Representatives of the GPS industry presented to members of the Federal Communications Commission clear, strong laboratory evidence of interference with the GPS signal by a proposed new broadcaster on January 19 of this year. The teleconference and subsequent written results of the testing apparently did not dissuade FCC International Bureau Chief Mindel De La Torre from authorizing Lightsquared to proceed with ancillary terrestrial component operations, installing up to 40,000 high-power transmitters close to the GPS frequency, across the United States.
The document describing the testing states that the Lightsquared initiative “will have a severe impact on the GPS band” and “will create a disastrous interference problem for GPS receiver operation to the point where GPS receivers will cease to operate (complete loss of fix) when in the vicinity of these transmitters.”
On January 26, the FCC waived its own rules and granted permission for the potential interferer to broadcast in the L Band 1 (1525 MHz—1559 MHz) from powerful land-based transmitters. This band lies adjacent to the GPS band (1559—1610 MHz) where GPS and other satellite-based radio navigation systems operate.
The company, Lightsquared, has stated that it will work with the GPS industry to see which GPS equipment needs “filtering so that they don’t look into our band.” The FCC wants to start the testing process on February 25 and have it completed by June 15, 2011. â€¨â€¨”It’s a fast process,” noted Lightsquared executive vice president for regulatory affairs and public policy Jeff Carlisle.