The FCC imposed several other compliance conditions after AOPA and other industry organizations objected to the planned expansion. The Coalition to Save Our GPS called for additional safeguards, including that the FCC require concerns to be resolved to the satisfaction of existing GPS providers and users, and that GPS users not bear additional costs to prevent interference. [Full story]
Source: USA Today – Could new wireless network render GPS devices useless?
The Coalition to Save Our GPS is announcing its formation today, and on Friday a representative for the Global Positioning System industry will testify on the issue before the House Commerce Appropriations Subcommittee.
The FCC on Jan. 26 granted LightSquared a waiver to build its network because it will increase competition for broadband services and create tens of thousands of new jobs, but the company will not be allowed to proceed if it interferes with GPS signals.
A committee including LightSquared and GPS industry officials will conduct tests and respond by June, the agency ordered.