Today the FCC approved the use of Galileo navigation satellites in the United States. According to gps.gov,

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules require licensing of non-federal receive-only equipment operating with foreign satellite systems, including receive-only earth stations operating with non-U.S. licensed radionavigation-satellite service (RNSS) satellites.

. The FCC apparently waived the above at the EU's request. However,

  1. GLONASS has been widely used in the U.S. for several years without going through this process. The FCC seems unconcerned by this and is certainly not issuing fines, injunctions, etc. in response.
  2. A few phones (e.g. the Samsung Galaxy S9) already supported Galileo signals, apparently including their U.S. versions.

Given the above, what is the practical impact of today's ruling? Is receiving GLONASS signals technically illegal despite the complete lack of enforcement? Why did the EU seek this waiver when these FCC rules seem to have no impact on GLONASS usage in the U.S.?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Vince, ahmadhanb, Jochen Schwarze, whyzar, Mark Ireland Nov 16 '18 at 15:37

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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I found this article, which seems to suggest that granting this waiver ensures that the FCC will 'protect' the relevant frequencies. Ligado has been proposing using nearby frequencies for terrestrial networking, and their deployment would now be prevented if they are found to interfere with the Galileo E1 and E5 signals. Perhaps use of un-waivered RNSS is not 'illegal' but also not guaranteed to work tomorrow?


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