This morning I’m at Concord Airport in New Hampshire taking part in a news conference with Congressman Charlie Bass, who’s really turning up the heat on the FCC.
By now you’ve probably heard about the unprecedented battle for the future of GPS. The FCC has granted waivers to LightSquared to build a communications network that interferes with, and even blocks, GPS signals. As pilots, we all know how critical GPS is to our safety, to our all-weather access to thousands of airports, and to the FAA’s NextGen modernization program. But apparently, the FCC doesn’t get it.
That’s why Congressman Bass has gathered representatives of numerous groups who depend on GPS to alert the media and the public to our very serious concerns. Sometimes you have to turn up the heat to get folks in Washington to see the light. And I want to thank Congressman Bass for doing just that.
It seems we may have to keep raising the temperature if we’re going to put a stop to this project.
Last week, I testified before Congress about the dangers of allowing LightSquared to continue, asked that FCC rescind its waivers, and urged Congress to investigate how one agency could be allowed to single-handedly undermine our entire national transportation network. And I wasn’t alone. Representatives from DOD, DOT, and the Coast Guard all had similar stories to tell. And yet, so far, LightSquared is being allowed to proceed with its plans.
And months ago, before the waivers were granted, AOPA and others warned the FCC of the potential for dire consequences if this project was approved. Since then, numerous studies have demonstrated, unequivocally, that LightSquared’s planned network cannot coexist with GPS. And yet, LightSquared is being allowed to proceed.
I am incredulous that this whole debacle could have been allowed to advance so far—and you can bet that we’ll make it uncomfortably hot for the FCC until we can be certain that GPS is available now and for decades to come. Maybe if they feel the heat, they’ll finally see the light.