Rep. Sam Graves & U.S. House Committee Members Ask the FCC to Halt Waiver on LightSquared Proposal Until Federal Test Reveal No GPS Interference

“LightSquared’s waiver should not be approved until federal tests reveal there will be no interference and unexpected consequences for small businesses.”

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 28, 2011— On Oct. 28, U.S. House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), along with eight members of the Committee, sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski requesting that the FCC not proceed with LightSquared’s waiver until federal testing ascertains that there will be no interference with all types of Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. The Committee also requests the FCC to report their action plan regarding the proposal to the Committee. Full text of the letter is available here.

LightSquared is proposing to build a ground-based broadband network that could interfere with current GPS technology and impact millions of small businesses.

“While LightSquared’s aim to increase broadband to rural areas is a noble goal, we must find a solution without jeopardizing established GPS systems and further burdening small businesses,” Graves said. “Under the current LightSquared proposal, small businesses would be left to foot the bill that will easily cost billions to replace or retrofit their current GPS devices.

“Small companies should not be required to spend one dime on account of this plan— and that is why we are calling on the FCC to put a hold on the waiver until all federal tests make clear there will be no interruptions to current GPS systems.” 

The letter was signed by House Small Business Committee Members: Mike Coffman (R-CO), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), Scott Tipton (R-CO), Jeff Landry (R-LA), Allen West (R-FL), Renee Ellmers (R-NC), Richard Hanna (R-NY) and Bobby Shilling (R-IL).

On Oct. 12, Chairman Graves held a full committee hearing to examine LightSquared’s proposal and its effect on small businesses. Witnesses included small business owners, as well as, LightSquared Executive Vice President Jeff Carlisle. The AEA was represented at the hearing by Tim Taylor, president and CEO of FreeFlight Systems.