April 21, 2020

Chair DeFazio Slams FCC Approval of Ligado License Application

Washington, D.C. – Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) slammed a Federal Communications Commission decision to approve Ligado’s application to use a portion of the L-band spectrum, which is also used for GPS, for a 5G network. The FCC approval comes despite widespread opposition from other Federal agencies, including the Pentagon and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). In November 2019, DOT laid out specific concerns regarding transportation to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. 

“It is unconscionable that the FCC is putting industry profiteering ahead of the numerous experts who have made clear that approving Ligado’s application poses a litany of safety and security risks. Messing with GPS affects everything from the Coast Guard carrying out critical missions at sea, to military operations abroad, to emergency vehicles in our communities, to the integrity of the national airspace system, and efforts to establish new innovations such as automated vehicles—all of which depend on the future reliability and performance of GPS. The FCC must find another way to move forward on 5G networks without risking critical transportation systems that are ever more reliant on accurate, precise, and reliable position, navigation, and timing transmissions. There is far too much at stake to consider this case closed, and I will continue to press for answers as to how the FCC arrived at its final decision and how it will affect safety and security as we know it.” 

On April 10, 2020, Chair DeFazio and Rep. Garamendi (D-CA) urged U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, whose department is the lead Federal agency for civil Positioning, Navigation, and Timing requirements, to share previously undisclosed correspondence, studies and analyses on the matter with Congress. 

On April 17, 2020, Chair DeFazio and Rep. Garamendi called on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to reject the application.