Advanced Television

Ligado spectrum claim “must be dismissed”

January 29, 2024

Ligado Networks has been arguing for $40 billion (€36.9bn) of compensation from various US Federal Agencies over claims that the Agencies “roadblocked” Legado’s L-band frequencies and spectrum because the US government wanted the spectrum itself.

The case is best described as “complicated” and centres on the FCC’s granting to Ligado in 2020 to create a 5G network with the spectrum, albeit for satellite usage. Ligado has claimed the Department of Defense (DoD) had been using the L-band frequencies without providing compensation.

Ligado has legal arguments running against the DoD, the Department of Commerce and the National Telecommunications & Information Administration.

The US Government has stepped in with a Motion to the US Court of Federal Claims and asking for the Ligado claim now to be dismissed.

The US argument said: “For decades, the company sought approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to obtain a modified license to operate a terrestrial network within “L-Band” spectrum when the license previously allowed for only satellite use.”

“For years, Federal agencies have objected to Ligado’s proposed license modifications because Ligado’s terrestrial operations could cause harmful interference with the Global Positioning Systems, or GPS, which operates in nearby spectrum bands. GPS use implicates the economic and national security of the US because it is a foundation of numerous applications that support Federal agencies and citizens,” stated the government’s Motion.

“On April 22, 2020, the FCC granted Ligado’s amended license modification applications (the April 2020 Order). The FCC’s administrative process did not involve an auction of spectrum; accordingly Ligado did not pay anything to the Federal Government to obtain the modified license or, by extension, the possibility of terrestrial uses of that spectrum. The April 2020 Order includes several terms and conditions intended to mitigate harmful interference with GPS: it requires Ligado to address the Government’s and industry stakeholders’ harmful interference concerns, requires robust information exchange and coordination with the Government, and requires replacement of impacted GPS equipment. In May 2020, NTIA, on behalf of DoD and other Federal agencies, sought reconsideration and a stay of the April 2020 Order because the FCC’s conditions were either insufficient or impractical for addressing the Government’s GPS interference concerns. The FCC denied NTIA’s motion to stay the April 2020 Order, but it still has not ruled.”

Ligado said January 26th it continues to stand firmly behind its original complaint and is working on a reply to the government’s motion.

“This attack on an American business by the world’s most powerful institution is contrary to the rule of law and antithetical to the government’s years-long support for the deployment of 5G technology as a vital national priority,” argues Ligado.

Categories: Blogs, Inside Satellite, Spectrum

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