LightSquared, a private company had asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for permission to build 40,000 cell phone ground stations across the country. According to the company, it could expand broadband cellular telephone service. Tests done by the National Telecommunication and Information Administration indicated that the network and handset transmissions could interfere and hamper the GPS signals.
And hence, in a bid to protect the integrity of the GPS system the FCC had put restrictions on installation of cell phone ground stations since GPS devices are the most important and reliable tools for the travels may it be on roads, water or in the air. BoatUS also had launched a campaign ‘Don’t Mess With GPS’ to slow down the federal approval process until sufficient tests were done. Under the flag of this campaign, the boaters from across the country had sent over 18,000 comments to FCC.
But, GPS users including recreational boaters can now breathe with no worries as the FCC has planed to revoke the conditional approval of a proposed cellular telephone network only after being advised by the U.S. Commerce Department that there were no mitigation strategies that could prevent interference with GPS signals at that time if LightSquared built the cell phone network as planned.
As the boaters depend upon GPS to steer clear of shallows, other hazards and safely navigate through unfamiliar waters, and though the system helps them move forward in right direction during the journey, the FCC has set a 15-day comment period ending March 1 to get feedbacks on the plans to lift LightSquared’s conditional permit.
Image Credit: Creative Commons/Ludovic Peon