Messing With GPS

The radio frequencies that global positioning signals travel on have had plenty of space to operate without interference from neighboring signals. But a recent move by the FCC to change that has created a firestorm in GPS circles, with dire predictions of GPS signal disruption should the plan come to fruition.

A company called LightSquared has been granted a waiver that will allow it to repurpose the satellite spectrum that is immediately adjacent to GPS. Its goal is noble: To deliver satellite-based broadband capability to all corners of the country. But if implemented as proposed it could put GPS signals in harm’s way, according to Coalition to Save Our GPS, a group of organizations that depend on reliable GPS delivery.

I asked LightSquared for a statement about the current controversy, and the company said that “like all spectrum holders, we have an obligation to operate properly within our band, and we take that responsibility very seriously. In an open and transparent process, the FCC has granted LightSquared’s request to create a network capable of satellite and terrestrial wireless communication across the U.S. Millions of Americans have little or no access to high-speed broadband, and, in the spirit of The National Broadband Plan, we will be able to bring nationwide, seamless coverage.”

The company goes on to express its current and ongoing commitment to working with the FCC and the GPS community to move this forward in a way that satisfies all parties and does not jeopardize global positioning.

“We have committed to the FCC that by 2015, we will bring 4G wireless broadband to 92% of America, enabling critical and reliable communication to consumers, businesses, public safety workers and other government entities. We are investing billions to ensure this is done efficiently and safely,” the statement concludes.

The Coalition to Save Our GPS is concerned that the FCC is not asking enough of LightSquared in “proving no harm” to GPS signals if the LightSquared vision comes to pass. Trimble, a member of the Coalition to Save GPS, provided the following statement about the current situation:

“Trimble shares the concerns of many others regarding the potential of this new network to interfere with GPS users. Given the critical national importance of uninterrupted GPS service, we believe that the ability of the proposed new network to exist without harmful interference to existing GPS users must be conclusively proven prior to any launch.

“The consequences of disruption to the GPS signals would be very significant and likely to affect millions of users including transportation, federal and local government, first responders, airlines, civil engineering, utility networks, construction and surveying, agriculture, science and everyday consumers in their cars and on handheld devices.”

No one, especially those who live and work in the many dead zones that exist throughout rural America, would debate the benefit of wider access to broadband. But with agriculture’s deep reliance on GPS as the driver for precise operations, peak efficiency and accurate data collection and management, it can’t come at the expense of a clean positioning signal.

