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FCC Approves Use of Galileo Global Navigation Satellite System in the US

11/16/2018

The FCC has granted, in part, the European Commission’s request for a waiver of Commission rules so that non-federal devices in the US may access specific signals transmitted from the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) known as Galileo.

The action means that consumers and industry in the US may access certain satellite signals from the Galileo system to augment the US Global Positioning System (GPS). The Order approved finds that the Galileo GNSS is uniquely situated with respect to the US GPS, since 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 transmitted in the 1,559 – 1,591 MHz portion of the 1,559 – 1,610 MHz Radionavigation-Satellite Service (RNSS) band, and the E5 signal transmitted in the 1,164 – 1,219 MHz portion of the 1,164 – 1,215 MHz and 1,215 – 1,240 MHz RNSS bands.

The Order does not grant access to the Galileo E6 signal, which is transmitted over the 1,260 – 1,300 MHz frequency band, since this band is not allocated for RNSS in the US or used by the US GPS to provide position/navigation/timing (PNT) services. The FCC pointed out that granting access to the Galileo E6 signal could constrain US spectrum management in the future in spectrum above 1,300 MHz, where potential allocation changes are under consideration.

The omission of the E6 signal also means that radio amateurs would not have to protect Galileo receivers from interference on 23 centimeters, which has been a significant issue in Europe.

 



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