The FCC is Giving Away Your GPS Tracking — Act Now!

GPS Tracking Is At Risk!

Your GPS Tracking way of life is at risk.  I’ve written several times lately on the issue of a company called LightSquared who is convinced that they should build a 40,000 tower cellular network across the US that could (correction will,  based on actual testing) interfere with our free global utility known as GPS.

I’m really a bid saddened by the fact I have seen no responses here and no meaningful articles on this subject on any of the other blogs in this niche.

I know for a fact that a few company executives, corporate founders, etc. read my work … but apparently they are a bit too busy with “status quo” issues than they are with thinking about the future of our industry. 

The GPS Tracking Risk Is REAL

Folks, this could be a life-changing issue, in more ways than one … and it’s way to complicated for the talking heads at Fox and other network commentators to even take note of.

This article from gives a good current rundown.  If you earn your living using GPS tracking, or you depend upon GPS tracking for your business, you better think strongly about Save Our GPS — Get Writing, Friends’ target=_blank>writing your representatives and also joining the Coalition to Save Our GPS.

What’s particular scary to me in the AvWeb article is the fact that a shadowy venture capital firm has already (supposedly, anyway) invested 2.9 billion dollars in LightSquared. 

When serious money like that gets behind a project it becomes nearly impossible for $70K or $125K a year government executives and regulators to squawk loud enough to be heard.

Once this monstrosity starts building out cell towers it will be too late to stop it … interference and common sense be dammed … LightSquared will become another of those ludicrous “To Big To Fail” blots on our landscape, but in this case they will destroy the utility of GPS as we know it.

Tests Show LightSquared Interferes With GPS’ target=_blank>Tests Show LightSquared Interferes With GPS

GPS Tracking at RiskTesting has shown that a proposed national wireless broadband network system could negatively impact some GPS systems, or worse, and at least one company has already stepped forward to say they can fix the problem. LightSquared, which hopes to install 40,000 antennas across the country, may now face problems winning FCC approval that could also translate into additional costs for its primary financial backer. Meanwhile, a committee that advises air-traffic management policy believes GPS and LightSquared can be made to co-exist. And at least one company thinks it could offer an effective solution.

LightSquared’s largest financial backer, Harbinger Capital Partners, has already invested $2.9 billion of assets into the project, according to LightSquared. According to a Wall Street Journal article published Wednesday, regulators are probing certain trades Harbinger (a hedge fund) made years ago. It is not yet clear if that will have any affect on the company’s relationship with LightSpeed. Those who would like to see LightSquared prosper may include Symmetricom, a company that says packet-based primary reference source synchronization solutions could eliminate any interference between the LightSquared system and aviation GPS. Whatever the case, moving forward may require further modifications and testing to determine a method for safe and practical deployment of the LightSquared system.

What Can You Do Today To Save GPS Tracking?

In particular I urge you to read the unimpeachable, disinterested third-party report from emergency responders present at the initial LightSquared tests.  These folks are your customers if you are in this business.  Those folks are also the very guys you expect to come, quickly and accurately, to your aid if you dial 911.

This isn’t a simple issue guys and gals.  And it isn’t just this old guy ranting in the wilderness.

GPS tracking life is going to change in ways you haven’t even thought of, and the changes won’t be in a positive direction at all.

Do something today, or you’ll have to live with my ITYS (I Told You So) next year, as you wonder why your existing good products don’t perform for customers any more.

GPS Tracking needs you help.

2 thoughts on “The FCC is Giving Away Your GPS Tracking — Act Now!”

  1. Lightsquared has direct support from the FCC. Look how FCC tried to sneak that license modification through over the Thanksgiving holiday with an abnormally short public comment period .. thinking nobody would notice. This thing is traceable to the highest levels of government.

    ‘When serious money like that gets behind a project it becomes nearly impossible for $70K or $125K a year government executives and regulators to squawk loud enough to be heard’.

    Believe it or not, there are people in that salary range with integrity. They are heard and simply ignored; decisions having already been made by ‘higher authority’. I’ve been there.

    I can’t believe anyone is so naive as to purposely disrupt reception of GPS signals. Lightsquared and FCC both received an ignored the good advice of technologists firmly believing everything will turn out alright. So let’s organize an after the fact working group to conduct testing and ‘prove’ that’s the case. Yea!

    — Charlie

    1. Thank you for dropping by and for leaving such a useful contribution. Forr sure government folks in the price range I mentioned almost always have integrity … I was such a government technical person for many years and I met very few who weren’t on the straight and narrow and often very dedicated to their work.

      Problem is, as you correctly point out, people who make more money (and often know little about the technology itself, won’t listen. They feel people’s value and contribution are based on salary.

      This whole LightSqaured deal is akin to having a beautiful, smooth-running car that you love to drive, and then some snake oil salesman comes along and say, “Oh please, Mr. Charles, let us mount these lively square wheel o n your car for you … they are stylish, and they will hardly affect your smooth ride at all. I know you don’t want those square wheels, and we’re not going to pay for the use of your car, but how about it, can we install them today”?

      Write yoiur congressman, complain withing whatever technical or professional organizations you are apart of, and start a blog and both about it too ;-). This is a very high potential disaster in the making, and anyone who ea4rns their living in the GPS industry is greatly at risk in their pocketbook as well.

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