[gis_info] FW: Update: GPS threats from FCC's waiver for LightSquared

SMITH Cy * EISPD GEO cy.smith at state.or.us
Fri Apr 1 16:31:27 PDT 2011

Hi folks,


Ken Bays, Geodetic Control FIT Chair and Lead Geodetic Surveyor for
ODOT, provided the following update on the LightSquared/GPS issue that
has arisen recently.  Please see below.  Thanks Ken!




Cy Smith, Statewide GIS Coordinator

DAS/EISPD Geospatial Enterprise Office

President, Urban/Regional Info Sys Assoc. (URISA)

Secretary, Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO)

Past President, Natl. States Geographic Info. Council (NSGIC)

503-378-6066          http://gis.oregon.gov 


From: BAYS Kenneth [mailto:Kenneth.BAYS at odot.state.or.us] 
Sent: Friday, April 01, 2011 1:39 PM
To: SMITH Cy * EISPD GEO; HILL Milton E * EISPD GEO; John Minor; Annette
dePaz; Lisa Lee; mark.l.armstrong at noaa.gov; WRIGHT Chris; Cael
Neathamer; Dan Hoekstra
Subject: Update: GPS threats from FCC's waiver for LightSquared



As I stated in an earlier E-mail to some of you, the National
Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Executive
Committee, www.pnt.gov <file:///\\www.pnt.gov>  , was established to
manage GPS and related issues in cooperation with other agencies.  

Last week, the two co-chairs of the PNT Executive Committee, Deputy
Secretary of Defense William Lynn III, and Deputy Secretary of
Transportation John Porcari, weighed in heavily on the  LightSquared
issue with a March 25 letter sent to FCC Chair Julius Genachowski.  The
letter stated "active engagement with DoD and DOT, the national stewards
and global providers of the Global Positioning Satellite [sic] (GPS)
service, is essential to protect this ubiquitous defense,
transportation, and economic utility as the WG process proceeds"  and
noted  an FCC "lack of inclusiveness regarding input from federal
stakeholders".   In the letter, FCC's Genachowski was asked to respond
to  "these matters at your earliest opportunity."  [Source:
<http://www.insidegnss.com/node/2552>  ]

The PNT has also added a page to their website about the LightSquared
issue: http://www.pnt.gov/interference/lightsquared/

The LightSquared issue seems to hinge on a possible conflict between two
worthy priorities of the  present Administration: GPS and the "National
Broadband Program", http://www.broadband.gov/
<http://www.broadband.gov/> .  The National Broadband Program is been
promoted heavily recently by President Obama and the FCC Chair he
appointed in 2009,  Julius Genachowski.   

In his January 2011 State of the Union address, White House press
releases, and recent speeches, the President has set  goals to "within
five years, we want to make it possible for businesses to put high-speed
wireless services in reach of virtually every American."    [Source:
www.whitehouse.gov <file:///\\www.whitehouse.gov> ]

Genachowski, a high tech industry insider before being appointed to
chair the FCC,  has stated in several recent speeches, both nationally
and internationally, that "we've been able to act on dozens of
rulemakings on our top priorities, like making more spectrum for mobile
broadband, reforming universal service, and removing barriers to
broadband deployment."    [Sources: www.fcc.gov <file:///\\www.fcc.gov>
and www.broadband.gov <file:///\\www.broadband.gov>  ]

The Light-Squared proposal is to develop mobile broadband in the US by
repurposing the spectrum immediately adjacent to the frequency for the
GPS L1 signal.  This repurposing would change the use of the adjacent
spectrum from very low-power, space-to-earth transmissions, to use for
extremely high-powered, ground-based transmissions for mobile broadband.
The waiver would allow installation of 40,000 towers nationwide that
broadcast at a power of 15,000 watts in a frequency adjacent to GPS L1.
Experts state that the transmission power from the broadband towers
would be a billion or more times powerful than the very low power of the
GPS L1 signal, and that interference will occur.    

The FCC usually requires extensive testing and comment periods before
such a major policy change, but in the LightSquared broadband proposal,
they issued the waiver after a short two-month comment period and they
had no initial interference testing requirement.  Since initial protests
(including the January 12 letter from the Dept of Commerce to the FCC
<http://www.ntia.doc.gov/filings/2011/NTIA_FCCletter_01122011.pdf>  that
I cited in my earlier E-mail),  the FCC has added, in their Order and
1.pdf>  of January 26, a testing requirement to address interference
concerns before work can proceed on Light Squared's initiative.
However, the FCC order allows LightSquared to sit on the FCC-ordered
Working Group of GPS experts that is tasked to perform the interference
testing.  The FCC order does not clarify how conflicting conclusions of
the Work Group will be addressed or acted upon and this is one of the
concerns of the PNT Executive Committee. 

I'm still confident that the PNT Executive Committee, working with other
stakeholders, will succeed in protecting GPS spectrum.  GPS is too
ingrained in our nation's infrastructure to risk endangering.
Ironically, GPS timing is used to time our national telecommunication
networks and power grids, so GPS is critical to any national broadband

In addition to the www.PNT.gov <file:///\\www.PNT.gov>  website, the
www.saveourgps.org <file:///\\www.saveourgps.org>   and
www.insidegnss.com <file:///\\www.insidegnss.com>  websites have updated
information about the LightSquared issue.


Here's a couple of a recent update below from Glen Gibbons'  Inside GNSS

GPS 'Stewards' DoD, DoT DepSecs Protest LightSquared Plan to FCC
<http://www.insidegnss.com/node/2552>    Glen Gibbons, March 30, 2011

Ken Bays,  PLS 
Lead Geodetic Surveyor, Geometronics Unit 
Oregon Department of Transportation 

Technical Manager, Oregon Real-time GPS Network (ORGN) 
http://www.TheORGN.net <http://www.TheORGN.net>  

4040 Fairview Industrial Dr SE, MS 4, Salem, OR 97302 
Phone:  503-986-3543 
Cell:      503-580-8793 
Fax:      503-986-3548 
kenneth.bays at odot.state.or.us 



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