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House Small Biz Committee to Vet LightSquared

The House Small Business Committee will hold a hearing Oct. 12 on the impact of LightSquared on small business users of GPS.

LightSquared has a conditional waiver from the FCC to use its satellite spectrum for a national, wholesale terrestrial 4G service, but the condition is that it not intefere with GPS users on adjacent spectrum, something the FCC has said it must conduct more testing on before allowing the company to proceed.

The hearing will focus on the impact of the service on GPS use by farmers, construction contractors, surveyors and the general aviation industry. The GPS industry has lobbied hard against the service, saying it will interfere with a laundry list of critical services including navigation, weather prediction and defense applications.

"Thousands of small businesses, like farmers, construction workers and the aviation industry, rely on an accurate GPS signal for their day-to-day operations, and potential interference could severely handicap or impair their business," said Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.). "LightSquared's proposal raises a number of concerns for many small businesses that rely on GPS.  Therefore, it is important that Congress conducts hearings like this to examine all possible problems before LightSquared's requested spectrum is approved."