The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) has joined an industry group called the “Coalition to Save Our GPS” to protect existing global positioning system (GPS) receivers from the possibility of interference by a wireless broadband system in development by a company called LightSquared. LightSquared has received a conditional permission from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to expand use of the Mobile Satellite Spectrum (MSS) immediately adjacent to GPS spectrum. The coalition was formed because studies have shown that the LightSquared system can cause severe interference with millions of GPS receivers currently in use.
GPS manufacturers, however, have found that the new network would create interference with existing GPS signals, significantly disrupting high-precision use on construction equipment, aircraft and in other applications. The coalition includes equipment manufacturers, users and other businesses that rely on an accurate and reliable GPS signal in their operations.
On June 23, the House Appropriations Committee included an amendment to the fiscal 2012 Financial Services spending bill that would hinder LightSquared’s plan. The amendment would prevent the FCC from implementing a January 26 conditional waiver that would allow LightSquared to construct its network, which includes 40,000 ground stations. The FCC has also initiated a study to look into the claims of both sides in the dispute.