With fresh evidence that LightSquared’s proposed wireless broadband network will cause widespread interference to GPS signal reception, principals of the industry Coalition to Save Our GPS went on the offensive today in a media conference call.
Satellite navigation systems
The ongoing controversy about whether LightSquared’s proposed network of 40,000 powerful ground-based stations transmitting high-speed Internet across the nation would interfere with adjacent GPS frequencies became more intense last month.
Following extensive reports of GPS interference, LightSquared announced last week that it would vacate its L-Band frequency adjacent to GPS and move to one further away to greatly reduce, but not eliminate, interference with satnav signals.
A study released by the Save Our GPS Coalition warns of “serious repercussions for the U.S. economy” if LightSquared is allowed to broadcast 4G broadband signals that cause interference with GPS. According to the study, more than 3.3 million U.S.
It is only in the past few of years that GPS approaches, pioneered in Alaska in the 1990s, have started to become available. These form another element of a future, efficient system where aircraft are managed in time as well as space, take efficient paths and don’t waste burning fuel in unnecessary holds.
Since early reports indicate that LightSquared’s transmitters do, in fact, interfere with GPS signals, LightSquared yesterday announced that it would vacate the frequency that caused major GPS interference and move to one farther away, where tests had shown minimum interference. However, some GPS receivers would still be affected by the company’s 4G signals even in this frequency band.
In accordance with the Federal Communication Commission’s January ruling, LightSquared must, in its June 15 final report on GPS compatibility tests, show that “it is clear that potential GPS interference concerns have been resolved.” But hold that applause, GPS users.
“The test data discussed today makes clear that there is substantial interference to GPS if LightSquared turns on high-powered terrestrial facilities in the spectrum next door to GPS,” Trimble vice president and general counsel Jim Kirkland said today at an event sponsored by the National Space-Based PNT Advisory Board. Kirkland is also a founding member of the Coalition to Save Our GPS.
The controversy over potential interference to GPS from LightSquared’s planned nationwide network of powerful 4G broadband retransmitting stations has now drawn Congress into the dispute. Letters expressing concern about adverse effects of the LightSquared network on GPS have been sent to the FCC by House and Senate members.
Two events last month intensified the confrontation between LightSquared, a private U.S. communications company, and U.S. government and industry GPS interests.