June 24, 2020

Chairs DeFazio, Larsen Express Continued Concern over FCC Approval of Ligado License Application After Briefing with Agency Officials

Washington, D.C. – Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation Rick Larsen (D-WA) expressed their ongoing concerns over the Federal Communications Commission’s 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. This comes after the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a bipartisan briefing with officials from the Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Department of Defense (DOD).

“Members of our Committee had a productive conversation with DOT and DOD officials on the consequences of the FCC’s decision to approve Ligado’s application to use a portion of the L-band spectrum for a 5G network. We were able to speak candidly with agency officials, and I am now even more concerned about the litany of safety and security risks to civilian transportation infrastructure and systems that use GPS, from the national airspace system to emergency vehicles in our communities. This will almost certainly result in a widespread disruption of GPS, with potentially catastrophic consequences. The bottom line is that the FCC needs to reconsider and reverse its decision or Congress will have to step in,” said Chair DeFazio.

“Reliable, secure access to GPS signals is essential to the National Airspace System, as well as national security. As the United States continues to invest in 5G and related emerging technologies, DOT, FAA and DoD must be able to identify risks and address potential vulnerabilities in GPS infrastructure. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure safety remains at the forefront of the decision-making process,” said Chair Larsen.

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. 

On April 21, 2020, Chair DeFazio slammed the FCC’s decision to approve Ligado’s application.