Reston, Virginia based wireless communications company LightSquared filed bankruptcy yesterday claiming $4.48 billion in assets and $2.29 billion in debts as of February 29.
The bankruptcy does not mean that the company doesn't plan to continue developing a plan that would give high-speed wireless to thousands who currently live in areas that don't have access to broadband.
In fact, Marc Montager, Chief Financial Officer of LightSquared said yesterday that the bankruptcy was meant to allow the company to continue research and development and to go through the regulatory process with more "breathing room."
Read the story below to learn more about why several commodity groups are opposed to LightSquared's technology.
Concerns are over disrupting high-precision GPS technologies
By Ben Potter
A baker’s dozen of commodity groups sent a unified response to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) calling to remove the January 2011 conditional waiver granted to LightSquared by the FCC’s International Bureau. They want to modify LightSquared’s current satellite license so that it cannot build a ground-based wireless network, which could disrupt current GPS systems and their many uses.
The letter states: "We urge the FCC to do so because of the overwhelming evidence that LightSquared’s proposed ground-based network would cause severe interference to virtually all uses of GPS. High-precision GPS technology is vitally important to American agriculture, and would be gravely harmed by LightSquared’s plans."
The letter cites a recent economic study that concluded that precision GPS technology has increased farm revenue by approximately $20 billion per year.
The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) also recently filed comments with the FCC. According to the NPSTC, potential disruption moves far beyond farm fields: "GPS is used for wireless 911 location, support of dispatch operations, mapping/response directions to responders, and synchronization of simulcast communications systems across the country. The nation cannot afford to risk interference that could debilitate the reception and/or accuracy of GPS signals used for public safety operations."
These commodity groups conclude that they still strongly support an expansion of broadband access in rural America. But, they add, this expansion shouldn’t come at the expense of lowering access to high-precision GPS.
The groups who submitted the letter include the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, American Sugar Cane League, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Potato Council, National Sunflower Association, US Canola Association, USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council and USA Rice Federation.
Read a full transcript of the letter.