Do you use GPS?

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If so, an April 22, 2020, decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) might be of interest.

On that date, the FCC voted unanimously (5-0) to approve Ligado Networks’ license to build a terrestrial-based communication network that Ligado claims will “accelerate 5G and the emerging Industrial Internet of Things.”

Great, but what does that have to do with GPS? A lot, according to nearly every 3- and 4-letter advocacy group.

During a June 23 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) webinar, “Ligado’s GPS Threat and NBAA’s Work To Oppose It,” Max Fenkell, director of unmanned and emerging aviation technologies for the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), noted GPS has contributed more than $1.4 trillion of economic impact, adding the FCC’s decision will have a huge impact across many industries.

Ligado, formerly know as LightSquared, emerged from bankruptcy in 2015 with a plan to develop a network that will support telecom companies’ 5G network aspirations. Ligado’s idea is to serve as the backbone that will make all those 5G commercials we see on TV a reality — not to mention making it possible for your refrigerator to tell your grocery store that you are just about out of milk and butter. Admittedly, that’s a greatly oversimplified example of the Internet of Things.

The problem, as best I can understand, is that everyone from the departments of Defense, Transportation, and Justice, to the airline industry, farmers, road builders, boaters, general aviation industry advocates, and many, many more, oppose the FCC’s decision, saying Ligado’s plans will interfere with GPS signals.

If you don’t use GPS, and I suppose there are a few who don’t, then this shouldn’t be a problem. But for the rest of us, this could be a big problem.

Ligado claims its modified license application to operate in the L-band spectrum will not cause GPS interference. Further, company officials agree they are on the hook, financially, if the network actually interferes with Department of Defense (DOD) GPS. But what about the rest of us GPS users? 

The following image from Ligado’s letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee refutes “DOD Fiction” with “Facts.” Imagine a new — and noisy — neighbor moves in next door. That noise, according to DOD, will cause a great deal of interference with existing GPS signals.

Ligado claims as fact the adjustments it has made to the system, which includes a 99% reduction in power as

This post was originally published by General Aviation News on . Please visit the original post to read the complete article.

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