Senators resume bipartisan push to stop Ligado network

By Tony Bertuca / August 17, 2022 at 5:05 PM

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) is leading a bipartisan effort to convince the Federal Communications Commission to rescind an April 2020 decision allowing Ligado Networks to deploy a new, low-power, terrestrial nationwide network after next month that lawmakers say would cause "unacceptable risk" to national security.

The senators, in a letter sent today to the FCC, say Ligado’s proposed network in the L-Band range of frequencies would harm military communications capabilities.

“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.

Among the lawmakers trying to get the FCC to reverse its decision is Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the committee’s ranking member. Inhofe, when he was chairman of the committee, tried in vain to get the FCC to change its mind about the Ligado network.

“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,” the letter states. “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.”

Neither the FCC nor Ligado immediately responded to requests for comment.