View Header


Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release January 25, 1999
            Initiative Would Make Global Positioning System 
                   More Accessible to Civilian Users

Washington, DC -- Vice President Gore announced today a $400 million new initiative in the President's balanced budget that will modernize the Global Positioning System (GPS) and will add two new civil signals to future GPS satellites, significantly enhancing the service provided to civil, commercial, and scientific users worldwide.

"The United States is proud to be a leader in the development of the Global Positioning System -- a wonderful example of how technology is benefiting our citizens and people around the world," Vice President Gore said. "This initiative represents a major milestone in the evolution of GPS as a global information utility, and will help us realize the full benefits of this technology in the next millennium."

This initiative is only the most recent step in an ongoing public-private effort to make GPS more responsive to the needs of civilian users worldwide. National and regional GPS-based networks are now being created by governments and industry around the world to help guide everything from planes, trains, ships, and cars to tractors, snowplows, earthmovers, and mining equipment.

As announced by Vice President Gore last March, the second civil signal will be located at 1227.60 MHZ along with the current military signal, and will be available for general use in non-safety-critical applications. The President's Budget supports implementing this new signal on the satellites scheduled for launch beginning in 2003.

Key to the overall modernization initiative was a recent White House decision on the frequency for a third civil signal that can meet the needs of critical safety-of-life applications such as civil aviation. The third civil signal will be located at 1176.45 MHZ, within a portion of the spectrum that is allocated internationally for aeronautical radio navigation services, and will be implemented beginning with a satellite scheduled for launch in 2005. This initiative will cost $400 million over six years. The date that new services will be available to users will depend on the actual launch dates, orbiting sufficient numbers of satellites to provide useful services, and maintaining operational capabilities.

When combined with the current civil signal at 1575.42 MHZ, the new signals will significantly improve the robustness and reliability of GPS for civil users, and will enable unprecedented real-time determination of highly accurate position location anywhere on Earth. This new capability will spur new applications for GPS, further expanding the rapidly growing market for GPS equipment and services worldwide.