The lawmakers say staying and reconsidering the Ligado order is necessary to address the “imminent risks” associated with Ligado’s intention to start using the 1526-1536 MHz band, possibly as early as next month.
The letter was signed by U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska).
As Breaking Defense reported, the letter comes as the due date approaches for a Congressionally-mandated report on whether the company’s system will impact GPS for both military and commercial users. The National Academy of Sciences announced this week that it plans to release on September 9 a report evaluating Ligado’s potential impact on GPS and Department of Defense (DoD) activities.
The bipartisan group of lawmakers said they’re extremely concerned that Ligado’s use of the spectrum will cause unacceptable risk to DoD, GPS and satellite communications (SATCOM) operations.
“Staying and reconsidering the Ligado Order is necessary to address the imminent risks associated with Ligado’s intention to ‘commence operations in the 1526-1536 MHz band on or after September 30, 2022,’” the letter states. “We remain gravely concerned that the Ligado Order fails to adequately protect adjacent band operations—including those related to GPS and satellite communications—from harmful interference impacting countless military and commercial activities.”
“We urge you to set aside the Ligado Order and give proper consideration to the widely held concerns across the Executive Branch, within Congress, and from the private sector regarding the expected impact of the Ligado Order on national security and other systems,” the lawmakers added.
In response, Ligado stands its ground, saying it’s ready and willing to work with the DoD.
“After more than a decade of scientific review, the nation’s spectrum experts at the FCC determined the concessions Ligado made and the conditions in the April 2020 FCC Order protect GPS,” the company said in response to the letter.
“No concrete evidence to the contrary has been put forth by any private entity or government agency, including the Defense Department, despite repeated requests. If there is an issue DOD is concerned about, the best way to resolve it is for the DOD and Ligado to work through those issues as soon as possible, as the FCC Order requires and as Congress has mandated. The science and facts support the FCC’s unanimous, bipartisan decision to grant Ligado’s spectrum, and if there are DOD GPS receivers operating in our licensed spectrum that need to be upgraded, Ligado is ready to do so.”