“Over the past decade, the Global Positioning System has grown into a global utility whose multi-use services are integral to U.S. national security, economic growth, transportation safety, and homeland security, and are an essential element of the worldwide economic infrastructure.”

This excerpt from the President’s Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) policy document echoes the NAM’s position on GPS technology. This policy has been in effect since 2004 and is part of our country’s National Space Policy.    

Why does this matter to manufacturers? One major reason is that NAM members increasingly rely on an unrestricted GPS for a variety of applications and functions essential to safety and competitiveness.

Another reason manufacturers should take note – the next meeting of the National Space-Based PNT Advisory Board is Wednesday, November 9th in Alexandria, VA. This is a federal advisory committee made up of experts from academia and industry to advise the U.S. government on PNT policy. One of the discussions that should be a highlight of the meeting is a panel on GPS technology and the potential interference issues those signals may face if a company called LightSquared launches its broadband network. The effects of such interference could be wide-ranging and put jobs at risk. In fact, the NAM filed comments with the FCC in March and August on this issue expressing our concern on behalf of all manufacturers.

This meeting is open to the public. If you are in the Washington D.C. area and happen to be a manufacturer that relies on GPS technology, you might want to stop by and check it out.

Brian Raymond is the Director of Technology Policy for the NAM.