GPS Interference

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LightSquared Proposal Threatens GPS Integrity

February 15, 2012

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is used by virtually all business aircraft operators to improve situational awareness, navigate within the national airspace system, and conduct instrument approaches to many general aviation airports. Today, more than 60% of the 11,000 business aircraft operating in the U.S. are equipped with various GPS capabilities required for instrument approaches at over 5000 airports. Even more have en route GPS capability.

In January 2011, 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 their proposal would cause.

Learn more about NBAA's comments to the FCC.

Review the full NBAA letter to the FCC (48KB, PDF)

On December 13, 2011, the federal government confirmed that previously leaked reports that tests conducted by a joint Technical Working Group show that signals from a proposed nationwide wireless broadband network interfered with the majority of commercial GPS receivers tested. LightSquared quickly offerred to cede authority over use of the upper part of its allotted spectrum in exchange for immediate access to the lower 10MHz of the spectrum initially granted to LightSquared by the FCC in December 2010. That proposal was met with wariness from the Coalition to Save our GPS.

In its December 20, 2011, filing to the FCC, LightSquared lashed out at the GPS industry, claiming poor design of the units is solely to blame for the problem.

On January 13, 2012, a joint panel of representatives from nine federal agencies – the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing – sent a letter to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) stating that there are “no practical solutions” that would allow LightSquared’s proposed broadband service to operate “without significantly interfering with GPS.”


February 15, 2012
NBAA Welcomes FCC's Rejection of LightSquared Network, Protecting GPS
February 13, 2012
GA, Airlines Defend GPS in Congressional Hearing
February 2, 2012
NBAA Tells FCC: GPS 'Must Be Protected From All Sources of Interference'
January 20, 2012
Federal Tests Show 'No Practical Solutions' to LightSquared Interference with GPS
December 23, 2011
Compromise Over? LightSquared Strikes Back in FCC Filing
December 15, 2011
Interference Confirmed, LightSquared Offers Concession to GPS Industry
December 12, 2011
LightSquared Says GPS-Interference Issue Resolved; Others Skeptical
November 18, 2011
NBAA Welcomes Sen. Roberts' Amendment to Halt LightSquared Funding
November 8, 2011
Graves: General Aviation Won't Accept a 99% Solution to LightSquared Problem
October 31, 2011
Coalition Puts Government's Cost of LightSquared Interference at $245B
October 13, 2011
LightSquared Goes on Offense Against GPS Manufacturers
September 12, 2011
GPS Benefits Outweigh LightSquared's Claims in Congressional Hearing
August 2, 2011
NBAA Calls Upon FCC to Maintain GPS Network Integrity
July 13, 2011
LightSquared, Industry Agree: Signals Would Interfere With GPS
June 20, 2011
ICAO: 'Grave Concern' Over LightSquared Interference with GPS
June 10, 2011
LightSquared Broadband Tests Prompt Congressional Alarm
June 6, 2011
LightSquared Tests Reveal Potential Interference with GPS
May 16, 2011
NBAA Joins Large Coalition to Protect GPS in Wake of Recent FCC Decision