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Air Force to Cease GPS Operations by Next Year in favor of New Tech

(AP) Washington DC 01-Apr-2011 --- Air Force satellite and GPS command operations complex General James Ukiah, announced that the end of all GPS operations by December of 2012 is now scheduled.  The proliferation of cell phones and cell phone towers has rendered much of the now aging GPS system antiquated. Almost all modern cell and smartphones are capable of triangulting a precise location based on  distance from as few as 3 cell towers. Ukiah said that discussions with telecommunications companies over the past 5 years has revealed that by December of 2012, there will be a sufficient number of cell towers worldwide to provide location data to at least 97% of the earth.

Air Force officials were quick to point out that ceasing GPS operations will also save taxpayers in excess of 14.1 billion dollars per year. "At a time of record budget deficts this decision just makes good fiscal sense" said Jerry Hawkins of the independant congressional examiners office. It is also possible that the GPS satellites and ground data stations could be sold to private companies for addtional profit.  The estimated value of the existing satellites, operation centers and other hardware is estimated to be in excess of $21 billion.

"The transition will be difficult for certain users but is a necessary change for the better" said General Ukiah during the announcement at a Washington DC press event. "Since virtually all Americans already own a cellular device, the expense of buying new receivers is virtually nil" added Staff Sergeant Amos Largo. Several of the larger GPS receiver manufactures are already prepared to offer a simple electronic upgrade to all existing car and handheld GPS units. It is expected that congress will authorize a new $100.8 million dollar program to offer coupons to make the upgrades virtually free to consumers. The upgrades will allow precise location data to be calculated from proximity to cellular phone towers.

At least one company based in Seattle has expressed interest in purchasing the current assests for the satellite system. Spokesperson Jermey Irish declined, however to name the potential purchaser. He did however, mention that the unnamed entity has a large userbase for financing.

More information about this change can be found at the Air Force Command Center website.

---filed a2b1

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