WASHINGTON, D.C. — A report from the FAA, leaked to the press, about the dangers of LightSquared’s plans to build a wireless communication system might be the reason the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association wonder why LightSquared is silent on the issue. The report indicates LightSquared’s plans could result in 794 deaths and more than $72 billion in costs to U.S. taxpayers because of interference with GPS systems used in aviation.
Frequencies to be used by LightSquared are adjacent to those used by GPS. LightSquared’s ground-based transmission sites would be so powerful their signals would be picked up by GPS, overloading and jamming the GPS.
If LightSquared goes ahead as it now plans, GPS would be of no use for planned aviation use over the entire continental U.S., according to the FAA report. The entire NextGen navigation system also would be in jeopardy, which is included in estimated costs.
The FAA report was prepared at the request of a committee in the White House and was dated July 12.
An FAA spokesperson confirmed to General Aviation News that the report was prepared by the Administration’s Navigation Services division. Because the issue is before the Federal Communications Commission however, no details of it can be discussed.
Possible problems with the frequencies were a major topic at a Congressional hearing where aviation interests urged that the FCC deny the frequencies to LightSquared. Since then, the FCC has been digging deeper into the subject, recently asking for more information from LightSquared and the U.S. GPS Industry Council.