The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has concluded that planned deployment of mobile services by Lightsquared must be blocked to prevent the company's technology from interfering with the nation's existing global positioning system (GPS) technology.
GPS is key to precision farming techniques, such as carefully metered tillage and fertilizer and crop protection applications.
In a Feb. 15 announcement, an FCC spokesperson explained that the National Telecommunication & Information Administration, the federal agency that coordinates spectrum uses for the military and other federal government entities, "concluded that there is no practical way to mitigate potential interference at this time." As a result, FCC will block commercial deployment of the ground-based mobile broadband services for which LightSquared had sought government approval.
FCC's action was quickly praised by the American Soybean Assn. and several farm-state senators who had expressed concerns about protecting both agricultural and military uses of GPS technology.