Proposed Broadband Service Creates GPS Concerns

Cindy ZimmermanGPS

Initial reports indicate a proposed high-speed wireless broadband network would interfere with global positioning systems around the country, including those used for precision farming.

Virginia-based company LightSquared wants to set up 40,000 wireless broad-band stations across the nation on a frequency that is right next to the one used by GPS. After concerns were voiced about possible interference, the Federal Communications Commission had the company investigate the possibility and report back to them. Preliminary findings from that report released yesterday indicate there may indeed be a problem. Company officials acknowledge that the tests show the technology could interfere with other signals at certain frequencies and power levels but they believe adjustments could be made to address that. LightSquared has been given another two weeks to present final findings to the FCC.

Opposition to the plan has become organized in the form of the Coalition to Save Our GPS, which consists of a wide variety of industries and companies, including agricultural interests and technology providers such as New Holland, Deere, GROWMARK, Leica Geosystems and Trimble Navigation.