House Appropriations Bill Cautions FCC on LightSquared GPS Interference

House Appropriations Bill Cautions FCC on LightSquared GPS Interference

The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee today (June 23, 2011) approved action that would prevent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from expending any funds related to a conditional waiver it granted a company called LightSquared until all concerns have been resolved about interference with Global Positioning System (GPS).


The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee today (June 23, 2011) approved action that would prevent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from expending any funds related to a conditional waiver it granted a company called LightSquared until all concerns have been resolved about interference with Global Positioning System (GPS).

The amendment was passed in a unanimous voice vote by the full House Appropriations Committee. According to a press release by from the Coalition to Save Our GPS, oservers reported that that the vote was punctuated with a “loud” response — underscoring the growing congressional concern about the harmful interference to GPS systems that will occur if the FCC moves ahead with approval of LightSquared’s plans to deploy 40,000 ground stations.  The amendment was offered by U.S. Reps. Steve Austria (R-Ohio) and Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas) and was part of the Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee’s bill.

Commenting on the vote, Jim Kirkland, vice president and general counsel of Trimble, said, “GPS is a vital national resource that is today fundamental to our economy, national security and to virtually every industry sector.  Business, consumers and the government will be hobbled if the FCC proceeds on this path with LightSquared.  The vote today puts ‘teeth’ into legislation that will protect government and private GPS users from LightSquared’s proposal.”

The legislation reads, “None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the Federal Communications Commission to remove the conditions imposed on commercial terrestrial operations in the Order and Authorization adopted by the Commission on January 26, 2011 (DA 11-133), or otherwise permit such operations, until the Commission has resolved concerns of potential widespread harmful interference by such commercial terrestrial operations to commercially available Global Positioning System devices.”

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