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House Small Business Committee Asks FCC to Halt LightSquared Waiver

November 1, 2011 – On Monday, House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), a longtime pilot and EAA member, along with eight committee members sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski requesting that the agency not proceed with LightSquared’s waiver until federal testing determines that there will be no interference with all types of GPS devices. The members also request that the FCC report its action plan regarding the proposal to the committee.  (Read the letter.)

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 October 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.

EAA has also been deeply involved in the issue as a member of the Save Our GPS Coalition, which includes GPS users from across the aviation, agriculture, maritime, and law enforcement communities.

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