There’s a whole world of radio frequencies and space-based signals that most of us don’t care to know much about. But when it comes to our cell phones and GPS units, what we don’t know may just hurt us… or at least hurt our ability to find the nearest fast food restaurant.
Translogic reports a signal conflict between a Reston, VA 4G network by a company called LightSquared and the GPS systems that we’ve come to rely on could be a very bad thing. Opponents ranging from GPS makers to the U.S. military object to the LightSquared network, which is said to have too close a signal to GPS signals. And since GPS is satellite-only and the 4G system will use both satellites and thousands of local towers, the 4G service could drown out GPS signals. Without GPS, the military, first responders and trucking companies could have a difficult time serving, saving and monitoring, which could endanger lives. That’s not good.
LightSquared is reportedly saying the two systems can both work together, and the company has the Federal Communications Commission on its side. For the near term, though, government officials have reportedly told the Associated Press that LightSquared systems won’t be turned on until there are assurances that GPS signals won’t be lost.