Aug 2014 | No Comment

$34.9M fine by FCC for jammer marketing

The Federal Communications Commission, USA plans to issue the largest fine in its history against C.T.S. Technology Co., Limited, a Chinese electronics manufacturer and online retailer, for allegedly marketing 285 models of signal jamming devices to U.S. consumers for more than two years. The FCC applied the maximum fine allowed to each jammer model allegedly marketed by C.T.S., resulting in a planned fine of $34,912,500. “All companies, whether domestic or foreign, are banned from marketing illegal jammers in the U.S.,” said Travis LeBlanc, Acting Chief of the Enforcement Bureau. C.T.S. operates a website that markets consumer electronics to individuals in the United States, where it allegedly misled U.S. consumers by falsely claiming that certain signal jammers were approved by the FCC. In fact, the use of such devices by U.S. consumers is illegal under any circumstance.

Putin orders development of road map for establishing state OJSC GLONASS

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to draft and approve a road map on establishing state OJSC GLONASS with 100 percent state participation – the relevant presidential order has been posted on the Kremlin website. Concurrently, the government has been instructed to devise a development strategy for OJSC GLONASS, as well as prepare and submit to the State Duma changes to the law “On the state automatic information system, ERA-GLONASS,” that are necessary for setting up, and functioning of, the joint-stock company.

The Cabinet has been instructed to outline the new company’s main objectives that would include ensuring prompt receipts, thanks to the use of a satellite signal, “of information about road traffic and other incidents on Russian motorways.” OJSC GLONASS should also process, store and transfer such information to emergency services and ensure access to such information in accordance with the Russian laws.

Russia keen on putting GLONASS stations in Alaska

Russia has offered the United States its GLONASS station for differential correction and monitoring to be placed on the Alaskan coast opposite Russia’s Chukotka peninsula, according to Russian Space Systems’ General Director Gennady Raikunov. The Russian system for differential correction and monitoring (SDKM) for mapping vertical and ionospheric delays and information on the integrity of navigation signals from global satellite navigation systems in Russia necessitates SDKM data-collecting stations to be placed abroad, including, as an option, a station in the U.S., in the city of Teller in Alaska,” Raikunov said, commenting on the desirable location for the Russian ground system GLONASS. Earlier the U.S. refused to host Russia’s GLONASS, citing national security concerns.

Russian GLONASS to boost yield capacity by 50%

Deployment of GLONASS satellite navigation systems to the BRICS states is very promising, the technologies allow to boost yield capacity up to 50 percent, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the plenary session of the BRICS summit.

“The joint implementation of the Russian global navigation systems GLONASS looks very promising in a whole range of spheres: transportation, national security and even agricultural industry, where GLONASS technologies, according to the experts’ estimates, allow to boost yield capacity by 30-50 percent,” Putin said.

Russia plans to place three GLONASS ground stations in China

Russia is set to sign an agreement this year with China to place three GLONASS ground stations on the territory of China and three Chinese stations in Russia accordingly. These navigation systems operate well together, with BeiDou, launched in 2012, envisaging the operation of 35 satellites and GLONASS orbital grouping including and four satellites in orbital reserve and 24 in routine operation.

Alibaba locates potential in Beidou system

E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is set to join with the country’s largest defense equipment manufacturer to promote the Beidou satellite navigation system for civilian use, insiders said.

Numerous reports on said the cash-flush Alibaba Group has added to its latest investment spree by inking a deal with State-owned China North Industries Group Corp for a joint venture based on the Beidou system. Alibaba’s latest move is expected to boost the civil use of the Beidou system, said Cao Chong, an expert with the GNSS and LBSAssociation of China.

Harbinger Sues U.S. Government over LightSquared

Harbinger Capital Partners, a hedge fund controlled by Phil Falcone that acted as the primary financial backer of LightSquared, is suing the United States government over the failure of the proposed terrestrial broadband wireless network that would have broadcast in RF spectrum adjacent to GNSS L1 frequencies.

The complaint, filed on July 11, 2014 in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., asserts that Harbinger entered into a “contract” with the FCC whereby the firm would be allowed to purchase the company SkyTerra, in which it had a partial stake, and use its frequencies to support a new nationwide broadband network that Harbinger would pay to build.

The FCC sought to support certain policy goals through the arrangement and set a number of terms and conditions in the agreement to support that end. Harbinger alleges the government then reneged upon the deal after Harbinger had spent almost $1.9 billion of its own funds to meet the terms.

First Satellite Masters Conference set to launch in Berlin

The first Satellite Masters Conference will provide a unique marketplace for sharing innovations based on satellite navigation and Earth observation capabilities and connecting with the world’s leading network for downstream satellite business.

The conference is being organised by Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO) and will be hosted by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) in Berlin from 23 – 24 October 2014.

The Satellite Masters Conference is geared toward all those looking to benefit from the emerging satellite applications market, from start-ups, SMEs, and researchers to investors, institutional stakeholders, and members of industry.

France Uncertain About Adopting Galileo’s Encrypted Service

The French government is not yet convinced that the encrypted, governmentonly signal to be carried on Europe’s Galileo positioning, navigation and timing satellites will be secure enough to permit its wide adoption by French defense forces, the head of the French arms procurement agency, DGA, recently said. The French position, outlined even as the U.S. military prepares to make wide use of Galileo alongside the U.S. GPS constellation, suggests that what remains one of Galileo’s most promising domestic markets — European militaries — has not yet been fully won over.

“We are looking for a strategic autonomy in positioning and timing,” DGA chief Laurent Collet-Billon said in July 1 remarks to the French Senate at a hearing on space policy. “In this case we need guarantees of robust security for defense, equivalent to the GPS [military] code. For PRS, the production controls and the export controls need to cover the security needs of the member nations.”

PRS, or Public Regulated Service, is the Galileo equivalent to the GPS military-code signal, which is available to NATO member nations.

After an initial argument, notably between France and the United States, on what frequencies would be used by PRS relative to the GPS M-code, PRS is now using frequencies that do not overlap the M-code and thus offer a backup in the event that GPS signals were knocked out in a conflict zone.

Australia’s largest mapping project to mitigate floods

The Queensland State Government saved over A$99 million (US$94 million) in the largest Australian mapping project to mitigate fl ood by using GIS. The project’s success has caught the attention of the United Nations.

Queensland is mapping 630,200 kilometers of watercourse following the state’s devastating floods and cyclones in the past few years. “The aim was to produce maps that alerted councils to areas that are susceptible to fl ooding, ensuring appropriate preparation and mitigation strategies are in place,” said Andy Stewart, from the Land and Spatial Information unit at Department of Natural Resources & Mines (DNRM).

Instead of using the traditional approach of floodplain mapping, which would have cost A$10,000 (US$9,500) per stream kilometre for a detailed fl ood study, it used “cutting-edge GIS technology to generate fi t for purpose flood maps based on a range of existing datasets,” said Stewart. “Instead of the project costing $100 million and taking a decade, we created 8,875 maps at one dollar per stream kilometre in seven months – keeping the entire cost under AU$1 million (US$950,000),” he said.

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