ARA Member Testifies At LightSquared Hearing

Rick Greene, the precision agronomy manager for MFA Inc., testified last month on behalf of the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) at a hearing before the House Small Business Committee. The committee organized the hearing in order to receive testimony to examine the impact on small businesses that may result from LightSquared’s use of its spectrum to provide broadband service near the Global Positioning System (GPS).

Small businesses, including ag retailers, farmers, construction contractors, surveyors, and the general aviation industry, rely heavily on the accuracy of GPS. Potential interference with GPS raises significant concerns.

Through his testimony to the Congressional Committee, Greene stated: “Using precision agriculture techniques and GPS provide sound agronomic recommendations in a timely fashion in order to maximize yield, manage inputs and preserve the environment to ensure farmers have a sustainable way of farming. Farmers would not be able to perform any of these efficient management practices without high-accuracy GPS.”

Greene concluded by saying, “LightSquared must not be allowed to broadcast their signal in the upper or lower bands of GPS until a feasible and economical solution is found. It is the accuracy of GPS that makes the technology important to agriculture, and farmers should not be expected to live with a disruption in their service as a result of LightSquared’s actions.”

Greene made the following key points during his testimony:

  • Satellite Wireless Broadband will not interfere with GPS. LightSquared terrestrial high powered signal in the MSS band will.
  • The GPS industry needs to have the upper MSS band off the table.
  • From 2002 commodity prices are up 350%, seed prices are up 266% and fuel and fertilizer prices are up 270%. Efficiency and increased productivity is the key to their survival in this global market. High accuracy GPS will be needed if we are going to feed a global economy and preserve the environment.
  • If JAVAD filters work on all GPS, LightSquared should pay for the filters and installation costs. (Estimated between $300 and $800)

Click here to view the complete written testimony provided by ARA to the subcommittee.

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