BoatUS urges feedback on GPS decision

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Although boaters view the Federal Communications Commission's recent vote to revoke approval of a new broadband telephone network shown to interfere with the country’s sole navigational system as positive news, BoatUS said, "We aren't out of the woods just yet."

The association is urging boat owners to continue to submit comments to the FCC by a Thursday deadline to ensure that the nation’s system of global positioning devices keeps boaters safely on course.

Last summer, more than 18,000 boaters, along with many other GPS users, wrote the FCC, asking it to stop plans by LightSquared, the builder of the proposed broadband network, until independent tests proved there would be no interference with GPS devices, which operate on adjacent frequencies.

“Despite the great news … that the FCC has acknowledged interference issues with the LightSquared proposal, we’re not ready to declare a victory,” BoatUS president Margaret Podlich said in a statement. “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.”

Here is how to file comments to the FCC through their online comment form:

1. Click on this link for the FCC’s Electronic Comments Filing System.

2. Select “Proceeding Number 11-109.”

3. Enter contact information.

4. In the box that says “Type in or paste your brief comments,” here’s some points to select from:

* Explain how 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 of the studies show that LightSquared’s proposed network would cause interference and that there are no remedies.

5. Click “Continue.”

6. If the review page is correct, click “Confirm.”

If you have any trouble, you can contact the FCC ECFS Helpdesk at (202) 418-0193 or e-mail ecfshelp@fcc.gov.

Soundings Trade Only editor in chief Bill Sisson wrote about the FCC's decision on LightSquared in his blog, A View From Here, last Wednesday. Click here to read his post: "A victory for all who rely on GPS."

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