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December 21, 2011   Email to Friend 

FEDERAL STUDY REVEALS LIGHTSQUARED INTERFERES WITH GPS SIGNALS
Debra Davis
334-613-4686
December 21, 2011

Farmers depend on GPS equipment for accurate mapping of field boundaries, roads and irrigation systems, precision planting and targeting application of fertilizer.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- According to a joint report released by the Departments of Defense and Transportation, LightSquared, a proposed mobile Internet system, would interfere with most GPS signals.

Preliminary analysis of the test findings found no significant interference with cellular phones. The testing did show that LightSquared signals caused harmful interference to the majority of other tested general-purpose GPS receivers. AFBF submitted comments to the FCC in July urging the agency to ensure there is no interference with GPS receivers prior to granting LightSquared permission to operate its high-powered base stations.

In October, AFBF told Congress that the Federal Communications Commission and an independent technical company must complete comprehensive and rigorous testing on all proposed technical fixes to ensure there is no interference between broadband and GPS signals.

"It is critical that costs for resolving this issue are not passed along to farmers and ranchers through higher GPS or equipment costs," said AFBF President Bob Stallman. "LightSquared should cover the expense of all technical fixes related to the interference issue to ensure the cost is not passed along to farmers and ranchers."

Many farmers rely on GPS for precision agriculture. This includes using GPS for accurate mapping of field boundaries, roads and irrigation systems; for precision planting; and for targeting the application of fertilizer and chemicals that combat weeds and crop diseases. GPS also allows farmers to work in their fields despite low-visibility conditions such as rain, dust, fog and darkness.

"While the deployment of broadband services is important for economic development, better education and improved health services in rural America, the use of precision agriculture is vital to America's farmers and ranchers as they continue to feed, fuel and clothe the world," Stallman said.

AFBF submitted comments to the FCC in July urging the agency to ensure there is no interference with GPS receivers prior to granting LightSquared permission to operate its high-powered base stations.

The House Small Business Committee recently held a hearing to examine how the launch of LightSquared could affect small business owners who use GPS.


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