By Jeff Carlisle, Executive Vice President for Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy
February 13, 2012
GPS in America has become “too big to fail.” This is not an endorsement – it’s a sad fact. Like Wall Street, the manufacturers of GPS devices have spent years profiting off of vulnerable technology and are now seeking protection from the government instead of implementing the necessary reforms. This will harm consumers, businesses, and our national defense. Papering over the problem and not fixing it will hobble American commerce, public safety, innovation, and communications for years to come.
GPS manufacturers have been selling devices that listen into frequencies outside of their assigned spectrum band – namely into LightSquared’s licensed band. This means GPS devices are inherently vulnerable. It’s a manufactured defect that smart phone manufacturers have been able to overcome. In fact, recent tests conducted by the government proved that the more than 300 million smart phones in the U.S. will function flawlessly in the presence of LightSquared’s signal.
In short, you can get a cell phone for free with a two-year contract that is more resilient to GPS interference than what’s being installed in today’s commercial airliners.
The current deliberations by the FCC and NTIA, the agencies that oversee spectrum used by commercial and government users, could finally make LightSquared’s network a reality. Many of our wholesale customers have asked the FCC to allow LightSquared to bring much-needed spectrum and competition into the wireless market. Now, everyone has the opportunity to share their opinion with federal officials. The GPS industry has leveraged years of insider relationships and massive lobbying dollars to make sure that they don’t have to fix the problem they created. We need our supporters to push back on special interests by sending a letter to the FCC and NTIA.
Wireless for America, an alliance of American companies including LightSquared, rural wireless advocates and consumers committed to addressing our nation’s impending broadband crisis, has launched an online tool that quickly allows you to email your support for LightSquared to the FCC and NTIA.
Jeff Carlisle serves as LightSquared’s executive vice president for regulatory affairs and public policy. Carlisle, who previously served as vice president of regulatory affairs for SkyTerra, is responsible for all domestic and international regulatory and policy matters including those at the FCC, Congress, the Executive Branch, the ITU and in foreign markets.