Sunday, March 18, 2012

FCC Looking for Comment on U.S. Use of Galileo Signals


Since Europe’s Galileo system went live in December, the satellites have been transmitting navigational signals all across the world with only a few difficulties (such as clock malfunctions). And, now that the system is in the first stage of operability, it looks like the United States government is finally taking notice.

Last week, the FCC submitted a public notice that it is looking for comments on possibly waiving the licensing requirements for the use of Galileo in the United States. Currently, it is illegal to use other nations’ satellite systems in the United States without the sat-nav owner (the country who owns the system) applying for a license through the FCC. According to the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation blog, Europe applied in 2012 and the government is just now getting around to actually looking at the application.

Personally, I think that giving Europe permission to have its signals used in the United States would be a great thing. It doesn’t take a huge understanding of satellites or navigational signals to understand that the more signals that a device can access, the better its accuracy will be. And, interestingly enough, many high-end phones sold in the United States actually already have the capability to access multiple satellite systems, although whether or not they do is kind of up for argument.

If you want to submit your thoughts and comments, complete the following steps:

  1. Go to the FCC filings page
  2. In the “Proceedings” box, enter 17-16 to make sure it gets attached to the right docket
  3. Add your contact information and comments
  4. Select “Continue to Review Screen”
  5. Complete your filing

The FCC will be accepting public comments until February 21, 2017 and will reply to the comments by mid March. If you want to read the proposal and request for comment, click here. The PDF is filled with lots of technical information that may not actually be useful for the average consumer, but I highly recommend reading the Overview (which starts on page 3) at the least.

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