GPS Concerns Still an Issue After Latest Move by LightSquared

The whole world now benefits from the amazing technology the United States pioneered when they opened up public access to their GPS systems. Recently, an application for more cellular system bandwidth from a company called LightSquared appeared to jeopardize the American GPS network. For further discussion, the FCC has now extended the Public Comment Period through March 16.

Just a few days ago, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) cautioned that boaters weren't out of the woods just yet with the possibility of the country's sole electronic navigation system failing as the result of radio signal interference issues from the newly proposed cellular broadband network. February 29th, the FCC green-lighted an extension of the public comment period to the network's proposed builder, LightSquared, to allow comments through March 16. BoatUS continues to urge boaters and all users of GPS to submit comments to the FCC to ensure the nation's system of global positioning devices keeps boaters safely on course.

"At every turn LightSquared has proven its resiliency to delay the inevitable," said BoatUS President Margaret Podlich. "This latest move is no surprise, and we hope the additional two weeks gives GPS users the chance to have their voice heard," added Podlich.

Last summer, over 18,000 boaters, along with many other GPS users, wrote the FCC asking the guardian of the nation's airwaves to stop plans by LightSquared until independent tests proved there would be no interference with GPS devices which operate on nearby frequencies. LightSquared originally asked the FCC for permission to build 40,000 network ground stations across America. Recent government reports concluded that interference issues with the GPS system could not be overcome.

BoatUS has directed their members on how to file comments to the FCC through their online comment form:

1. Click on this link for the FCC's Electronic Comments Filing System:
2. Select "Proceeding Number 11-109."
3. Enter contact information.
4. In the box that says "Type in or paste your brief comments," here are some important points to select from:
• Explain how you use GPS in your life – on the water, on land or in the air.
• What would happen to your business/personal life if GPS became unavailable or unreliable?
• Wireless broadband service is important, but it should not come at the expense of GPS.
• All the studies show that LightSquared's proposed network would cause interference and that there are no remedies.
• Tell the FCC that you rely on them to protect the integrity of the GPS signal and that you support their recommendation to stop LightSquared's current proposal.
5. Click "Continue."
6. If the review page is correct, click "Confirm." Done!

If you are a person who boats where the American GPS systems are in place, you may wish to contact the BoatUS organization's FCC ECFS Helpdesk at 202-418-0193 or email to offer your support in this serious issue.

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