High Speed Internet Could Impact Farmers

1/17/12 – Wisconsin farmers, pilots, and land surveyors say their G-P-S systems would be wrecked by a plan to provide high-speed Internet service around the country. Light-Squared Incorporated is offering Four-“G” service that would meet the federal government’s goal of providing broadband Internet coverage nationwide by 2015. But a new government report says the Light-Squared system would create interference in three-fourths of the nation’s G-P-S devices, which operate on weaker signals. Some of those systems are used by the military — and the Federal Communications Commission is barred from approving signals that interfere with the military’s G-P-S locators. Sean Elliott of the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh says instrument-guided landing systems are threatened by G-P-S interference. Dodge County land information officer Joyce Fiacco says Light-Squared’s signal would affect surveying equipment, and set their work back 20 years. Casey Langan of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation says farmers use G-P-S to plant crops and apply proper amounts of pesticides. Light-Squared spokesman Chris Stern tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the company has offered to reduce the strength of its signal. And the firm accused the G-P-S industry of infringing on a spectrum that Light-Squared built. The F-C-C’s final approval is due by the end of January. Fond du Lac House Republican Tom Petri has asked the agency to reject the plan, saying G-P-S interference could cause hundreds of fatal airplane crashes over the next decade.