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Can You Hear Me Now? New Spectrum Users Should Respect Long-Time Residents

September 14, 2015

Your doctor probably won’t be able to hear your heartbeat if there is a heavy metal band playing in the next office.

That’s the problem with transmitting on frequencies near GPS. All GPS and GNSS signals are so very, very faint, and receivers have to be so very, very sensitive to hear them, that it is easy, even if you don’t intend it, to drown things out. This came to a head when the company Lightsquared purchased such spectrum and then had its plans to use it disapproved by the FCC in 2012 because of concerns they would disrupt GPS services, potentially for millions.

Maintaining a “quiet neighborhood” is part of the Protect, Toughen and Augment (PTA) strategy for helping ensure continued viability of GPS.

The question is, though, just how quiet the neighborhood needs to be.

Last week the US Department of Transportation took a big step toward answering it. In a Federal Register Notice they requested comment on their Adjacent Band Compatibility test plan. Comments are due by October 9th.

It is an important effort, but looks to be another complex and expensive government study.

Maybe there is a simpler, common sense solution that would make sense to everyone.

New neighbors shouldn’t be any louder than the folks already living there.

So if the neighborhood is zoned for doctors’ offices and hospitals, make the heavy metal bands play somewhere else.