A company called LightSquared is trying to bring broadband and cellular service to rural America. That's a goal the American Farm Bureau Federation can support, but
Farm Bureau's Director of Congressional Relations R.J. Karney says the problem is that there could be interference between the signals GPS uses and LightSquared wants to use. He says that's an issue for agriculture because GPS and precision agriculture have added yield and profit over the years.
"GPS and the reliance on precision agriculture really has helped transform agriculture as an industry," Karney said. "And the profitability, the economic impact, the environmental impact, it's all encumbered within precision agriculture. That bottom line we feel will suffer should LightSquared be able to proceed without this interference solved."
Karney says LightSquared is attempting to resolve the issue and has recently proposed some possible solutions.
"Their proposed solutions really encompass about three options," Karney said. "They want to operate at a lower power, which could provide less interference with GPS. They also want to move to a lower portion of the frequency so it's not right up against the frequency that GPS uses. The third one is really trying to coordinate a working solution; they want to give themselves a few years to find a possible chip or something that could prevent this interference from occurring."
Karney says Farm Bureau does support the effort to deploy broadband services, but is asking the FCC to conduct a full review and scientific studies to ensure there is no interference.