Press Release Spectrum Reform

Public Knowledge Joins More than 30 Organizations Urging Congress to Support FCC’s Move to Deploy 5G

May 20, 2020 , , ,

Today, Public Knowledge joined more than 30 public interest groups, advocacy organizations, trade associations, academics, and former administration officials in a letter urging both the Senate and House Armed Services Committees to support the Federal Communications Commission’s bipartisan decision to finalize rules for Ligado Networks’ 5G deployment. The letter argues that the organizations — so often at odds with each other on spectrum issues — have come together to support the FCC’s action to spur on “innovation and competition in new 5G services while… protecting GPS from harmful interference.”

The following is an excerpt from the letter:

“Congress directed that the FCC exercise exclusive jurisdiction over commercial spectrum decisions. By asking the President to pressure the FCC to reverse its decision, the Senate Armed Services Committee wants the President to transgress the FCC’s independence and authority, a clear violation of separation of powers.

“As a nation, we should be putting the already-licensed 40 MHz of mid-band spectrum to work for Americans by developing 5G networks and services. Protecting GPS and countering China’s 5G ambitions are national priorities, and this FCC spectrum decision does both. The Defense Department’s spectrum interests, however important, do not justify an attempt to undo lawful FCC decisions. The FCC has shown itself to be the expert agency on resolving spectrum disputes and should be allowed to do its job.”

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

“The FCC makes commercial spectrum policy because Congress vested the agency with the power and expertise to do so. Coherent federal spectrum policy is a nonpartisan issue, as this letter proves. There are very few issues that garner this level of consensus amongst groups who have such disparate ideological views. The fact that we have combined to send this letter should send a strong message to the Defense Department and to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees that the FCC needs to be allowed to do its highly specialized job. When we fail to follow the processes outlined by Congress, we compromise our national interests — and our international leadership on spectrum matters, including 5G.”

You may view the letter here. You may also view our fact sheet to learn more about the importance of the FCC’s spectrum processes, as well as our recent blog post, “The Trump Administration Goes to War on 5G — With Itself,” for more information.