- LATEST HEADLINES
- THE MAGAZINE
Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a decision that could have an impact on GPS-and consequentially, on machine control users and others who use GPS.
In November, LightSquared, a broadband network company, submitted an application to the FCC for a modification of its authorization for its operations. The application caused concern among members of the GPS industry, including the U.S. GPS Industry Council, who in turn shared their issues with the FCC during the public comment period following LightSquared’s request.
According to the FCC, several commenters raised concerns about “potential interference to GPS receivers and other devices that may result from operation of LightSquared’s base stations.” The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) filed a letter with the FCC, stating its concern that “LightSquared’s services could adversely impact GPS and other GNSS receivers.”
Despite the objections raised by those in the GPS industry, the FCC granted LightSquared a conditional waiver for its operations on Jan. 26. As one of the conditions, the FCC is requiring LightSquared to participate in a working group to address the concerns raised before the company can begin offering commercial services.
Michael Swiek, executive director of the U.S. GPS Industry Council, says his organization is now working with LightSquared in forming the working group.
“We want to make sure we understand fully what LightSquared’s operations are,” Swiek says. “We want to make sure there is no damage or interference to GPS users.”
LightSquared must submit an initial report to the FCC and NTIA on Feb. 25 and a final report no later than June 15. According to the FCC, the final report must include “the working group’s analyses of the potential for overload interference to GPS devices from LightSquared’s terrestrial network of base stations, technical and operational steps to avoid such interference, and specific recommendations going forward to mitigate potential interference to GPS devices.” The FCC decision was brought to the attention of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), which plans to get involved in the issue. Nick Yaksich, vice president of Global Public Policy for AEM, says the organization will work to educate people of the potential impact of this waiver and is planning a briefing on the issue on Feb. 22.
Because the use of GPS affects many of our readers, Site Prep plans to keep you updated on this issue as developments occur.
Related article: Professionals Called to Action on Issue Threatening GPS