Coalition of GPS user groups joins fight against FCC’s Ligado decision

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The leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee will introduce the “Recognizing and Ensuring Taxpayer Access to Infrastructure Necessary for GPS and Satellite Communications Act."

WASHINGTON — Five associations representing users of the Global Positioning System will be joining forces against the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to permit Ligado Networks to operate a terrestrial wireless network using satellite spectrum.

The associations announced on June 23 they will support the Senate Armed Services Committee’s proposed legislation that would force Ligado to provide financial relief to GPS users impacted by the company’s 5G network, which the Pentagon claims will interfere with GPS.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association and the Boat Owners Association of The United States have formed an alliance called “Keep GPS Working Coalition.”

Ligado received FCC approval to use its L-band spectrum, which is adjacent to bands used by GPS.

The coalition of associations said they will endorse a bill expected to be formally introduced this week by SASC Chairman Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-R.I.). The legislation is titled “Recognizing and Ensuring Taxpayer Access to Infrastructure Necessary for GPS and Satellite Communications Act.”

The Inhofe-Reed legislation would force Ligado to pay the costs incurred by businesses and consumers as a result of the FCC’s decision.

The FCC has defended its unanimous decision and has pointed out that under the order Ligado has to ensure its network does not disrupt GPS signals. The commission said it began studying Ligado’s proposal in 2011 and insists that it arrived at its decision after thorough testing and careful coordination with federal agencies.