A new high-speed wireless network given preliminary approval for installation nationwide could cause severe disruptions to GPS signals, rendering everything from car-navigation systems to jet-flight controls useless.
This is interesting and scary
Heard a short news report on the radio this morning stating that a new nationwide 4G network that has been approved could render GPS's units useless as it would interrupt the satellite signals.
Company has already been given approval to proceed.
I agree with what Garmin says in the article why was the company given a license before testing.
Read the continuing saga in GPS World (www.gpsworld.com), not quite a disinterested bystander...
On one side you have the FCC doing strange things to get this system approved... They didn't break their own rules, they just acted expediently... Right...
On the other side you've got the FAA and DOD (as well as parts of the FCC). The GPS community is also hearing more and more about this one, and dragging it into the wider press.
The more light that shines on this one the better. It ain't over yet.
bob in sunny silicon valley
Being the pessimist that I am, from watching the government do this kind of stuff for years, I fully expect Lightsquared to go live and civilian GPS as we know it to be severely hobbled if not outright useless in most areas. The DOD has access to other frequencies in the GPS constellation and I suspect the FAA could ride on that. All it takes is gobs of money from the taxpayer to replace/upgrade government receivers to get that solved. If DOD and FAA objections can be quashed through special fixes, the civilian market will be left to fend for itself. Those of us with civilian receivers will be SOL with a nice collection of "bricks".
The EU is working diligently to get Galileo up and that may be the solution to the GPS mess. While they so share L1 frequencies with GPS, and would be harmed just as badly as GPS, they also have frequencies in other bands that will not be effect. A manufacturer such as Garmin could utilize those frequencies.
What it really boils down to is nobody at the FCC with any decision making authority gives a hoot about GPS. They are looking at the revenue Lightsquared will generate and considering the amount of funding they have received from Wall Street, Wall Street is convinced it is going to happen.
This link was posted by Tim in the GPS Review forum: http://www.saveourgps.org/. Hopefully this movement will grow and will be able to influence the FCC.
Big Brother is alive and well and living in the city.
He who has the most gets more
Is there anything before Congress on this issue?
This shouldn't be all that hard to believe. Look at the mess the government made with the ban on lead in any product made for kids... sounded good until it stopped production of off-road motorcycles for kids because of lead in the batteries... as though some kid was going to be licking it. Kind of typical... nobody looks at the big picture... only what interests them or is expedient.
Certainly an issue to follow
I had heard about this a few weeks back, and I'm sure those in the know have been aware for longer, but when I saw that article in the USA Today, I felt at least a little (a little!) better knowing that the issue is still being discussed at some level. Losing personal use of GPS would be frustrating, but for planes to be affected (as a safety issue) is scary. I just can't believe that there won't be some kind of compromise.
If it indeed does interfere, I think Lightsquare will have a class action on it's hands from airlines, GPS makers, and wireless teleco's, as well as the millions of customers from cell phone companies who are now paying for data that they can't use.
They better get those filters right the first time, or there are gonna be some pissed people taking aim at them.
Will it also affect anti theft devices like Lo-jack?
Losing personal use of GPS would be frustrating, but for planes to be affected (as a safety issue) is scary. I just can't believe that there won't be some kind of compromise.
I have no worry about DOD or FAA. They can ride on the military frequencies of GPS which are not effected by the Lightsquared project. It will cost taxpayers money for whatever new equipment is needed but I really do not see that as an issue. In fact, I would not be surprised if Lightsquared kicks in money to make sure DOD and FAA are provided with equipment that is not effected by their transmissions. That will be the compromise.
Also, it is worth remembering that while it is still being discussed, the FCC has already granted licenses and initial permission for the project to proceed. They fast tracked it with little input or debate which is standard operating procedure these days.
Its all because the current FCC is full of fat cat bureaucrats (ie, the same type of politicians in corporate pockets as the rest of the US politicians...) that this was fast tracked through. You can bet there's more the a few getting kick backs into hidden accounts from Lightsquared, or the usual future board of directors appointment with the $100k+ yearly salary waiting for them after their tenure in the FCC.
