Europe Fights LightSquared

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The European Commission has added its name to the long list of those opposed to LightSquared's plan to use satellite band frequencies for a ground network of broadband transmitters. The proposal, which is now before the Federal Communications Commission for comment, has been widely condemned by pro-GPS companies and organizations in the U.S. because it could disrupt GPS service. The European Commission is now officially worried the broadband signals will obliterate signals from its Galileo satellite-based navigation system, which will deploy in three years, and Heinz Zourek, the director general for enterprise and industry, says the signals may have an even greater impact on Galileo equipment than the interference being reported on GPS receivers. "Interference effects have been determined to occur in the range [of] 100 [meters] to almost 1,000 [kilometers]," Zourek said in a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

The main concern is that Galileo receivers operating in the U.S. will be affected by the signals but Zourek notes GPS users will also be affected by the interference caused to Galileo signals. He said Galileo is designed to work hand-in-glove with GPS to improve accuracy and reliability. Zourek acknowledged that individual countries can allocate radio spectrum as they see fit but international conventions don't allow interference with the systems of other countries.

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