FCC ‘recklessly fast-tracked’ LightSquared waiver

June 8, 2011

With reports surfacing that LightSquared’s proposed broadband communications network negatively interferes with GPS, 66 members of Congress weighed in June 7, saying that the “FCC has recklessly fast-tracked the waiver process without undertaking appropriate review procedures.”

In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the members of Congress requested that the FCC “only approve LightSquared’s waiver if it can be indisputably proven that there will be no GPS interference.” They also acknowledged the commission’s call for a working group to investigate and report on the issue by June 15.

Congress, along with the aviation industry, believes the FCC should have required that the proposal be tested before granting a waiver instead of approving the waiver with a plan for later testing. LightSquared is proposing to use a satellite spectrum that is close to the one used for GPS.

The letter quoted Air Force Space Command Gen. William Shelton on the impact that is currently being observed in testing: “Within three to five miles on the ground and within twelve miles in the air, GPS is jammed by those towers… If we allow that system to be fielded and it does indeed jam GPS, think about the impact. We’re hopeful we can find a solution, but physics being physics, we don’t see a solution right now.

“LightSquared has got to prove that they can operate with GPS and we’re hoping the FCC does the right thing.”

Find out if your member of Congress signed the letter and send him or her a note of thanks for acting to protect GPS