Tag: LightSquared

NAM Tells FCC Not to Harm GPS

As part of its consideration on whether to allow a company called LightSquared to launch a wireless communications network, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created a “Technical Working Group” to determine how the network would impact Global Positioning System (GPS) devices and related applications.

The results of the working group recently came in and they found that the LightSquared network will cause significant interference to the signals used by GPS. This is no surprise to NAM members who have been following this issue.

Manufacturers leverage GPS technology for a variety of uses from precision agriculture to inventory tracking and cannot afford the service being compromised. As part of our effort to ensure the business of manufacturers is not adversely impacted, the NAM sent a letter to the FCC urging them that no network should be deployed that harms the GPS devices or applications. 

The NAM remains committed to deploying wireless broadband technology across the country but not at the expense of GPS technology critical to manufacturers.  

Brian Raymond is director of technology and domestic economic policy, National Association of Manufacturers.

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A New Phone Service Potentially Disrupting GPS

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports on LightSquared’s plan to create a new cell- and satellite-phone system, a local story for the paper since Minnesota-born billionaire Philip Falcone is behind the company and Best Buy has agreed to sell the service. Manufacturers and other companies are concerned that LightSquared’s approach will interfere with Global Positioning System devices that are so critical to transportation, supply chains and consumer products.

From “Smartphone network is aiming sky-high“:

GPS and LightSquared are in adjacent parts of the electromagnetic spectrum,” said Brian Raymond, director of technology policy for the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington, D.C. That could cause GPS signals to be “drowned out” within 4 miles of a LightSquared tower, he said. For aircraft, the interference extends as high as 12 miles above a tower, he said.

As a result, the GPS industry opposes LightSquared through a group called the “Coalition to Save Our GPS,” and has received verbal support from the U.S. Air Force Space Command that operates the GPS satellites. About 500 million GPS units are in use in the United States, the coalition said. GPS chips are widely used in smartphones, but also are used in industrial equipment as varied as aircraft and farm tractors and in cars and boats.

The NAM is a member of the Coalition to Save Our GPS.

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Darn. Left? Left? Or Take a Right? My GPS Just Stopped Working

So we were reading the latest GPS World Magazine and thought the article, “Act Now to Protect GPS Signal” did a nice job describing the problems industries have with a proposal to develop a cell phone/broadband service that could disrupt GPS. The website has a short and clear report, as well:

Threat to GPS. You may be following the very serious interference issue that threatens the GPS signal. LightSquared is developing high wireless bandwidth capabilities (4G-LTE) for wireless operators. LightSquared received an unnervingly fast-tracked FCC conditional waiver that permits it to broadcast a new terrestrial broadband service from 1,500-watt terrestrial transmitters. This will be in the portion of the L Band that is immediately adjacent to the band used by GPS. The FCC waiver was required as LightSquared’s FCC license only extended to dual-mode phones, but LightSquared wants to offer the option of terrestrial-only, hence the waiver. According to industry experts, the LightSquared terrestrial broadband signal is about 1 billion times the received power of the GPS signal on Earth. This may result in wide-scale GPS interference and jamming worldwide. As a result of ensuing uproar, a working group conducted by LightSquared and the U.S. GPS Industry Council was formed to study the issue.

The National Association of Manufacturers is one of the founding members of the Coalition to Save Our GPS announced earlier this month. Today the coalition announced its new members, representing major industries. From “UPS, TomTom, the American Car Rental Association, Four Key Aviation Groups and Others Sign on to Expanding Coalition Amid Fears of GPS Interference“:

New members representing a variety of concerned industries including aviation, transportation, technology, shipping, and consumer manufacturers are concerned about a serious threat to the Global Positioning System (GPS) – a national utility upon which millions of Americans rely every day.” GPS now provides smaller airports with equivalent levels of safety to those serving large commercial airlines,” said National Business Aviation Association Senior Vice President for Operations and Administration, Steve Brown. “But unlike carrier airports there are no alternate sources of landing guidance if the GPS experiences interference of any kind. The continued protection of satellite navigation is imperative to safety of flight.”

Meanwhile, LightSquared is moving forward on the business front.

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Keep the Economy Moving in the Right Direction, Save GPS

The National Association of Manufacturers is one of the founding members of the Coalition to Save Our GPS, a new group dedicated to ensuring the reach and effectiveness of the Global Positioning System.

From the news release,”‘Coalition to Save Our GPS’ Launched,”

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Representatives from a wide variety of industries and companies announced today that they have joined together to form the “Coalition to Save Our GPS” to resolve a serious threat to the Global Positioning System (GPS) – a national utility upon which millions of Americans rely every day.

The threat stems from a recent highly unusual decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to grant a conditional waiver allowing the dramatic expansion of terrestrial use of the satellite spectrum immediately neighboring that of GPS, potentially causing severe interference to millions of GPS receivers. The conditional waiver was granted to a company called LightSquared.

A representative of one of the founding members of the coalition, Trimble Vice President and General Counsel Jim Kirkland, will testify on this issue on Friday, March 11 before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science of the House Appropriations Committee.

“GPS is essential to Americans every day – it’s in our cars, the airplanes in which we fly and the ambulances, police cars and fire trucks that help keep us safe. It’s also used in many industrial applications and even synchronizes our wireless, computer and utility networks,” the group said in a statement.  ”LightSquared’s plans to build up to 40,000 ground stations transmitting radio signals one billion times more powerful than GPS signals as received on earth  could mean 40,000 ‘dead spots’ – each miles in diameter – disrupting the vitally important services GPS provides.” (continue reading…)

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