This chapter discusses institutional and legal issues that can affect how GPS signals and signal augmentations are provided, including alternatives for managing and funding these services. It first identifies the basic institutional capabilities necessary for managing, operating, and funding GPS and uses them to define criteria for assessing management and funding options. It then assesses a range of institutional arrangements for GPS that address possible funding and cost-recovery mechanisms. It also addresses recurring themes -- often presented as criteria for preferring one set of options to others -- in GPS policy debates, and attempts to inform the debate with relevant legal and historical background. This chapter provides a framework for thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of the various institutional options and clarifies terms in the policy debate.
Here, we assume that the domestic benefits of making GPS available for nonmilitary uses exceed the risks of misuses of GPS and the cost of countermeasures against the misuse of, or interference with, GPS signals by terrorists, smugglers, or hostile military forces. These countermeasures could conceivably include converting the GPS system to one with greater control over usage or access. Today, the only barrier to the use of the GPS Standard Positioning Service is the retail-taxed price of GPS receivers. Although it might seem that the marginal cost of delivering GPS to any new user in its broadcast range is zero (like any radio broadcast), the expanding use of GPS can create additional costs and risks in the need to protect GPS signals that are not reflected in current equipment prices. A larger percentage of the benefits that are derived from GPS might need to be devoted to ensuring the continued reliability of ISPSdependent systems, whether through taxes, fees, or private investments.
As policymakers evaluate the implications of increasing civil, commercial, and military uses of GPS, institutional questions on its future can be reduced to two