The House Appropriations Committee has waded into the controversy surrounding LightSquared's efforts to deploy its wireless broadband network and concerns that it will interfere with the use of global positioning systems used by both the government and private sector.
The committee Thursday adopted an amendment to the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bill for the Federal Communications Commission that would bar the agency from allowing LightSquared or any other broadband provider to move forward with a service that would interfere with GPS services.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing on the issue Thursday to examine concerns that LightSquared's proposed service will interfere with GPS systems used by the Coast Guard, Defense and Transportation departments and others.
"We must ensure that before any final approval is granted those concerns of possible harmful interference to GPS are completely addressed," Rep. Steve Austria, R-Ohio, who authored the amendment to the appropriations bill, said in a statement. "This amendment does not prohibit expanding broadband services, but ensures it is done in a responsible manner and does not interfere with existing GPS technology that we depend on each day."
The bill including the amendment must still pass the House and it's unclear whether the Senate will include a similar proposal in its version of the spending bill.
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