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U.S. Agriculture Community Supports LightSquared Network

By Terry Neal, Former Vice President for Public Relations and Communications
September 27, 2011

One of the most significant benefits of LightSquared’s network will be the elimination of the “digital divide” that keeps millions of Americans — many of them in rural areas — from participating in the wireless broadband revolution. Our network will bring 4G-LTE to rural Americans from coast to coast, and our integrated satellite-terrestrial capabilities will help every corner of the country receive a strong, high-speed wireless broadband signal. We expect that LightSquared will be especially helpful to our nation’s agricultural sector, in which wireless technology is especially needed to conduct business, communicate and receive information from remote locations.

For the past decade, we have developed our network based on the fact that America needs more capacity and competition in broadband wireless, and that the technical challenges — notably, the potential for GPS receiver interference — are surmountable by applying ingenuity and energy to develop engineering solutions. We have always believed that LightSquared and GPS can and will co-exist, for the benefit of the country. That benefit will be felt by all Americans in the form of increased choice, greater innovation and lower prices — but perhaps most notably among our farmers, who too often are denied its benefits.

This week, we received a strong endorsement of our view that LightSquared and GPS can co-exist from several of the country’s leading agricultural organizations: the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Sugar Alliance, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Farmers Union, National Potato Council and the Western Growers Association. These groups signed a joint letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture committees calling for them to work to ensure that the agricultural sector receives the benefits of LightSquared’s network alongside GPS. “We believe that both of these technologies have great potential to drive economic development in rural America and a reasonable agreement should be reached to allow for their future success,” the organizations wrote.

“We urge your committees to communicate to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the benefit farmers and ranchers will receive from expanded broadband access and precision agriculture. The FCC must ensure that accurate GPS will continue to be available for precision agriculture and also ensure that broadband access be made available for all of rural America.” We welcome the support of these important organizations and their members. Read the full letter here.

In other recent news, LightSquared has also received support from Republican bloggers who are pushing back against some of the attacks recently made against our company. In the past week, the influential blog RedState published a piece urging support for LightSquared, noting that our $14 billion investment comes entirely from the private sector, with no government assistance — and categorically rejecting any comparison to Solyndra, a company that received half a billion dollars in government loan guarantees. And RedNoVA, a leading Republican blog in Virginia, denounced the extreme political assertions that have been bandied about without foundation.

Terry Neal is the former vice president of public relations and communications.

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