US agencies ask the FCC to terminate the Ligado spectrum decision

ARCHIVE PHOTO: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) logo is seen in Washington on February 26, 2015. REUTERS / Yuri Gripas / File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group of US agencies Friday asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reconsider its unanimous decision on April 22 to allow Ligado Networks [MOSAV.UL] deploy a low-power mobile broadband network across the country, saying this could pose a threat to global positioning systems (GPS).

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The U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration has filed a request on behalf of executive branch agencies, including the Defense and Transport departments, saying the approval will cause "irreparable damage to federal government users" of the GPS.

He asked the FCC to "prevent Ligado from deploying its network until this petition is addressed and concerns about harmful interference are resolved."

The Air Line Pilots Association, the Equipment Manufacturers Association, the International Air Transport Association and the Airlines for America, Iridium Communications and Lockheed Martin this week also filed petitions asking the FCC to reconsider.

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Last week, 32 U.S. senators said U.S. military operations could be hampered by the network proposed by Ligado, formerly known as LightSquared, which emerged from bankruptcy in 2015.

The wireless satellite venture said that “the Department of Defense, its contractors and its special-interest lobbyists covered the hill to spread erroneous information and distort the exhaustive, engineering and fact-oriented process that the FCC, under two administrations, led . GPS will not be harmed.

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The spectrum block that Ligado wants to touch is in the L band, which also houses the spectrum used by the GPS systems used by the armed forces, companies and consumers. Ligado says that there would be an unused band between the GPS and the mobile network spectrum to avoid interference.

Ligado, who has been working for years to deploy a next-generation 5G wireless network, says the spectrum is crucial for large-scale 5G deployment, because it can be used for building penetration and greater coverage at lower costs.

Ligado said it "will repair or replace, at Ligado's cost, any government and device that proves susceptible to harmful interference".

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

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