GPS is being threatened. An application to the Federal Communications Commission by the firm LightSquared, to gain spectrum access for a planned wholesale 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) wireless broadband communications network integrated with satellite coverage across the United States, has raised concerns from a broad cross-section of GPS users due to LightSquared’s interference with GPS.
Earlier this year, MAPPS filed a comment with the FCC in opposition to the LightSquared application.
Additionally, MAPPS was active in gaining unanimous approval of the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO) for a letter in opposition to LightSquared and FGDC or NGAC
An excellent resource for information on this issue is the Coalition to Save Our GPS.
While FCC previously granted LightSquared a conditional waiver, the FCC also directed that
LightSquared conduct tests to determine the extent of the interference with GPS.
The Technical Working Group (TWG), which consisted of LightSquared and representatives from the GPS user and manufacturer communities tested more than 100 different GPS devices. The tests, conducte in several test environments, found network deployment proposed by LightSquared would indeed cause interference to millions of GPS users. FCC released the report on June 30 and issued a new call for comments. Such comments are due July 30.
MAPPS has again submitted comments. Individual geospatial professionals, as well as MAPPS member firms, are encouraged to submit comments of their own.
Meanwhile, Congress is moving to prevent FCC approval of the LightSquared application. The appropriations bill to fund the FCC for fiscal year 2012 (which begins October 1, 2011) includes a provision limiting FCC’s funding until it resolves the concerns of possible widespread harmful interference to the GPS system before giving final approval to the application.