NTIA report acknowledges interference

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration concluded that interference problems exist between ultra-wideband signals and the Global Positioning System, but in its long-awaited report released March 9, NTIA made no recommendations on what to do.

NTIA will make policy recommendations on the use of ultra-wideband technologies, but only after hearing from agencies with a stake in its application, including the departments of Transportation and Defense.

Both agencies have stated concerns that ultra-wideband could interfere with GPS, a satellite-based navigation system that is increasingly at the heart of aviation, locator and even medical tracking technologies.

Joe Canny, deputy assistant secretary for navigation systems policy at DOT, called the March 9 report "a good product."

"I think what the results show is that for many kinds of ultra-wideband broadcast signals, the signals can cause interference with the GPS and some other signals, as well," Canny said. "It's a complex picture—some ultra-wideband signals seem to be quite benign relative to the GPS and aviation systems."

He said it will require some "careful assessment" to determine how ultra-wideband may be used over different frequencies.

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