If this had been the REAL FCC, which was originally comprised of many knowledgeable persons in various fields which involved the many electronics that the FCC governed over (ie, the old HAM operators who could build a radio from some scrap parts after dumpster diving types), Lightsquared would never have even gotten further then the application.
Seeing as how we have Chicago politics in Washington now, I assume the proper palms were greased.
Does that mean the previous people in washington were Bush-league politicians?
Bush-league, does that have anything to do with bush-men ?
Now don't kill me, I'm just an Belgian expat living in France... But I loved that movie around the Cokakola (spelling intentionally bad, no adds please...) bottle that had been tossed form a plane's window...
You really gotta love this sort of thing. Why would the government not sell the rights to use a wireless spectrum? If they only licensed one company to use a spectrum they would have a fraction as many clients compared to selling a frequency band to only one company.
In all seriousness, this should come as a surprise to no one. Look at how the digital conversion was conducted in television signals. So many stations got bumped into the vastly inferior VHF band as a result of frequency allocation in the digital conversion.
The way the FCC has been operating, lobbyists are more important than ever if you want a chance to succeed.
The FCC on Jan. 26 granted LightSquared a waiver to build its network because it will increase competition for broadband services and create tens of thousands of new jobs
In today's economy, this is one of the driving factors. Let's get those unemployment numbers down.
But I agree, this will be a major PITA if they don't get the filters right.
Get unemployment numbers down but at what price - I for one would be uncomfortable flying if a half baked effort is going to go into assuring that FAA navigation in not impacted.
Look at how the digital conversion was conducted in television signals. So many stations got bumped into the vastly inferior VHF band as a result of frequency allocation in the digital conversion.
Not sure I understand your statement. Most stations were moved from VHF to UHF. Here in the NYC area, low-band VHF stations (channels 2 through 6) were completely eliminated and migrated to UHF (NYC mapping):
CH2 -> CH33
CH4 -> CH28
CH5 -> CH44
On the high-band VHF side (channels 7 through 13), only our channel 9 moved to UHF (CH38). The others migrated back to VHF from their temporary UHF allocations at the transition.
I recall back in the day when UHF was the backwater of oddball stations. The old joke of needing hold the rabbit ears in your hand while standing on one leg with an aluminum foil hat on aptly describe receiving UHF stations in the 60's and 70's. Thankfully receiver technology for UHF frequencies improved markedly in the 1980's as UHF became more widely used. VHF still has better land based propagation than UHF. VHF DTV stations run lower power for the same coverage area that UHF station needs to run high power for. The nice thing about UHF is the smaller antennas. In fact, the newer "DTV" rooftop antennas being sold now are much smaller because they have eliminated the larger elements for low-band VHF.
Most stations weren't moved from VHF to UHF, although NYC area is obviously an exception. Pre-DTV-conversion, 91% of stations broadcasting digital signals occupied the UHF band. Post-DTC-conversion only 74% were broadcasting in the UHF band. Many stations that were in the UHF band got bumped down to Hi-VHF. Most stations in Low-VHF have been moved up to UHF or at least VHF. (which is very good because trying to capture a signal on channel 2 requires a large antenna - even a 1/4 wavelength antenna is well over a yard per element - like trying to catch an eagle with a butterfly net)
One of the big advantages of UHF is of course the smaller size required for antennas, but I would argue the bigger advantage is lower susceptibility to blockage and signal ghosting from buildings, etc.
I'm glad that NYC didn't get screwed over by the digital conversion, but many other areas did, as more digital channels are now broadcast in VHF than were before the mandated conversion.
they just backed out the changes from the 50's when the VHF channels were created, channels went from say 41 -> 2
guess there is no reason to upgrade GPS units until this is cleared up.
That's exactly what I am thinking. I would like to upgrade to a more up-to-date nuvi, but think I will wait until the outcome of this Lightsquared/FCC issue is a little more clear. I figure the PND manufacturers will start putting compliant receivers and filters on their new models once it is known for sure what the real impact of the Lightsquared network is. So I will just live with my old nuvi's until we know where this is going.
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