GA Groups File Protests Over LightSquared

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AOPA, GAMA, and Garmin added their comments to a roster of more than 2,700 on Monday to protest FCC plans that would allow LightSquared to broadcast over frequencies that would interfere with GPS signals. Garmin said the "laws of physics prevent the results LightSquared desires," adding that "no workable filters currently exist" that would eliminate the problems with LightSquared interference. AOPA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association issued a joint commentary, strongly urging the FCC to rescind the conditional waiver it granted to LightSquared. "The evidence is clear: LightSquared's proposal puts the entire GPS system at risk," said AOPA President Craig Fuller in a news release. A recent FAA report also showed that the LightSquared plan would cost the aviation sector $70 billion over the next 10 years, and would "severely impact" NextGen.

The FAA assessment, according to The Wall Street Journal, also said LightSquared's plan could hurt U.S. leadership in international aviation by eroding confidence in commitments made to ICAO to maintain the GPS system's safety and availability. "Study after study has shown that LightSquared's plan is simply 'incompatible' with GPS," said AOPA's Fuller. "At the same time, the company's proposed solutions rely heavily on technology that doesn't exist. That's why we are joining with GAMA to ask the FCC to revoke LightSquared's waiver immediately, and to begin a rulemaking process that will protect the integrity of the GPS system into the future." The full text of all comments to the FCC regarding LightSquared can be found online at the FCC web site; insert Proceeding Number 11-109 to reach the list.