FCC Group Finds GPS Interference With Plan

Cindy ZimmermanGPS, John Deere

The Coalition to Save Our GPS is growing as new evidence mounts that a proposed communications network would interfere with GPS systems.

A report was released last week by a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) technical working group on the potential for interference to GPS from the proposal by Virginia-based company LightSquared 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.

precision farming kip cullersThe FCC reports that the working group “identified significant technical issues” related to potential LightSquared interference in the upper portion of the L-Band, next to the band used by GPS. “The tests demonstrated potentially significant interference between LightSquared operations in the upper portion of the band and various GPS receivers,” the agency said in a public notice announcing a 30 day comment period on the issue.

“The report of the working group demonstrates there is no practical solution to mitigate the interference that would result if the proposal is allowed,” said Ken Golden of John Deere. “It is not acceptable to allow a new network to interfere with these vitally important industries and weaken the strong competitive position of the U.S. in the global economy. Research has shown that losing the use of GPS technology could have a negative impact of $14 billion to $30 billion annually for U.S. farmers.”

The coalition just announced an expansion of its membership last week, including new agriculture industry members such as AGCO, Agricultural Retailers Association, National Agricultural Aviation Association, National Cotton Council of America, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, North American Equipment Dealers Association, and USA Rice Federation. The coalition reportedly now represents more than 100,000 companies and millions of individuals, either independently or through trade associations – including public safety, aviation, transportation, construction, technology, recreation, shipping, agriculture and consumer manufacturers.

Information on how to comment on the issue to the FCC can be found here. Comments must be received by July 30, 2011.