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FCC Faces Fusillade of Ligado-Slamming Petitions

Airline companies and other GPS interests are filing seven separate petitions to the FCC Thursday (May 21) to rethink its decision to allow Ligado to launch a terrestrial broadband network using L-band satellite spectrum adjacent to GPS spectrum. 

The FCC decision was unanimous, came with conditions including power level limits and a "kill switch," and was based on FCC engineering and testing that FCC chairman Ajit Pai has assured Congress makes it feasible to both boost terrestrial 5G broadband and protect sensitive GPS receivers used for navigation, missile guidance and much more. 

Ligado, formerly LightSquared, has been trying to get the FCC to let it use satellite spectrum for terrestrial service for almost a decade.  

But groups including the Airline Pilots Association, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Carglo Airline Association, Lockheed Martin and others are telling the FCC that its decision ignored or disregarded evidence that Ligado would cause harmful interference. 

They said that the argument that Ligado is providing a 5G service is an easily disproved claim given that "[t]he L-band is not included in any internationally-recognized 5G standard, the spectrum is not harmonized regionally or globally for 5G, FCC’s 5G FAST Plan does not include Ligado or L-Band spectrum, nor does the company have enough contiguous spectrum." 

Related: FCC Says Senate Ligado-Related Attacks Are 'Baseless Fearmongering' 

“Uninterrupted access to GPS is essential not only for our industry, but also for the American people, our national security, and the strength of the U.S. economy," said the Aerospace Industry Association, one of the other groups filing a petition. "This access is now threatened by the FCC’s decision to grant Ligado Networks’ application, despite years of evidence and the concerns outlined by several federal agencies about potential interference."  

Almost three dozen members of the Senate from both sides of the aisle and led by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, are calling on the FCC to stay and reconsider the Ligado decision.

Related: Some House Republicans Say Ligado Decision is Done, Move On 

But on the House side, some Republicans are saying the decision was good, is done, and folks need to move on.