FCC Ruling Boosts Positioning Accuracy

FCC Ruling Boosts Positioning Accuracy
U.S. smartphone owners can now connect to Europe's Galileo as an alternative to the U.S.-operated GPS service.

(CCM) — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has made a ruling that will allow smartphone users to know exactly where they are more quickly and more accurately.

Until now the FCC has said that smartphones are not allowed to connect to satellites owned by foreign countries, to avoid the risk that these countries could cripple systems which rely on that connection by turning them off.

But now the FCC has given the green light for U.S. smartphones to connect to the European Galileo global positioning system for position, navigation, and timing services as well as to the U.S.'s own GPS satellites, according to a Techspot report.

Since smartphones now have significantly more satellites to connect to, this will make it much more likely that they can get an accurate position fix more quickly in densely packed cities or in remote areas, the report says.

Most smartphones such as Apple's iPhones and Samsung's Galaxy devices sold in the U.S. already have the hardware needed to connect to Galileo. But they will require a software update from the manufacturer to enable support for two of the three radio bands that Galileo requires for connections.

Galileo first came online in 2016 and operates 26 satellites to provide its service. This is due to be increased to 30 satellites in the near future.

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