US: John Deere, one of the world’s largest farm equipment manufactures, is the latest to raise concerns about LightSquared’s 4G implementation interfering with GPS. It filed results of its own tests with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Earlier, representatives from a wide variety of industries and companies have announced that they have formed the ‘Coalition to Save Our GPS’. The Coalition aims to resolve a threat to GPS – a national utility upon which millions of Americans rely every day. The threat stems from a decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to grant a conditional waiver to a company called LightSquared.
Philip Falcone’s proposed LightSquared wireless service would “create massive interference” with precise agricultural gear guided by GPS, Deere & Co. (DE) told federal regulators. Tests conducted in New Mexico show the performance of Deere’s GPS receivers deteriorated within 22 miles of a LightSquared base station, Deere said in a filing with the FCC.
“There are major economic consequences,” said Deere. “Deere customers in agriculture, construction, and other applications will lose high accuracy navigation in and near areas served by LightSquared.”
The FCC is to review concerns that LightSquared, which is backed by Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund, may interfere with GPS service. LightSquared proposes serving 260 million mobile devices over a network of 40,000 terrestrial towers, using airwaves once reserved primarily for satellite signals.
The FCC awaits a June 15 report from a working group studying interference issues before deciding whether to let LightSquared move ahead. The group includes GPS users, LightSquared executives and federal officials.
Menwhile, LightSquared Chairman and CEO Sanjiv Ahuja wrote at The Hill Blog, “The irony of America’s entrepreneurial spirit is that today’s innovator too often becomes tomorrow’s obstructionist, using litigation and political influence to protect themselves from the same competitive forces that first brought them success.”
Ahuja explained, “Today’s revolution (4G implementation) is the first ever use of satellite coverage integrated with ground-based technology to create nationwide access to high-speed wireless. This new broadband network will be a cornerstone of the foundation on which our future economy grows.” He added, “Unfortunately the development of this new network is being frustrated by interests trying to close the door of innovation behind themselves. Unless a cooperative path on development can be maintained with the government playing the role of neutral arbiter we risk losing out on this vital technological advancement.”
“FCC has supported the development of the new 4G-LTE network integrated with satellite coverage as a way of significantly expanding broadband access across the country and has noted that the GPS industry knew about the network for almost a decade but did nothing to adapt its receivers. Still the FCC has tried to support the continued development of both systems in the hopes of seeing them coexist,” Ahuja continued.