I spent a lot of my career in the broadcasting business and never saw the Federal Communications Commission take action like they have been on the proposal from a company called Lightsquared to utilize high-powered, close-proximity transmissions from a network of ground stations that would cause substantial interference with GPS signals.. It is unheard of for them to allow a company to move ahead on a major project like this without doing full testing first. However, that’s what they’ve done. Fortunately the whole thing is on hold at the moment pending public comment. I think we’d all like more high speed internet access in rural America but not at the expense of GPS. Think about how much has been invested in GPS systems!
At the InfoAg Conference our closing session was titled, “GPS Under Seige: Lightsquared and the Threat to High-End Global Positioning.” This presentation was conducted by Kevin Kobb, Topcon (right) and Doug Schmuland, NovAtel. I spoke with them after their presentation. Kevin and Doug told me it has caused the major GPS producers and distributors to come together to understand the threat and then present that to the public and then work toward a favorable conclusion to the situation. The potential exists for this proposal to affect just about every device relying on GPS satellites. They say that now is the time to act and make your voice heard before the proposal receives a final FCC decision. You can find a lot of information on the website, Coalition To Save Our GPS.
Listen to my interview with Kevin and Doug here: Interview with Kevin Kobb and Doug Schmuland