Congressional Hearing Shows Support of GPS Benefits
EAA member of Save Our GPS Coalition
September 14, 2011 – The ongoing battle over the future of the nation’s GPS capability received support from the chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, as private companies continue their plans that could compromise the safety and effectiveness of GPS signals.
Committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-TX) said on Sept. 9 that “The United States is the clear leader in precision navigation” and “it is nearly impossible to quantify the impact GPS has on society and economic productivity.”
Testimony from aviation, public safety, weather forecasting, and other areas reinforced the critical nature of undisturbed GPS signals. The cross-section of industries is also represented in the Save Our GPS Coalition (www.saveourGPS.org), of which EAA is one of more than 200 members.
The primary threat to today’s GPS signals is from a high-power broadband communications system proposed by the LightSquared telecommunications firm. The Federal Communications Commission in January granted a conditional waiver to allow LightSquared to offer wireless broadband services on radio spectrums adjacent to GPS frequencies, but later prohibited any launch until the full effect on GPS could be determined. A final FCC decision may come by the end of September.
GPS users maintain that the high-powered LightSquared signal would overwhelm the lower-powered GPS receivers, greatly reducing the availability and quality of GPS signals. House and Senate members have expressed concern with the LightSquared proposal, and opposition has also arisen from the International Civil Aviation Organization, military officials, NASA, and others.