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Tue September 22 2020

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US construction faces GPS disruption

27 Jun 11 The USA’s Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has warned that GPS devices used in construction applications could be rendered useless under plans for new broadband internet systems.

AEM has called for government to stop the plans that would disrupt GPS signals. AEM president Dennis Slater called for Congress, transportation secretary Ray LaHood, and the Federal Communications Commission to stop the threat to US GPS posed by LightSquared, which is planning to deploy a nationwide broadband internet infrastructure of 40,000 ground stations.

“Not only would the ground stations very likely render commercial and private GPS signals unreliable and in some cases useless, but implementing LightSquared's plan would add unnecessary burdens to the USA economy,” said Slater.

A study just released by the Coalition to Save Our GPS found that more than 3.3 million jobs depend on GPS technology and the direct economic cost to US commercial GPS users and manufacturers could be US$96bn (£60bn).

“In construction equipment manufacturing we are still recovering from the severe downturn of 2008-2009 and additional trouble for our industry is at best unwelcome,” said Slater.

In a letter to LaHood, the Transportation Construction Coalition coalition said: “Increasingly, the technology is used to map and survey construction sites including the location of buried and overhead utilities, facilitate precision grading and enhance material application. It is also used to prevent theft of construction equipment, and provide real-time monitoring for equipment maintenance. This GPS technology helps improve worker safety, reduces project delays, reduces fuel consumption and produces a more efficient worksite. Any interference with these signals would be extremely disruptive to the many benefits GPS has brought to construction sites.”
 

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