Comments to the FCC on LightSquared/GPS Testing

August 16, 2011

The consumer demand for satellite-based two-way communication systems is not as strong as once envisioned, while the demand for terrestrial broadband is intense and growing. It is therefore critical for the Federal government to repurpose satellite spectrum for terrestrial broadband use.

In this filing before the FCC on the matter of LightSquared Request for Modification of its Authority for an Ancillary Terrestrial Component, ITIF argues that a number of spectrum swap and reassignment measures have been proposed, each of which also needs to be explored. It appears that many, but not all, of the problems with existing GPS devices are the result of poor engineering practice and failure to abide by DoD directives on noise immunity. Additional testing can determine the extent to which this is the case.

It’s important to resolve this matter in such a way as to facilitate future reallocation of spectrum currently assigned to satellite services to terrestrial ones, even if a portion of the legacy installed base of low-cost GPS devices is impacted.