Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has pledged her support to prevent Ligado Networks from occupying radio spectrum that more than a dozen government departments say could jam delicate GPS and other space-based signals. As we reported, the FCC last April approved Ligado’s bid to use a narrow slice of spectrum adjacent to the space bands for high-capacity 5G cellular networks. The cell signals are millions of times more powerful than the GPS signals and the industries that depend on the timing messages from space are unanimous in their opposition.
Sen. Jim Inhofe is leading the political charge against the FCC decision and he told the Senate Wednesday that the powerful Department of Commerce is on board. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is part of the Department of Commerce and has already stated its opposition to the FCC order. Raimondo told Inhofe her department is also opposed. “I write to assure you that there has been no change in the Department of Commerce’s or NTIA’s opposition to the FCC’s Ligado Order,” Raimondo told Inhofe. “NTIA will continue its efforts on behalf of the Executive Branch to oppose it.” Inhofe said Raimondo’s letter “is huge” and shows the bipartisan opposition to the Ligado proposal.