Friday, July 15, 2011

SOG: Save Our GPS

In a rare two-fer, this is the second post of the day here at Windborne... But I think this is important to get out there.  This is a public service announcement, copied from s/v Sea Trek's blog:
There has been a lot of discussion recently on how the U.S. government could possibly allow LightSquared, an independent 4G LTE provider,  to put up 4,600 transcievers sending broadband data services in the L band with such power that could significantly interfere with nearby GPS frequencies. Possibly causing complete failure for a high quality civilian GPS like your automobile GPS, even under an open sky, and for critical units such as those used in aviation. The GPS units on our boats that we have become so dependent on can also be affected according to major GPS manufacturers that have been doing extensive testing. There has been quite a discussion over at the Panbo Website for a few months now and there is a lot of details on the current status. This morning I received an email from the Coalition To Save Our GPS with an urgent Call To Action. I think everyone might want to read this and consider responding.

With all of the twists and turns presented by Lightsquared, it may be time for all of us as boaters to voice our concern and let our Representatives in Congress know we are less than pleased with the possibilities. Here is Mary Hanley's email.......

We hope will take a moment to file your comments with the FCC about the LIghtSquared proposal. Please also feel free to share the information below with your employees, members, colleagues and other concerned GPS users. The link provided will take them to an easy-to-use express filing form. If you want to file more extensive comments at this link you can do so at this link: Be certain to personalize your comments. The FCC may discount mass and duplicate submissions. The Coalition to Save Our GPS will also be filing comments. The “reply to comments” period is August 1-15.

Please Submit your Comments to the FCC by July 30


In January, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) conditionally allowed a company called LightSquared to offer wireless broadband services in radio frequency bands adjacent to those used by GPS receivers.  Based on feedback from public and private sector GPS users, the FCC told LightSquared that it could not launch service until testing could be completed to determine the extent of the problems that LightSquared would cause.  The report of that testing was submitted to the FCC on June 30th and it showed that there would be massive interference to GPS from LightSquared’s proposed operations.  The FCC has asked for feedback from the public on the report. Comments will be taken until Saturday, July 30.

What can I do?

Everyone who cares about GPS should let the FCC know about the threat that LightSquared poses.  In writing to the FCC, we encourage you to cover the following points in your own words:

·         How you use GPS technology in your business and/or personal life
·         What would happen to your business/personal life if GPS became unavailable or unreliable
·         While more capacity for wireless broadband services is important, it should not come at the expense of GPS, which is critical to our country’s economy
·         The results of the testing that were performed at the FCC’s request are conclusive – they show that GPS reception would be wiped out by LightSquared’s proposed service.
·         Now that the test results have shown interference to GPS, the FCC shouldn’t allow LightSquared to keep trying out modified versions of its plan to use the spectrum near the GPS band.  LightSquared’s operations and GPS are fundamentally incompatible and the FCC should order LightSquared out of that band.

How do I tell the FCC to save GPS?

The FCC has an easy-to-use portal on its website to submit feedback on the testing results:

(1)  Click on this link for the FCC’s Electronic Comments Filing System (ECFS):  
(2)  In the box which says “Proceeding Number,” type:  11-109. It is important to include this docket number with your comments.
(3)  In the designated boxes, enter (a) your name or your company’s name, and (b) your mailing address/city/state/zip.
(4)  In the box which says “Type in or paste your brief comments,” do so.  Click “Continue”.
(5)  A review page will load listing all of the information entered.  If correct, click “Confirm.” (6)  If you have trouble, contact the FCC ECFS Helpdesk at 202-418-0193 or e-mail at

Mary F. Hanley
Prism Public Affairs
1825 Eye Street. NW – Suite 600
Washington, DC 20006
O: 202-207-3664
C: 202-258-9048


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