Two central Ohio Farm Bureau members recently testified on legislation introduced by State Representative Bob Peterson (R- Sabina) that calls on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reconsider the FCC order granting the broadband network provider, LightSquared, conditional authority to construct cellular base stations that may interfere with the frequency used by global positioning systems upon which precision agriculture and other activities rely.
Several months ago, LightSquared asked the FCC for a waiver to operate a new broadband service. Ohio farmers have a strong interest in increasing the availability of broadband service, particularly in rural areas where broadband or other high speed internet is not available. For this reason, there is great potential in the work that companies like LightSquared is doing. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted conditional approval for the broadband network provider, LightSquared, to construct high-powered cellular base stations as part of its effort to create a nationwide wireless network integrated with satellite coverage
Unfortunately, farmers and many other individuals are concerned that the base stations used by LightSquared will create disruptions to certain types of GPS units, including those used in farming. The direct economic impact of this to American agriculture is estimated at $19.9 billion. The resolution urges the FCC to reconsider its order, address the concerns about GPS interference, reconsider the decision be open to public comment, and that it develop and use a scientific method to evaluate and address interference issues.