Tuesday, April 12, 2011

FCC Decision Could Lead to Interference Among GPS Receivers

Coalition Warns Recent FCC Decision Could Harm U.S. Economy and Exports. Threat of GPS Interference Could Have Unintended Consequences

As the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology begins its in-depth examination of spectrum issues, the Coalition to Save Our GPS submitted a detailed statement warning that a recent FCC decision that may disrupt the Global Positioning System(GPS) could have the unintended consequence of giving the Chinese, Russians, and Europeans competitive and economic advantage over the United States.

The “Coalition to Save Our GPS” is working to resolve a serious threat to the Global Positioning System. The threat stems from a recent decision by the FCC to grant a conditional waiver allowing the dramatic expansion of terrestrial use of the satellite spectrum immediately neighboring that of GPS, potentially causing interference to millions of GPS receivers. The FCC granted the conditional waiver for a proposal to build 40,000 ground stations to a company called LightSquared.

A portion of the Coalition’s statement follows:

“The Global Positioning System has stimulated a multi-billion dollar global industry that contributes both to the domestic economy and to U.S. exports. However, the Chinese, Russians, and Europeans are all developing their own GPS systems. If the rest of the world concludes that the U.S. system is compromised by interference, those other powers are ready to step forward to assume global leadership in this critical and highly sensitive area.

“LightSquared's proposal to build 40,000 terrestrial base stations operating at 1 billion times the power levels of GPS signals as received on Earth represents a tectonic change in the use of the L- Band. While the GPS community supports efforts to add new broadband competition and free up spectrum for mobile uses, this must be done in the context of rational, long term spectrum planning, rather than the rushed, ad hoc waiver process followed by the FCC to date. Spectrum is a public asset and it should not lightly be handed over at the behest of a private party. More fundamentally, the laws of physics cannot be waived by the FCC. The placement of LightSquared’s high-powered ground-based network in the middle of a satellite band full of weak and distant signals is a recipe for massive interference.”

Members of the Coalition include the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA), Air Transport Association (ATA), Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), American Car Rental Association (ACRA),American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM), American Council of Engineering Companies/Council of Professional Surveyors (ACEC/COPS), American Rental Association (ARA),Associated Equipment Distributors (AED), Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), Avidyne Corporation, Case New Holland, Caterpillar, Deere & Company, Edison Electric Institute (EEI), Equipped to Survive Foundation, Inc. (ETSFI), Esri, Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association (FEMA), Garmin, General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Hemisphere GPS, International Air Transport Association (IATA), Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America), Leica, Mid-Atlantic Aviation Coalition-New Jersey (MAAC-NJ), National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA), National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), Networkfleet, OmniSTAR, Orienteering USA, Payment Assurance Technology Association (PATA), PeopleNet, PocketGPSWorld.com Ltd, Regional Airline Association (RAA), TomTom, Topcon Positioning Systems, Trimble and UPS.

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