LightSquared creates rural America initiative, promises to be more help than hindrance

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With GPS interference issues now resolved, LightSquared's going back to the farm to reassure rural America it means no harm. The wholesale-only 4G LTE service that already signed up a plethora of partners is turning to Sen. Byron Dorgan and Reps. George Nethercutt and Charlie Stenholm to oversee its newly-created Empower Rural America Initiative. The plan calls for oversight of the service's bucolic deployment, promising its filtering tech will keep GPS-dependent precision agriculture on-point and pesticides away from your country home. Also under the proposed guidelines are plans to assist emergency first responders with network access in the event existing communication systems get knocked out. It's a comforting pat on the rustic back that should shore up "broadband adoption gap" issues currently plaguing underserved areas. But while it may look like the farmer and the technologist can be friends, we have a sneaking suspicion there are more self-serving motivations at play here. Hit the break for LightSquared's pastorally empowering PR.
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LightSquared Forms Rural Initiative to Ensure LightSquared and GPS Co-Existence

RESTON, Va., July 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- LightSquared™, the nation's first wholesale-only integrated 4G-LTE wireless broadband and satellite network, announced today the creation of the Empower Rural America Initiative led by an advisory board that includes former Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and former Representatives George Nethercutt of Washington and Charlie Stenholm of Texas.

The group will partner with LightSquared to:

Work with small cities and rural communities to ensure the deployment of this new satellite and broadband service;
Work with LightSquared and other parties to make sure device filters and other approaches are developed that will resolve any GPS issues related to precision agriculture and other areas;
Ensure that LightSquared's integrated satellite network can help rural markets augment their broadband and GPS services to provide greater accuracy and continuity of service;
Address the unique public safety concerns of small towns and rural communities by making the deployment of satellite communications services available to assist people in these areas in the event of a disaster, such as tornadoes, floods or other service disruptions to traditional communications systems;
Help close the broadband adoption gap in rural America. Broadband is critical to rural areas where it can create jobs, contribute to economic development and introduce innovations in education, healthcare and public safety.

"There is an overwhelming need for reliable wireless broadband for public safety, education, healthcare and economic development in rural America. We can have a robust, accurate GPS network and also create a substantial new resource for rural America in the form of a wireless network that reaches areas that still don't have broadband access," said former Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota.

"LightSquared is honored to be working with such a highly respected and devoted group of public servants. The collective wisdom of this advisory board will play a critical role in LightSquared's efforts to deliver world-class wireless broadband service to the underserved populations of rural America," said Sanjiv Ahuja, chairman and CEO of LightSquared.

During the recent bout of violent tornadoes, LightSquared's services were used by first responders and public safety officials to communicate after cellular services were disrupted by the storms.

Citing these efforts, former Representative Charlie Stenholm said, "LightSquared's ability to provide fast and effective communication services for public safety and emergency response can provide a much needed life line for small and rural communities in the Tornado belt and other areas of rural America that are flood prone."

"Let's work to find solutions that will give farmers the accurate GPS signals and advanced wireless and broadband services available to rural America," said former representative George Nethercutt. "They shouldn't be mutually exclusive goals. The need for ubiquitous wireless broadband services at reasonable costs is one of the greatest needs in these communities."
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