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FCC Moves Ahead With 5G Regardless

May 24, 2004
6,765
CC 30 South Florida
Healthy skepticism is a good thing but all I’ve read are a bunch of supposition by those challenging the plan. It’s hard for the government to deny a petition for frequency allocation based solely on supposition.
If it’s transparency you seek, it should come from those objecting to show why. They haven’t...
Yes there is reason for healthy skepticism and the FCC does not seem interested in airing out the issues for the benefit of the people. The agencies citing objections provide core services to the citizenship. This is NOAA, Department of Defense, FAA, Department of Transportation and others like NASA and boating organizations . A similar proposal was defeated a few years back, I believe in this case the burden should rest on the FCC to prove the assignment of the frequencies will not interfere with the GPS, as the consequences would be rather detrimental.
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,715
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Not suggesting we (the FCC) don’t listen. Simply that we don’t hear anything in their objections based on fact, evidence or data. As cited here previously by their own statements, they object based on nothing except conjecture. Why take conjecture seriously?
The conjecture is serious enough that the DOD is investigating, more importantly the consequences of interference could be high, so increased caution is warranted, GPS is used for much more than simply finding our way about town. Services that require precise timing use the GPS time signals, that includes the power grid, internet, cell phone service, and others.

A second area of concern, and one mentioned in one of the articles, is the relationship between the FCC and Ligado. Ligado's first application was turned denied. The decision may not have been made at an arm's length.

A third area of concern is the timing of and speed of the decision, on a week end during a pandemic with little opportunity for the public to be informed.

Finally, Ajit Pai, the former FCC Chair has a history of turning a deaf ear to consumer concerns. Most notably during the debate about net neutrality.
 
Sep 20, 2014
1,276
Rob Legg RL24 Chain O'Lakes
I think what the FCC is counting on is that technology always advances and assumes that higher quality GPS receivers will be able to reject nearby interference. What will be interesting to see is that the GPS built into cellphones will be readily interfered with due to close proximity. So when you call 911 and your phone is trying to locate the GPS signal at the same time you are transmitting, that could be pretty difficult. It would likely swamp the front end of the GPS. But these phones are not built yet, so there is no way to prove if this is an issue or not.
 
Sep 25, 2008
6,265
Alden 50 Sarasota, Florida
Read the entire sentence. Taking phrases out of context distorts meaning. As Dave said above,
We are debating unfounded hypotheticals. That’s the context. As Dave said above, no evidence exists that there is any problem. This is getting tedious. Bye.
 
Sep 20, 2014
1,276
Rob Legg RL24 Chain O'Lakes
How do you test something that doesn't exist? In other words, there currently is no high density transmission in that bandwidth, so how do you prove it, beyond historical anecdotal evidence.

My concern is something the FFC is notorious for ignoring - the right of the people to use products they previsously owned and OWNED THE RIGHT TO USE. In otherwords, if I have an older GPS that is not tolerant of the new bandwidth, my right to use that device has been violated without just compensation. The FCC does not care about this right and has historically abused this right. This occured with reallocation of the old analog band licensed for low power transmission of wireless microphones. There were many organizations that had huge amounts invested in wireless mics, which the FCC just arbitrarily stole the bandwidth from the public and re-sold it to a private party, making them illegal to use. There was no just compensation.
 
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Oct 22, 2014
15,785
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
This is not a new unexperienced phenomenon.

The agency’s questioning the FCC have historically accurate experience with signal degradation occurring at the fringes of the bands. With so much hardware out there, operating within the bandwidth allocation, another transmitter places a risk on present users. Proof needs to be provided by the applicant. Proof! Not we’ll be inside our band unless something happens and we have to give our signal a temporary boost.

This is not like TV stations giving the transmitter an xtra 100 watts and creating fuzz to the outlying customers. It is the difference between that 40 year old freighter with their original GPS chart plotter being inside the shipping lane or 100 yards south heading for the granite reef.
 
May 17, 2004
3,420
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
Build prototypes and test them.
Some of the concern could be that the prototypes might not reflect the behavior of real world devices. It sounds like the band being licensed itself would not overlap with GPS, but is close enough that imprecise tuning could spread out into those areas. So it’s possible that test/prototype devices could be built with high quality filters to keep the transmission narrow, then the real devices with more cost saving measures spread more. I would expect that the FCC could come back in if the spread is too big, but by then it’s pretty late.
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,715
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Some of the concern could be that the prototypes might not reflect the behavior of real world devices. It sounds like the band being licensed itself would not overlap with GPS, but is close enough that imprecise tuning could spread out into those areas. So it’s possible that test/prototype devices could be built with high quality filters to keep the transmission narrow, then the real devices with more cost saving measures spread more. I would expect that the FCC could come back in if the spread is too big, but by then it’s pretty late.
My experience with testing and scientific inquiry is derived from understanding human behavior not the physics of rf propagation, however the basic principles are likely the same. Develop an idea, test it under ideal circumstances, and then generalize it to other settings and conditions.

The initial testing is likely done with up to date equipment in ideal settings, if it works then, then expand the program. How does it work under various weather conditions? What equipment works and what doesn't work? What happens if the system is loaded up with users? And probably many more questions and conditions that I can't conceive of.

