Thursday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai circulated a draft to his colleagues regarding the approval of satellite provider Ligado’s application to deploy a nationwide broadband network in the L-Band. The network would primarily support 5G and Internet of Things services. The order comes with conditions to ensure existing L-band users are protected from harmful interference.
The decision comes over the objections of 13 government agencies, led by
the Department of Defense, who warn it might interfere with military
GPS operations. They said so in a memo co-signed by representatives of
the Army, Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard. It was also signed by the
Departments of Commerce, Energy, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice
and Transportation as well as the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA
and National Science Foundation, according to Inside Global Navigation Satellite Systems.
At the center of the debate is a proposal to take frequencies allocated
primarily for use by satellites and allow them to be used for broadband
communications. Extensive testing has shown that the proposal, even in a
lower power form, would cause interference to GPS receivers. Those
receivers are used for navigation and positioning but also for accurate
timing that enables the synchronization of mobile communications and
internet traffic. Continue Reading