Impact of COVID-19 on Agriculture

Coalition Asks Lawmakers to Intervene in GPS-related FCC Ruling

News / FBNews November 9, 2020

Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture / CC BY 2.0 

Farm Bureau and dozens of other organizations representing a broad range of industries is calling on lawmakers to help protect the satellite communications and GPS services that tens of millions of Americans rely on.

This spring, the Federal Communications Commission granted a petition filed by Ligado to provide 5G services. Ligado’s planned use of its spectrum is so near bands used by GPS, it could diminish the reception capability of GPS devices. This is a major problem for farmers and ranchers, who rely on precision agriculture technology and GPS so their farms and ranches can be more efficient, economical and environmentally responsible.

It would also put at risk GPS services used by the military and other national defense agencies, aviation safety agencies, mapping applications and many others.

“The proposed Ligado network would disrupt the reliability of satellite communications services and the many critical applications that rely upon GPS, which has direct implications for safety-of-life in commercial aviation operations, precision farming and irrigation management that have revolutionized the agriculture economy, autonomous ground and air vehicles that will bring a new generation of transportation, precise and actionable weather data that can predict hurricanes and other life-threatening natural events, and many other applications,” the groups said in a letter to Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

The groups are asking the lawmakers to work with the FCC to set aside the flawed Ligado order in favor of a process that is responsive to the concerns of the incredibly broad cross-section of L-band operators and users.

The 60-plus organizations that signed the letter represent the aviation, aerospace, agriculture, GPS, ground transportation, mapping, marine, metrological, public safety, satellite communications and surveying industries and professions.

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