LightSquared/GPS Fight Goes International

June 27, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Posted in Space Law Current Events | Leave a comment

by Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz with the blog faculty


BY BOB BREWIN   06/24/11 04:19 pm ET

The battle over plans by LightSquared to start up a broadband network that could interfere with GPS has gone international, with the United Nations body that oversees air navigation standards concerned about the system potentially disrupting aviation operations.

This nugget of information is buried deep inside a briefing memo, prepared for members of House subcommittees that oversee aviation and the Coast Guard. The document is packed with scads of information on interference the LightSquared system causes GPS, based on tests this spring.

The briefing memo said that Raymond Benjamin, Secretary General of the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and its president, Roberto Kobeh González, sent a letter last Monday (June 13) to Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission “expressing concerns about the potential impact of GPS interference to current aviation operations, as well as modernization efforts underway in the United States and Europe.”

Both the Federal Aviation Administration and Eurocontrol, the umbrella air traffic control organization in Europe, plan to use GPS-based systems for air navigation in the near future, and many civil aircraft already use GPS to complement ground based navigation aids.

I asked the very affable Denis Chagnon, an ICAO spokesman, if I could get a copy of the letter, and he quite affably declined. I have not yet heard back from the FCC on a request for a copy of the letter.

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