Chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai recently circulated a draft order recommending the five-member panel to approve the request of satellite provider Ligado Networks to deploy a low-power nationwide network that will support next-gen 5G wireless, despite objections from Defense Department.
Ligado Networks’ plans to use the L-Band spectrum for use in 5G communications has been pending, despite of holding a license to use it. However, the company’s plans to deploy the same has come under criticism from some powerful lawmakers and federal agencies. The L-Band spectrum is also used for GPS (Global Positioning System) and other navigation systems as the signals can infiltrate cloud cover. The headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, Pentagon also uses the same band for military purposes.
In light of the matter, the top Democrats of the panel, Jack Reed and Jim Inhofe, a U.S senator asked Donald Trump, the President of America, to bar Ligado Networks from moving forward, citing interference with critical GPS sensors and reception.
Mac Thornberry, Inhofe and Reed, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, reportedly said in a letter to the U.S. President that Ligado's plans to deploy L-band is likely to harm military capabilities, the U.S. Space Force in particular, and it may majorly impact the national economy.
An Air Force memo also warned that Ligado Networks’ proposals to reduce interference were un-executable and impractical and are likely to put enormous burdens on GPS users and agencies to monitor and report interference.
Doug Smith, President and Chief Executive of Ligado was stated that the company is committed to protecting global positioning systems while delivering ultra-reliable and highly secure communications. Earlier, Pai was convinced through an extensive technical review by FCC staff, that the conditions in draft order should permit Ligado to proceed without causing any harmful interference.