The National Corn Growers Association and several other agriculture industry groups sent comments to the Federal Communications Commission on LightSquared's conditional authorization. The comments urged the FCC to withdraw the conditional waiver granted to LightSquared in 2011 and modify LightSquared's satellite license to prohibit the building of a ground-based network.
"We urge the FCC to adopt both proposals because of the overwhelming evidence that LightSquared's proposed ground-based network would cause severe interference to virtually all uses of GPS," the comments state. "High-precision GPS technology is vitally important to American agriculture, and would be gravely harmed by LightSquared's plans."
NCGA has previously expressed support for broadband access for rural America but also believes precision farming must be protected. The comments state that a recent economic study that reviewed crop yields from 2007-2010 found that use of precision GPS technology, at adoption rates of 60 percent, increased U.S. farm revenue by approximately $20 billion per year, the equivalent of nearly 12 percent of total annual production.
"The benefits of high precision GPS to U.S. agriculture are immense and diverse," the comments state. "By enabling farmers to make precise applications for planting, irrigation, and crop protection, GPS technology has been responsible for remarkable growth in productivity, farm income, and improved environmental sustainability."