“Tuesday’s decision by the FCC is certainly a great relief for more than 600,000 soybean farmers across the country who use GPS technology to precision-apply seed and fertilizer; to test fields for fertility and to monitor yields; to reduce chemical and fuel use; and to map field boundaries, roads, irrigation systems. In short, GPS technology has enabled farmers to produce more food for a growing world population with fewer inputs.
“Farmers invest thousands of dollars in high-precision GPS equipment and applications to run more efficient, sustainable, cost-effective and productive farms. The LightSquared network would have rendered that investment—not to mention the consumer GPS market projected to reach almost $29 billion in the U.S. by 2015—all but useless. The FCC’s decision this week is one that is in the best interests of both the American farmer and the American consumer.
“LightSquared’s efforts do, however, underscore the pressing need for better broadband service, especially in rural America. ASA supports the pursuit of a commercial solution that will better connect the rural communities in which agriculture thrives, while protecting the value of precision agricultural GPS systems.”
The National Corn Growers Association also applauded the decision.
“The announcement is a welcome one for our organization,” NCGA President Garry Niemeyer said. “Expanded internet access is important to our members but not when it compromises the use of high-precision GPS equipment. We hope the NTIA’s statement will help put this issue to rest once and for all.”
The FCC will now propose that the conditional waiver, which was granted last year, be revoked. The waiver required LightSquared prove the interference problems could be fixed before moving forward.