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Jan 25, 2006

Commerce Dept. Announces Plans For GPS Upgrade

Addressing the U.S. Chamber Media Forum today, Deputy Commerce Secretary David A. Sampson announced plans for a major upgrade of the United State's Global Positioning System (GPS) service.

The highlights of his speech were:

L2C Signal
Deputy Secretary Sampson officially announced a new signal, L2C. This signal is broadcast on the latest generation satellite that was declared operational in December. The L2C signal, was specifically designed with commercial needs in mind. It is more reliable and more powerful to allow receivers to work better in urban areas and indoors. It also requires less energy to receive the signal, which is an important feature for devices such as cellphones. L2C is broadcast at the same radio frequency already used by many users for high precision work, such as land surveyors.

A Third Signal
It was also announced that the United States plans to add a third civilian GPS signal. This signal will be designed to meet the needs of airlines and other "safety-of-life" transportation, and will include an exclusive radio band, higher power, and greater bandwidth. The government also plans to integrate it into the national transportation system.

A Fourth Signal
Deputy Secretary Sampson also said that the U.S. has begun work on a fourth signal. Plans call for the fourth signal to augment the original L1 signal. The U.S. plans to work with Europe, Japan, Russia, and other countries to make this signal an open, international standard.

A Commitment To The Future
The deputy secretary stated that the Bush Administration is committed to providing GPS to the world. That the U.S. intends to continue policies designed to promote commercial uses of GPS, and to constantly upgrade the system.

Perhaps mindful of the coming competition among satellite navigation systems, he concluded by saying of the government's plans, "... this will keep American technology at the center of innovation and will fuel the engine of global economic growth and opportunity."

Deputy Secretary Sampson's complete speech can be read here.