If the Federal Communications Commission extends a waiver to a group attempting to implement wireless broadband nationwide, the Global Positioning System as we know it could be severely affected.
A company called LightSquared, which is backed by the Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund, is working to launch a wireless broadband network.
Their goal is to build out a nationwide 4G ancillary terrestrial component (ATC) network that would cover 260 million people in the United States by 2014.
In January, the FCC granted LightSquared a conditional waiver, which allows them to proceed with the project in a limited fashion while a working group conducts research to determine whether the LightSquared network and GPS can co-exist with no interference.
As you can probably figure, this could have a significant impact on so many technologies, especially those in precision agriculture that rely on GPS technology for everything from planting seed to the targeted application of fertilizer and pesticides on crops.
Interference with this technology could result in higher costs in seed, fertilizer, fuel and ultimately, labor.
Opposition has arisen from large companies such as John Deere, encouraging the FCC to only grant final approval to LightSquared if the company can indisputably demonstrate that their proposal will not interfere with GPS technology.
NSP will continue to monitor this issue closely and keep our members informed as the process moves forward.