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LightSquared Comes Under More Scrutiny Over GPS Interference

House committee hearing October 12

October 6, 2011 – U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is among legislators asking more questions about the controversial LightSquared broadband wireless system that could hamper GPS signals throughout the country.

Sen. Grassley is requesting records of communications between LightSquared financial backers and the Obama administration to clarify the connections between those communications and regulatory oversight of the broadband network proposal.

In the House of Representatives, the House Small Business Committee has scheduled an October 12 hearing on LightSquared’s potential interference with GPS signals. At the same time, Ohio Reps. Steve Austria and Michael Turner have come out in support of GPS as it relates to the LightSquared plan.

“We appreciate the congressional review of this plan, as EAA has maintained that the proposed high-power broadband network could severely hamper GPS signals and aviation safety,” said Doug Macnair, EAA’s vice president of government relations. “LightSquared’s response that it’s up to current GPS users to fix their units to block potential interference is a callous disregard for safety in aviation, emergency services, and military uses as described by the Department of Defense.”

EAA continues to work on the issues with other aviation groups and the Coalition to Save Our GPS. Quality GPS signals play a major role in the FAA’s proposed NextGen satellite-based air traffic control system that is designed to become operational beginning in 2014.

According to various media reports, LightSquared claims to be working on a cheap and easy fix to GPS interference problems. However, the company is also threatening legal action if the Federal Communications Commission fails to grant authority to continue development of its nationwide broadband network.

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