BoatUS: LightSquared Still Threatens GPS

Two weeks after declaring victory in its battle to defend GPS, BoatUS is cautioning sailors and other GPS users that they’re not “out of the woods just yet,” following a Federal Communications Commission decision to extend the public comment period on the issue to March 16.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Two weeks after declaring victory in its battle to defend GPS, BoatUS is cautioning sailors and other GPS users that they’re not “out of the woods just yet,” following a Federal Communications Commission decision to extend the public comment period on the issue to March 16.

On February 14, the FCC announced it was going to revoke its previous conditional approval of wireless operator LightSquared’s plans to construct a broadband wireless system that operates in a frequency very close to that already used for GPS transmissions.

Lightsquared has since asked for an extension of the public comment period on the February 14 decision, and BoatUS is encouraging GPS users to take advantage of this extra time to press home their case.

“At every turn LightSquared has proven its resiliency to delay the inevitable," says BoatUS President Margaret Podlich. "This latest move is no surprise, and we hope the additional two weeks gives GPS users the chance to have their voice heard,"

Last summer, over 18,000 boaters and GPS users wrote the FCC asking it to stop plans by LightSquared until independent tests proved there would be no interference with GPS devices which operate on nearby frequencies.

While there is no disagreement over the fact that the more powerful transmissions planned by LightSquare can interfere with the relatively week signals sent by satellites to GPS devices on the ground, GPS defenders and LightSquared disagree over how serious the impact of that interference will be.

LightSquared also claims that GPS users and manufacturers are ultimately to blame for the problem because they have failed to make their products resilient enough to the very interference LightSquared hopes to create.

“GPS in America has become ‘too big to fail.’ This is not an endorsement – it’s a sad fact,” says Jeff Carlisle, LightSquared VP for regulator affairs and public policy. “Like Wall Street, the manufacturers of GPS devices have spent years profiting off of vulnerable technology and are now seeking protection from the government instead of implementing the necessary reforms.”

The Coalition to Save Our GPS—which is comprised of such disparate groups as BoatUS, the American Sailing Association, FedEx, Garmin and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association—vehemently denies such accusations, saying they proceed from “the same false premises and claims that LightSquared has repeated ad nauseam in its ongoing effort to deny its obligation to avoid harmful interference to millions of government and private GPS users.”

For more on the issue, including details on how to make your voice heard, visit BoatUS.com or call 800-395-2628.

For LightSquared’s position, visit lightsquared.com

Related

01-LEAD-IMG20210409160620-copy

Cruising: La Soufrière Volcano Eruption

This past spring my family and I were at anchor aboard our 50ft steel-hulled cutter, Atea, off Bequia, a small island five miles south of St. Vincent in the Southern Antilles. Bequia’s large, protected bay is lined by a collection of beach bars, restaurants and hotels, and is a ...read more

01-LEAD-GMR_ISLA_0415-1

Electric Multihulls

Witnessing the proliferation of Tesla automobiles you would have no doubt that the revolution in electromobility is well underway. Turn your gaze to the cruising world, though, and you might well wonder what went wrong. Where are all the electric boats? And as for electric ...read more

Lee-Cloths-Lee-Boards-and-single-bunks-on-ISBJORN_by-Andy-Schell_Trans-Atlantic-2019

The Perfect Offshore Boat: Part 2

November, 2009: Mia and I were sailing our 1966 Allied Seabreeze yawl, Arcturus, on our first-ever offshore passage together, a short hop from Wilmington, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida. Our second night out, the brisk northwesterly wind shut down, but the sea state ...read more

210727_JR_SE_Tokyo20_186871368

Tune in for Olympic Sailing

Today marks the start of 470 and NARCA 17 racing on Enoshima Bay, and racing in the other seven fleets is already underway. A few of the American sailors are already off to an impressive start, with Maggie Shea and Stephanie Roble currently in second place in the 49er FX, Luke ...read more

Happy-Cat

Boat Review: Happy Cat Hurricane

I’m not sure what I expected from my daysail on the Happy Cat Hurricane. One thing I do know is that the day didn’t go as planned. The SAIL staff was invited by Alex Caslow from Redbeard Sailing to Gunpowder State Park on Chesapeake Bay near Baltimore. We were to test several ...read more

210722_PM_Tokyo20_4910_5979-2048x

Olympic Sailing Guide

The Opening Ceremony for the Tokyo Games is finally here. From July 24 to August 4, sailors from across the world will be gathering on six courses on Enoshima Bay to race for gold. Ten classes will take part in the event: RS:X (men), RS:X (women), Laser Full Rig, Laser Radial, ...read more

01-LEAD-TobagoCaysHorseshoeColors

Chartering: Voltage is King

For some time now, both in the pages of this magazine and with individual charterers, I’ve talked about how important it is to pay close attention during a charter checkout. The idea is to listen “between the lines,” as it were, to be sure you aren’t missing any hidden red flags ...read more

AC75-No.-1

ETNZ May Abandon New Zealand

Remember when the Kiwis were the young, underfunded upstarts of the America’s Cup world, with right on their side as they took on the Big Bad Americans? Remember the withering criticism leveled at Larry Ellison when, in the wake of “The Comeback” on San Francisco Bay, arguably ...read more