I am sure almost all of you have heard something about LightSquared over the past year, and I have purposefully avoided the subject on this blog until now, because I didn’t feel that it was even a remote possibility. I still have the same opinion of it, but get asked about it quite often because it has been in the spotlight so much over the past year. Below is the latest e-mail from the Coalition to Save Our GPS. After reading this, I think the days of LightSquared are numbered.
You can read more about them at www.saveourgps.org
One Year Later…
It was a year ago today, January 26, 2011, that the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) International Bureau granted a conditional waiver to LightSquared.
The conditional waiver authorized for the first time nationwide, terrestrial-only services using mobile satellite spectrum (MSS) immediately neighboring that of the Global Positioning System (GPS) – utilizing extremely high-powered ground-based transmissions that multiple tests have now shown would cause severe interference to millions of GPS receivers.
This International Bureau action set in motion a series of events and developments, including most recently the January 13, 2012 statement by the Departments of Defense and Transportation on behalf of nine government departments and agencies unanimously concluding that LightSquared’s proposed network would significantly interfere with GPS devices and that “no additional testing is warranted at this time.”
The recommendation followed further testing mandated in September 2011 by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the FCC, and was reached even after LightSquared’s most recently revised proposal to make the use of its upper 10 MHz of spectrum subject to additional government approval.
Whenever LightSquared does not like a test result or ruling, it either seeks to change the parameters or cries foul – and frequently both. So, it is now claiming the tests were “rigged.”
Thanks to members like you, The Coalition to Save Our GPS continues to work effectively to ensure that the LightSquared system is not deployed unless it can be conclusively guaranteed that GPS systems used across many critical sectors are fully protected from interference.
As we await further news, we thought you might be interested in several recent developments and potential future activities, outlined below.
- To date, three House committees have held hearings on potential LightSquared interference.
- Additionally, an aviation-focused hearing is scheduled for early February.
- Two legislative provisions have been signed into law to protect GPS from LightSquared:
- The FY 2012 Appropriations Act forbids the FCC from spending money to allow LightSquared to continue with its plans until the agency “has resolved concerns of potential widespread harmful interference…to commercially available [GPS] devices”
- The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) prohibits the FCC from approving LightSquared’s plans unless it can determine that there will be no interference to military GPS devices
- Multiple Congressional letters have been sent to the FCC:
- Four House letters with more than 100 signatures
- One Senate letter with 33 signatures
In the weeks ahead, The Coalition to Save Our GPS anticipates:
- Continued Congressional oversight of the FCC and the NTIA.
- Release of the full report from the Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) national executive committee, upon which the January 13, 2012 recommendations were based.
- FAA issuance of its own report on the effect LightSquared’s plans would have on critical aviation safety issues.
- NTIA transmittal of its recommendation to the FCC.
- The FCC’s consideration of NTIA’s recommendations, and a possible decision regarding whether LightSquared has met the conditions of the January 2011 waiver.
To view a timeline of the key events in the past year, click here.