TAG :: Toronto Area Geocachers » L1

Jan 13 2011

Here’s a developing story from the Groundspeak Forums. It seems that the Federal Communications Commission in the United States are going to allow a radio licencing change that could potentially affect the GPS L1 signal quality – the frequency used by civilian GPS units. In the efforts to increase mobile broadband internet capabilities, the proposal is to allow use of a frequency that is adjacent to the frequency used by L1. This could potentially result in signal interference, particularly in or near urban areas.

According to the discussion thread, the FCC is planning to skip on the lengthy consultation process and fast track this in next week. Will they? We don’t know. We do know that Garmin is rather concerned about LightSquared’s proposal (see the first post in the forum thread). Americans are being encouraged to file a complaint.

How will this affect a Toronto geocacher? Can’t really say for now. The FCC regulates radio frequency use in the United States, while in Canada this is handled by Industry Canada. Interference from terrestrial mobile broadband is unlikely to affect GPS users in Canada, except perhaps near border cities like Niagara Falls.