Legislation Related to LightSquared Interference

This page lists various pieces of legislation proposed/passed in 2011-2014 to address GPS interference concerns related to LightSquared's terrestrial "4G" wireless network.

Learn more about LightSquared interference to GPS

We publish this page for informational purposes only, as it may be of interest to the GPS community. Except where explicitly noted, the executive branch of the U.S. government does not endorse any pending legislation mentioned on GPS.gov.

Some links on this page lead to content in the Portable Document Format (PDF) and may require you to install PDF software. Get software

New Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014

Section 625 of Division E prohibits the FCC from using FY 2014 funds to remove the conditions in LightSquared's January 2011 authorization, or to otherwise permit commercial LightSquared operations, until the FCC has resolved GPS interference concerns. The FY 2012 omnibus act included the same provision (See below), which was extended to FY 2013.

arrowReturn to top of page

Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2013

The House appropriations committee's June 26, 2012, report on the above-titled bill includes the following text, which refers to the FCC's pending decision on the LightSquared matter.

"The Committee supports the actions proposed in the FCC's Public Notice released on February 15, 2012 in IB Docket No. 11-109 (DA 12-214) and urges their prompt adoption. The Committee has previously expressed concern about the potential impact on Global Positioning Systems (GPS) of planned terrestrial broadband operations in the L Band. However, the Committee encourages the FCC to work with the licensee to provide other spectrum to deploy broadband services while heeding previous concerns regarding potential interference to commercially available GPS devices. In fiscal year 2012, the Committee restricted the FCC from using funds to allow for the operation of a terrestrial broadband network in the L Band until potential interference issues could be resolved. The Committee is pleased that the FCC continues to engage in a thorough examination of this issue. The Committee will continue to monitor the FCC's consideration of future licenses and waivers and remains concerned about the impact on GPS functionality of terrestrial broadband networks in the L Band." (View source)

The bill went no further than the House committee (View bill info). The Senate version had no related provision.

The FCC received its FY 2013 funding through a continuing resolution (View law). The continuing resolution extended all conditions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012, on the use of FCC funds into FY 2013, including the LightSquared-related provision (see below).

arrowReturn to top of page

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012

On December 23, 2011, President Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2012, an omnibus spending measure that includes funding for the FCC.

Section 628 of Division C prohibits the FCC from using FY 2012 funds to remove the conditions in LightSquared's January 2011 authorization, or to otherwise permit commercial LightSquared operations, until the FCC has resolved GPS interference concerns.

This provision remained in effect during FY 2013 under the terms of the continuing resolution for FY 2013. (see above).

Legislative History

<-- Drag table to scroll -->
House
Subcommittee
House
Committee
House
Floor
House-Senate
Conference
Committee
House
Floor
President
6/16/2011
H.R. 2434
6/23/2011
H.R. 2434
Skipped 12/16/2011
H.R. 2055
Senate
Subcommittee
Senate
Committee
Senate
Floor
12/15/2011
H.R. 2055
Senate
Floor
12/23/2011
Public Law 112-74
9/14/2011
S. 1573
9/15/2011
S. 1573
Skipped 12/17/2011
H.R. 2055

The omnibus measure includes the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2012. The provision related to LightSquared originated in Section 633 of the House version of that bill. (View bill, report language, and related press statement)

The Senate version of the Financial Services bill did not mention GPS.

arrowReturn to top of page

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

On December 31, 2011, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012.

Section 911(a) forbids the FCC from approving operations of the LightSquared terrestrial wireless network until the FCC has resolved concerns of widespread harmful interference to military GPS devices. It also requires a public comment period on the spring 2011 report of the LightSquared-GPS Technical Working Group.

Section 911(b) requires DoD to conduct a review every 90 days for the next two years on whether commercial communications services interfere with military GPS receivers, and to notify Congress if such is the case.

Learn about other GPS-related provisions in the defense authorization on the FY 2012 Program Funding page. Go there...

Legislative History

<-- Drag table to scroll -->
House
Subcommittee
House
Committee
House
Floor
House-Senate
Conference
Committee
House
Floor
President
5/4/2011
H.R. 1540
5/11/2011
H.R. 1540
5/26/2011
H.R. 1540
12/14/2011
H.R. 1540
Senate
Subcommittee
Senate
Committee
Senate
Floor
12/12/2011
H.R. 1540
Senate
Floor
12/31/2011
Public Law 112-81
6/14/2011
S. 1253
6/16/2011
S. 1253
12/1/2011
S. 1867
12/15/2011
H.R. 1540

The original House bill simply required congressional notification of GPS interference from commercial communication systems (View source). The report to accompany that version highlighted concerns about potential GPS interference and suggested, "the FCC should indefinitely postpone final decision [on approval of LightSquared operations] until the harmful interference issue has been resolved, with the full coordination and approval of the Department of Defense." (View source)

The House later amended its bill to include the requirements found in Section 911(a) of the final act. (View source)

The Senate version included the provisions found in Section 911(b) of the final act. (View bill text and report language).

arrowReturn to top of page

Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012

On November 18, 2011, President Obama signed the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2012. The signed act includes no provisions related to LightSquared-GPS interference.

The House-Senate conference report to accompany the act includes a reporting requirement concerning the LightSquared-GPS Technical Working Group. The conferees direct the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to provide a report within 60 days based on the following guidance from the House Appropriations Committee:

"The Committee is aware that NTIA and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are in the midst of a regulatory process with respect to the Global Positioning System and that a technical working group is reviewing potential interference issues. NTIA is directed to report to the Committee following completion of the technical working group activities, but no later than August 1, 2011, regarding the discoveries of this technical working group and the scientific steps necessary to address any potential interference concerns." (View source)

Legislative History

This mini-omnibus ("minibus") spending act consolidates multiple appropriations bills. Two of the component bills contained LightSquared-related provisions in earlier versions.

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012

<-- Drag table to scroll -->
House
Subcommittee
House
Committee
House
Floor
House-Senate
Conference
Committee
House
Floor
President
7/7/2011
H.R. 2596
7/13/2011
H.R. 2596
Skipped 11/17/2011
H.R. 2112
Senate
Subcommittee
Senate
Committee
Senate
Floor
11/14/2011
H.R. 2112
Senate
Floor
11/18/2011
Public Law 112-55
9/14/2011
S. 1572
9/15/2011
S. 1572
11/1/2011
H.R. 2112
11/17/2011
H.R. 2112

The NTIA reporting requirement originated with the House version of this bill.

Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012

<-- Drag table to scroll -->
House
Subcommittee
House
Committee
House
Floor
House-Senate
Conference
Committee
House
Floor
President
5/24/2011
H.R. 2112
5/31/2011
H.R. 2112
6/16/2011
H.R. 2112
11/17/2011
H.R. 2112
Senate
Subcommittee
Senate
Committee
Senate
Floor
11/14/2011
H.R. 2112
Senate
Floor
11/18/2011
Public Law 112-55
N/A 9/7/2011
H.R. 2112
11/1/2011
H.R. 2112
11/17/2011
H.R. 2112

The House report to accompany the original agriculture bill notes the criticality of GPS to USDA and to U.S. farmers and ranchers. The language directs USDA to ensure the FCC is aware of the agricultural concerns about LightSquared-GPS interference, and to work with DoD, DOT, and other agencies to address them (View source). The Senate did not include equivalent language.

arrowReturn to top of page

Actions: