House Subcommittee Explores Whether Wireless Broadband Expansion Could Affect Aviation Safety

By Carlton Purvis
Carlisle testified that it would be no problem for LightSquared to broadcast without causing disruptions to GPS using a lower band within their spectrum. He also testified that initial tests showed that there were no negative impacts on public safety devices.
“The potential for interference from our operation on the lower channel is almost exclusively limited to receivers in the categories referred to as ‘high-precision,’ ‘network,’ and ‘timing.’ We do not minimize the importance of these devices, but we estimate that they represent no more than roughly one million devices. Filtered antennas are available for timing devices that will permit them to continue to be used without interruption,” Carlisle said.
To keep interference to as little as possible, he said that LightSquared is willing to operate base stations at a lower level, suspend use of its space on the spectrum adjacent to GPS, only use sections of the spectrum that won’t interfere with GPS devices, and share the cost of finding a solution for devices at risk.
“It needs more study, which is what we’ve being saying all along,” LightSquared spokesperson Christ Stern told Security Management. “The message from the Department of Transportation, the Coast Guard, and RCTA was that there needs to be more study at the lower ten. Depending on where you are in the government, it’s a goal to get broadband all over the country so there’s people who really want to see a new network, but nobody wants to see public safety put at risk at the same time. It’s just a matter of working it out over time.”   

photo from Idaho National Laboratory  from flicker


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