WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittees will conduct an oversight hearing Thursday, June, 23, to examine potential impacts on U.S. aviation safety in light of pending government action that may affect Global Positioning System (GPS) reliability. Witnesses include an official from Garmin and the president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering a proposal by LightSquared Subsidiary to build out the nationwide broadband internet infrastructure. This plan would allow high-power internet broadcast stations to be built across the country broadcasting on a spectrum neighboring the low-powered GPS signal.
A broad coalition of industry stakeholders who use GPS, including numerous aviation groups, has expressed concern that the high-powered broadband signal will overpower and disable critical GPS navigation and timing functions. Since current aviation operations, as well as the Department of Transportation’s air traffic control modernization effort (NextGen), are dependent on GPS, some in the aviation community have pointed to potential negative impacts GPS interference may have on aviation safety, air traffic control modernization, and job creation within the aviation industry. Initial government testing has validated some of these interference concerns, including interference with civil, military, and U.S. Coast Guard receivers. There are also concerns about possible GPS disruptions in marine navigation.
The joint hearing of the Aviation Subcommittee and the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee will receive testimony from high-level federal government witnesses as well as industry witnesses regarding their concerns with GPS interference; the implications of that interference on GPS reliability, NextGen, and aviation job creation; and the potential mitigation strategies to resolve GPS interference concerns.
A live webcast of this hearing, which begins at 9 a.m., will be available here.
- Roy Kienitz, Under Secretary for Policy, U.S. Department of Transportation
- Teri Takai, Acting Assistant Secretary for Networks and Information Integration and Chief Information Officer, U.S. Department of Defense
- Rear Admiral Robert E. Day, Jr., Assistant Commandant for Command, Control, Communications, Computers & Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, United States Coast Guard, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- Margaret Jenny, President, RTCA, Inc.
- Phil Straub, Vice President Aviation Engineering, Garmin International Inc.
- Craig Fuller, President, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
- Thomas L. Hendricks, Senior Vice President of Safety, Security and Operations, Air Transport Association
- Jeffrey J. Carlisle, Executive Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy, LightSquared