The consequences of making a mistake need to be considered. If the system is going to just mess up a few garage door openers, its not all that critical. However, if it can interfere with essential gps functions, then that is a much more serious concern and deserves more scrutiny.

Lockheed-Martin has a large research and engineering facility down the road from me. A few years back they were working mobile radar units for the military. In their large parking lot there would often be a half dozen or so mobile radar units in operation. Friends who work there couldn't talk much about their work, but it was pretty clear the units were being tested. Conveniently, the facility is located beneath the final approach to the Syracuse airport.
 

CarlN

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Jan 4, 2009
577
Ketch 55 Bristol, RI
This all started when LightSquared (who went bankrupt and emerged as Ligado) bought a frequency licensed for low power earth to satellite communications with a ridiculous plan to use it for high power LTE communications. The frequency was restricted to low power by the FCC because it was right beside the critical GPS frequency. They could have bought a frequency meant for high power transmissions (like Verizon and ATT do) - but low power frequencies are cheap - it saved them a bundle of money. They bought the frequency knowing the designation but have been trying to get it changed for a decade through political pressure. It's like buying a small house lot on a wetland and then insisting that the town zoning board change the zoning to allow a 10,000 sq/ft mansion. Lots of evidence exists of the interference. There is a filing with the FCC in January 2011 by Garmin who tested the system and found that "widespread, severe GPS jamming will occur" if LightSquared's plans were approved." (see Expedia under LightSpeed for the links) Now, no one - not even Ligado - argues that Ligado's transmitters won't impact older GPS receivers. Their claim is that the jamming wont' be too severe and anyone who wants accurate GPS can buy new GPS units that have a hardware fix to reduce (but not eliminate) Ligado interference. The question remains why all of us have to spend money on new GPS equipment so that Ligado can make a huge profit on their frequency.
 
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Jan 11, 2014
7,715
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
This all started when LightSquared (who went bankrupt and emerged as Legado) bought a frequency licensed for low power earth to satellite communications with a ridiculous plan to use it for high power LTE communications. The frequency was restricted to low power by the FCC because it was right beside the critical GPS frequency. They could have bought a frequency meant for high power transmissions (like Verizon and ATT do) - but low power frequencies are cheap - it saved them a bundle of money. They bought the frequency knowing the designation but have been trying to get it changed for a decade through political pressure. It's like buying a small house lot on a wetland and then insisting that the town zoning board change the zoning to allow a 10,000 sq/ft mansion. Lots of evidence exists of the interference. There is a filing with the FCC in January 2011 by Garmin who tested the system and found that "widespread, severe GPS jamming will occur" if LightSquared's plans were approved." (see Expedia under LightSpeed for the links) Now, no one - not even Ligado - argues that Ligado's transmitters won't impact older GPS receivers. Their claim is that the jamming wont' be too severe and anyone who wants accurate GPS can buy new GPS units that have a hardware fix to reduce (but not eliminate) Ligado interference. The question remains why all of us have to spend money on new GPS equipment so that Ligado can make a huge profit on their frequency.
Thank you for clearing up the history. In the FCC license Ligado is required to replace any government GPS that is affected. However, no one knows what that number could be. It may well be more than the company could afford.
 
Oct 29, 2016
1,765
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
Besides all this wonderful discussion, I really want to know who in congress is getting their pockets lined, because you know this is happening, why else would they ignore all the concerns and warning and stick with what was once a defunked company.........
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,715
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
In a few of the articles I read, it appeared a few representatives from both parties were not happy with the decision. One does have to wonder about Ajit Pai's future and where he might become employed.
 

CarlN

.
Jan 4, 2009
577
Ketch 55 Bristol, RI
Thank you for clearing up the history. In the FCC license Ligado is required to replace any government GPS that is affected. However, no one knows what that number could be. It may well be more than the company could afford.
The US is not going to have a problem if it doesn't get another 5G vendor.

But I expect Ligado will do exactly that - go to the FCC with a long sob story about how they can't afford this onerous requirement and it's unfair for the FCC to hold them strictly to the terms of the license they accepted as they just realized it will put them out of business - for a 2nd time.

Hopefully, the new FCC commissioners will tell them to "pound sand".

And hopefully Ligado's Congressional lap dogs (in both parties) who have likely profited from uber campaign donations over the last decade - will think twice before going up against an angry Pentagon.
 
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Feb 2, 2010
356
Island Packet 37 Hull #2 Harpswell Me
I do not understand why it will affect GPS.

Here are the GPS frequency plans and note it is the "M-Code" which is new, not the GPS codes we use for navigation.
GPS Signal Plan - Navipedia

America's 5G Future
Jim...
GPS signals are extremely weak, therefore any signal close by will have a spillover effect. I am just surprised with the number of interested government agencies, DOD being the major one that this was allowed to proceed, it had been knocked back once before.
 
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Mar 20, 2004
1,657
Hunter 356 and 216 Portland, ME
For a little more insight:



When there is bipartisan concern in congress about the decision you gotta be suspicious.
I agree with Dave; I used to work with the DoD and GPS satellite connectivity and signal accuracy is critical
for many DoD systems, not just navigation but weapons accuracy and communications. Heck, even artillery shells are GPS guided now, not just missiles.
 
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