In a recent article, we asked the question, “Is GPS in Jeopardy?” It can now be said with no doubt that the answer is YES!
According to reports by entities that have been impacted and after extensive testing, there is no question that the terrestrial transmitters proposed by LightSquared and conditionally approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would ruin GPS signals in proximities up to several hundreds of miles. In fact, the test results are worse than expected even though the LightSquared transmitters that are available to be tested against are only broadcasting at 1/10th of their authorized power output. Unless there is some magic that LightSquared intends to unveil that would mitigate the effects of their transmitters to the GPS L1 frequency, this deviation from due process being fast-tracked by the FCC should be derailed.
On January 26, 2011, the FCC granted LightSquared a conditional license to install high power transmitters that will broadcast signals much more powerful than and directly adjacent to the primary GPS signal. The FCC is charged with managing the frequency allocation of licensees to ensure maximum compatibility and yet they have seemed nonchalant to the obvious impact the LightSquared signals will have to users of GPS. The guidance of heavy equipment and machinery has become reliant on this technology and yet the service may become unusable in the coming months and years rendering billions of dollars in infrastructure worthless. Why? GPS has been a proven tool in global use for the past 30 years. Why put it all at risk?