Over the years, GPS and technology have evolved exponentially. For farmers, GPS makes precision farming possible – the efficiency and increased productivity it enables is the key to farmers’ survival in this global market and to helping feed a growing world population.
A 2004 study by Purdue University found that using high-accuracy GPS enables a farmer to work 17 percent fewer hours, use less fuel and crop inputs, and attend more of the kids’ soccer games. Altogether, precision ag adds nearly $20 billion of value to American farmers each year.
LightSquared wants to operate high-speed broadband over frequencies normally used by low-powered satellite-based systems, including GPS. The FCC previously granted a conditional waiver to LightSquared to use a spectrum that has always been reserved for satellite-generated signals, which means it would interfere with high-accuracy GPS signals. And, LightSquared has planned for 40,000 ground stations. Read more here.
If LightSquared takes away the ability for farmers to use GPS systems, farmers will be forced back to the days when analog TV was as good as it got and you took your corn to town in a horse-drawn wagon. And, the cost of food will go up dramatically. Are consumers willing to pay that price just for high-speed broadband that isn’t much better than what most currently have?
Jordan Dux, Nebraska Farm Bureau national affairs coordinator, says Lightsquared has a noble goal but Nebraska farmers won’t benefit from LightSquared’s service.
Dux says the proposed service also affects the Defense Department and Aviation Administration.
Acquiring a large customer base is a primary goal for Lightsquared, meaning urban areas. Translation: time and energy spent focusing on rural customers is not a priority.
Dux says even though this issue doesn’t have a bill number per say, education in Washington is important and farmers should speak to their Senators and Congressmen about the impact LightSquared will have on their own operation if it moves forward.
You can voice your concerns on this website.