Press Release Spectrum Reform

Public Knowledge Commends FCC for Approving the Ligado License Modification Application

April 16, 2020 , , ,

Today, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai circulated a draft Order that would make new spectrum available for wireless companies such as Ligado to transition their networks to 5G. By allowing Ligado to modify its license to provide a hybrid satellite/terrestrial network architecture, the Order will enable Ligado to offer an internet-of-things oriented network that could compete in the new markets that 5G will create. Public Knowledge commends Chairman Pai for his leadership on making 5G a reality for all Americans.

The following can be attributed to Bertram Lee, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“We applaud Chairman Pai and the FCC for their proposal to grant Ligado’s longstanding license modification request. Ligado has requested for almost a decade to modify its license to help deploy 5G via a terrestrial/satellite network that would bring 5G to more Americans.

“Public interest advocates have been clamoring for the FCC to approve Ligado’s (then Lightsquared) licence modification request for the better part of a decade. Reallocating this spectrum for internet-of-things facilitates the transition to 5G as there is no more ‘greenfield’ spectrum for novel use. The Chairman’s proposed Order reveals how the FCC has worked to both protect incumbent GPS users while allowing for pro-competitive commercial licensing of spectrum. The FCC should continue to find ways to address genuine federal concerns while also building efficiency in the allocation of spectrum for broader commercial use. Congress has entrusted the FCC to strike the proper balance between the needs of incumbents and the potential benefits to new entrants or new users, and here, the FCC gets it right.

“In approving Ligado’s license, the FCC has taken an important step forward in its role as the sole arbiter of spectrum disputes and, in this instance, has correctly sided on behalf of the public interest to help deliver the potential of 5G to more Americans. Going forward, we hope the FCC takes a similar approach to innovative uses of spectrum that benefit the public.”

You may view our recent filing in support of Ligado’s license modification application for more information.