EAA Joins Group Concerned Over GPS Interference Potential
May 12, 2011 — EAA and several other aviation organizations have sent a letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives expressing serious concern over plans by LightSquared to build tens of thousands of ground stations operating in the spectrum immediately adjoining that of the United States GPS system that may cause widespread interference. “This is a matter of serious concern to the aviation industry and much of U.S. commerce and we respectfully request that you require the FCC to take all steps necessary to protect the GPS,” the letter reads.
GPS receivers are used by thousands of aircraft for navigation, approach, and landing, and GPS is central to the FAA’s ADS-B-based Next Generation Air Transportation System. In addition, cellphones use GPS in the E-911 program to help first responders locate people in emergencies. “We are extremely concerned that these receivers could be jammed within miles of LightSquared’s transmitters and the consequences of disruption to the GPS signals are far-reaching, creating 40,000 ‘dead spots’ each miles in diameter through U.S. cities,” the letter reads.
The FCC’s conditional waiver was called “highly unusual” and LightSquared’s planned use of the L-Band “fundamentally different from the ancillary terrestrial component of satellite-based services that the FCC’s rules permit and by every indication to date is incompatible with existing GPS use.”