A recent FCC decision to allow high-speed internet and cell phone service to use frequencies close to existing GPS radio frequencies could disrupt GPS signals and cause severe interference to a wide range of GPS receivers, including those used by boaters. On January 26, the FCC gave conditional approval to a private company, LightSquared, to build 40,000 ground stations within the U.S. that would transmit high powered signals in the middle of the existing satellite band of frequencies.
“This could lead to loss of critical navigation information in certain areas,” reports BoatUS Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich. “Fortunately, this unusual decision has some members of Congress as well as an array of user groups – including boaters – concerned.
Podlich said Senators Pat Roberts of Kansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska are circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter to other Senators that asks the FCC to better analyze the potential impact the action could have on GPS signals, before allowing LightSquared to move forward with the plan in June.
“We’d like to ask BoatUS Members and boaters at large to contact your two Senators and ask them to sign on to the Roberts-Nelson GPS letter. You can easily email them by going to BoatUS.com/gov/gpsaction
While several regulatory hurdles still remain, LightSquared’s new service could begin as early as this summer. BoatUS has joined with a diverse group of associations and companies asking the FCC to reconsider. To learn more about the issue you can visit SaveOurGPS.org