FCC approves use of Galileo for non-federal official use

November 15, 2018  - By

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (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 Galileo signals. While private users were free to use the European GNSS, with this ruling entities such as telecommunications companies can now also use Galileo.

FCC logoWith today’s action, consumers and industry in the United States will now be permitted to access the E1 and E5 Galileo signals to augment GPS.

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 positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) services that are integral to everyday applications ranging from driving directions to precision farming.

The order, approved Nov. 15, finds that Galileo is uniquely situated as a foreign GNSS system with respect to the U.S. GPS, since the two systems are interoperable and radiofrequency 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 1559-1591 MHz portion of the 1559-1610 MHz Radionavigation-Satellite Service (RNSS) frequency band, and the E5 signal that is transmitted in the 1164-1219 MHz portion of the 1164-1215 MHz and 1215-1240 MHz 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 1260-1300 MHz frequency band, since this band is not allocated for RNSS in the United States or used by the U.S. GPS to provide PNT services.

The commission noted that granting access to the Galileo E6 signal could constrain U.S. spectrum management in the future in spectrum above 1300 MHz, where potential allocation changes are under consideration.