Following the recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow a company called LightSquared to repurpose the satellite spectrum immediately neighboring that of the GPS for a broadband communications network, representatives of a wide variety of industries and companies have formed an ad hoc “Coalition to Save Our GPS.”

LightSquared plans to transmit ground-based radio signals that would be one billion or more times more powerful as received on earth than GPS’s low-powered satellite-based signals, potentially causing severe interference impacting millions of GPS receivers-including those used by the federal agencies, state and local governments, first responders, airlines, industry, civil engineering, construction and surveying, agriculture, and everyday consumers in their cars and on handheld devices.

To safeguard GPS, the Coalition seeks a number of remedies from the FCC, including:

1. The FCC must make clear that LightSquared’s license modification is contingent on the outcome of the mandated study. That study must be overseen by a strong neutral observer, not by an interested party.

2. The FCC should make clear that LightSquared and their investors should not proceed to make any investment in operating facilities prior to a final FCC decision.

3. Further, the FCC’s finding that “harmful interference concerns have been resolved” must mean “resolved to the satisfaction of preexisting GPS providers and users.”

4. Resolution of interference has to be the obligation of LightSquared, not the extensive GPS user community of millions of citizens. LightSquared must bear the costs of preventing interference emanating from their devices-GPS users or providers should not have to bear any of the consequences of LightSquared’s actions.

5. This is a matter of critical national interest. There must be a reasonable opportunity for public comment of at least 45 days on the report produced by the working group and further FCC actions on the LightSquared modification order should take place with the approval of a majority of the commissioners, not at the bureau level.

For more information or to join the Coalition, contact Dale Leibach at 202-207-3630 or dleibach@prismpublicaffairs.com or Anne Tyrrell at 202-207-3632 or atyrrell@prismpublicaffairs.com.



Go here to read a related post in Site Prep's Dirt Talk, which includes comments from Nick Yaksich, vice president of global public policy for AEM.

For more information about the issue, read the coalition’s white paper here.