Ligado to FCC: NTIA's Petition Fails on All Counts

Ligado Networks said NTIA has not made its case against the company's proposed new broadband service. 

That came in its opposition to the Trump Administration's request that the FCC stay (and reconsider) its order to allow Ligado to launch a terrestrial broadband service adjacent to GPS spectrum. 

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration, the White House's chief communications policy advisor, is concerned that Ligado will interfere with GPS navigation, missile guidance and more, and petitioned the FCC to stay its order. 

The FCC voted unanimously to allow Ligado to proceed, conditioned on power limits, a "kill switch" if interference resulted, based on FCC engineering assessments FCC chair Ajit Pai said made the item good to go.  

But NTIA said that was hardly the case: Based on what it said were the FCC's "unworkable conditions while still uncertain whether GPS receivers critical to national security and public safety would experience remediable harmful interference," NITA said. The FCC needs to stay the order and, essentially, go back to the condition drawing board.   

To grant the stay, the FCC would have to conclude that NITA was likely to prevail on the merits, would suffer "irreparable harm" absent a stay, that the stay would not hurt other parties, and that a stay is in the public interest.   

Ligado told the FCC Friday (May 29) that NTIA's petition met none of those benchmarks.  

“NTIA’s extraordinary request to stop the FCC’s decision from taking effect is outrageous," the company said. "Because NTIA did not win on the merits, it has instead tried to turn routine policy disagreements into a lockdown of the FCC’s regular and proper process. The FCC’s order does not harm NTIA; rather, it is NTIA that would harm Ligado and the American public by halting the company’s progress toward building industrial 5G networks that will enhance economic competitiveness, create jobs and protect our national security.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.