Leave a Reply

Paul Schrimpf Stories

Soybean Field Sunset
OpinionPicking Partners in the Crop Protection Market
July 17, 2017
Agriculture is a market awash in highs, lows, and everything in between. This is certainly true in the world of Read More
Topcon Horizon XTend Application
OpinionStill Early in the Game for Precision Agriculture
June 3, 2017
Baseball fans hear a lot of the same clichés every season, being that there’s at least 162 games to be Read More
OpinionOpinion: Taking On The Farmers Business Network
April 8, 2017
Well, another round of venture capital funding has come to Farmers Business Network (FBN), followed up with the obligatory feature Read More
PA Innovation
OpinionWinter Of Learning In Precision Agriculture
March 1, 2017
Winter time is meeting time, and it usually means that I get the chance to not only attend some terrific Read More
Trending Articles
StewardshipEnvironmental Respect 2017 Kicks Off Enjoying an American Pastime
July 18, 2017
Following months of planning and scheduling, the 2017 Environmental Respect Awards (ERA) celebration kicked off in fine fashion as more Read More
Soybean Closeup
Crop InputsMissouri Lifts Dicamba Ban, Issues Stricter Application Parameters
July 14, 2017
The Missouri Department of Agriculture has lifted its barely week-old ban on new dicamba technologies, which have been at the Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto Responds to Arkansas, Missouri Dicamba Bans
July 10, 2017
Monsanto, provider of the dicamba-tolerant Roundup Ready Xtend crop system for soybeans and cotton, issued the following statement on Friday, Read More
Retail FacilitiesPCS-Hammond Meets Fertilizer Storage Needs with New Dome Facility
July 8, 2017
The new barrel dome facility at the PCS-Hammond Regional Distribution Center in Hammond, IN, can hold more than 100,000 tons Read More
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
Redbanded-stinkbug-on-soybean-Photo-credit-Thomas-County-Ag
Crop InputsExperts: Mild Winter, Early Planting Will Increase Soybean Insect Threat
June 12, 2017
Higher than average temperatures this past winter affected much of the nation, especially the South and Midwest. The National Centers Read More
Latest News
StewardshipEnvironmental Respect: Grand Grounds, Posters Parade
July 19, 2017
To celebrate their accomplishments in the area of environmental stewardship, award recipients at the 2017 Environmental Respect week spent much Read More
StewardshipHarden’s Message to ERA Winners: Do Tell Your Good Stor…
July 19, 2017
As the daughter of a peanut farmer, Krysta Harden, Chief Sustainability Officer for DuPont Crop Protection, understands the importance the Read More
StewardshipFarming Smarter Hinges on 4R Best Management Practices
July 18, 2017
Preserving water quality while feeding another 2 billion people by 2050 is the challenge facing North America’s farmers and its Read More
StewardshipEnvironmental Respect 2017 Kicks Off Enjoying an Americ…
July 18, 2017
Following months of planning and scheduling, the 2017 Environmental Respect Awards (ERA) celebration kicked off in fine fashion as more Read More
Soybean Field Sunset
OpinionPicking Partners in the Crop Protection Market
July 17, 2017
Agriculture is a market awash in highs, lows, and everything in between. This is certainly true in the world of Read More
TMX-2050-In-Cab-Display-Launch-Run-Screen
EquipmentGPS Auto Steer: Innovating in a Mature Market
July 17, 2017
In the world of Big IRON, GPS auto steer has closely mirrored the evolutionary path of consumer GPS Navigation systems Read More
MFA-Centralia-MO
Eric SfiligojThe Resilience of Ag Retailers
July 17, 2017
After covering the ag retail market for 17 years, I think one of the most impressive character traits I’ve seen Read More
SERA-meeting
Stewardship4R Event Explores How to Minimize Phosphorus Losses
July 17, 2017
This year the Southern Extension and Research Activity (SERA) – 17; will be meeting in Oregon, OH, from August 14-17. Read More
Students Soybean Field
StewardshipCCA 4R Study Guide Available
July 17, 2017
In June the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) released the Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) 4R Nutrient Management Specialist (4R NMS) Read More
Soil soybean closeup
FertilizerThe 4Rs and Potassium
July 17, 2017
Are we meeting crop K needs? Using the 4R nutrient stewardship approach of selecting the right source at the right Read More
Soil Young Corn
StewardshipTop 10 Themes from the 2017 4R Nutrient Stewardship Sum…
July 17, 2017
Preserving water quality while feeding another 2 billion people by 2050 is the challenge facing North America’s farmers and its Read More
Soybean Field Sunset
Crop InputsWhich is Better for Soybeans: Fall or Spring Applicatio…
July 17, 2017
There have been many questions about fall versus spring applications of phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) to soybeans, writes Dr. T. Read More
corn-potassium-deficiency-University-of-Minnesota-Extension
Crop InputsRecognizing Potassium Deficiency Symptoms in Crops
July 17, 2017
Some crops exhibit characteristic deficiency symptoms when adequate amounts of K are not available for growth and development, according to Read More
ManagementComplexity in Agriculture: The Rise (and Fall?) of Mons…
July 17, 2017
Sometimes it seems as if the ag world is changing so fast that we can barely keep up with it Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto: Illegal, Improper Use at Root of Drift Proble…
July 14, 2017
Monsanto isn’t backing down from the position that its tool — the Roundup Ready Xtend dicamba-tolerant system for soybeans and Read More
Soybean Closeup
Crop InputsMissouri Lifts Dicamba Ban, Issues Stricter Application…
July 14, 2017
The Missouri Department of Agriculture has lifted its barely week-old ban on new dicamba technologies, which have been at the Read More
Crop InputsCreate a ‘No-Mite Zone’ Around Your Fields
July 13, 2017
Explosive. That’s one way to describe the speed at which mite infestations in crops can develop under the right conditions. Read More
ABM sign
Crop InputsAdvanced Biological Marketing Awarded Competitive Grant…
July 13, 2017
Advanced Biological Marketing (ABM) has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to conduct Read More