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Hill Hearing on LightSquared Scheduled

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure is holding a joint subcommittee hearing June 23 on the impact of LightSquared's proposed satellite/terrestrial broadband network on GPS systems in particular and aviation and marine safety in general.

"A broad coalition of industry stakeholders who use GPS, including numerous aviation groups, has expressed concern that the high-powered broadband signal will overpower and disable critical GPS navigation and timing functions," said the committee in announcing the hearing. "Since current aviation operations, as well as the Department of Transportation's air traffic control modernization effort (NextGen), are dependent on GPS, some in the aviation community have pointed to potential negative impacts GPS interference may have on aviation safety, air traffic control modernization, and job creation within the aviation industry.  Initial government testing has validated some of these interference concerns, including interference with civil, military, and U.S. Coast Guard receivers."

Witnesses will include representatives from the Departments of Defense and Transportation.

FCC granted a waiver to allow LightSquared to test the system and resolve interference issues with GPS that have concerned, among others, the Department of Commerce, and Homeland Security.

LightSquared's tests did reveal interference issues, but the company announced Monday it would not use spectrum closest to that of GPS and would cut power levels of its base station transmitters.