Representatives of three members of the Coalition to Save Our GPS today called on Congress to put a stop to deployment of LightSquared’s planned broadband network in spectrum that threatens to disrupt Global Positioning System (GPS) signals.
In testimony prepared for delivery at a hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation and the Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, witnesses from Garmin, the Air Transport Association (ATA), and the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA) all said that the only acceptable mitigation solution is for LightSquared’s planned operations to be moved to another band altogether – one that is outside of the L-band and therefore away from GPS.
“With so much of the early evidence showing that LightSquared’s proposed network would potentially endanger nearly every flight operating in U.S. airspace, it seems evident that no further development of this system can be allowed,” said AOPA President and Chief Executive Officer Craig Fuller.
Garmin’s Vice President for Aviation Engineering Philip Straub asked Congress to “put an end to this dysfunctional exercise” and “work to ensure the FCC’s rescission of LightSquared’s conditional waiver.”
All three groups cited multiple government and industry reports that have been conducted in the last six months – all of which have confirmed substantial interference to critical GPS uses. They also said that the mitigation proposals by LightSquared are either infeasible or insufficient.
Of LightSquared’s recent proposal to move operations to a lower band that is farther away from GPS frequencies and to modify its FCC license to reduce the maximum power of its base stations, Garmin’s Straub said the proposal “is no solution at all,” and that it “conveniently ignores much of the existing user base, especially users of high precision GPS equipment.”
ATA Senior Vice President Tom Hendricks said the plan was “fraught with technical challenges not yet fully understood.” Of another mitigation proposal by LightSquared – that technical fixes such as filters be applied to GPS receivers – Hendricks noted, as did Straub, that no such filter exists.
Hendricks explained that even if a technical fix did become feasible, the costs would be astronomical. “The U.S. airline industry simply cannot afford to purchase and install it in approximately 6,600 aircraft, which would cost billions of dollars,” he said.
The comments from the three witnesses came just one day following the release of a new economic study finding that disruption of interference with GPS posed by LightSquared’s planned deployment of 40,000 ground stations threatens direct economic costs of up to $96 billion to U.S. commercial GPS users and manufacturers. The full testimony of the three witnesses is available at the Coalition’s website: www.SaveOurGPS.org.