FCC Allows U.S. Devices to Access Galileo Satellite System
Thursday, November 15, 2018 | Comments

The FCC granted in part the European Commission’s request for a waiver of the commission’s rules so that non-federal devices in the United States may access specific signals transmitted from the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) Galileo.

U.S. consumers and industry will now be permitted to access certain satellite signals from the Galileo system to augment the U.S. GPS and benefit from improved availability, reliability and resiliency of these position, navigation and timing (PNT) services in the United States, the FCC said.

Since the debut of the first consumer handheld GPS device in 1989, consumers and industry in the United States have relied on the U.S. GPS to support satellite-based PNT services, which are integral to everyday applications ranging from driving directions to 9-1-1 call location.

The order finds that the Galileo GNSS is uniquely situated as a foreign GNSS system with respect to the U.S. GPS because the two systems are interoperable and RF compatible pursuant to the 2004 European Union/United States Galileo-GPS Agreement. Specifically, the order permits access to two of the Galileo system’s satellite signals — the E1 signal that is transmitted in the 1.559-1.591 GHz portion of the 1.559-1.610 GHz radionavigation-satellite service (RNSS) frequency band and the E5 signal that is transmitted in the 1.164-1.219 GHz portion of the 1.164-1.215 GHz and 1.215-1.24 GHz RNSS bands. These are the same RNSS bands in which the U.S. GPS satellite signals operate.

The order does not grant access to the Galileo E6 signal, which is transmitted over the 1.260-1.3 GHz frequency band because that band is not allocated for RNSS in the United States or used by the U.S. GPS to provide PNT services. The FCC noted that granting access to the Galileo E6 signal could constrain U.S. spectrum management in the future in spectrum above 1.3 GHz, where potential allocation changes are under consideration.

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