Government Affairs Home Current Federal Boating Issues

Don't Mess With GPS
February 24, 2012

Last summer boaters sent a clear message to the Federal Communications Commission – "Don't Mess with GPS!" As you may remember, a private company, LightSquared, received preliminary FCC approval to offer a new cellular broadband service. Tests showed this service could significantly interfere with GPS signals.

Thanks to over 18,000 boaters who submitted comments, along with many other GPS users, the FCC required additional testing in the fall. (Thank you all for your help!) Last week, these tests revealed that the LightSquared's network would interfere with GPS and that there are no practical fixes. As a result, the FCC has proposed to withdraw LightSquared's approval.

The FCC has a new comment period (open to March 16) asking for the public's opinion. Even if you wrote last summer, please take a few minutes now and write the FCC asking them to protect the GPS signal by saying "No" to LightSquared's current proposal. Given this company's tenacity over the last year, we want to make sure that boaters' needs are remembered as the FCC makes their final decision.

Important points to make:
  • How do you use GPS in your life – on the water, on land, or in the air?
  • What would happen to your business/personal life if GPS became unavailable or unreliable?
  • Wireless broadband service is important, but it should not come at the expense of GPS.
  • All the studies show that LightSquared's proposed network would cause interference and that there are no remedies.
  • Tell FCC that you rely on them to protect the integrity of the GPS signal and that you support their recommendation to stop LightSquared's current proposal.

You can submit comments directly to the FCC through their online comment form. (We regret we can't streamline this process for you, but it is important enough we're still asking for your help.) Here's how:

  1. Visit the FCC's Electronic Comments Filing System (ECFS):
  2. Select "Proceeding Number 11-109." It should be near the top of the list.
  3. In the designated boxes, enter your name and mailing address.
  4. In the box that says "Type in or paste your brief comments," do so. Click "Continue".
  5. A review page will load listing all of the information entered. If correct, click "Confirm."
  6. If you have any trouble, you may contact the FCC ECFS Helpdesk at 202-418-0193 or email at


Thank you for taking action to protect the integrity
of the GPS system.


View Previous GPS Updates