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Reps. Thompson, Peterson and Comer push leadership to delay Ligado application

December 4, 2020  - By
Image: A-Digit/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images

Image: A-Digit/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images

Ligado application will bring harmful interference to critical technologies

U.S. Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), Collin Peterson (D-MN) and James Comer (R-KY) sent a letter Nov. 24 to House Leadership and the Appropriations Committee requesting language delaying implementation of the April 2020 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order granting Ligado’s application to deploy a terrestrial nationwide network to provide 5G services.

In July, the Congressmen expressed serious concerns surrounding the FCC’s decision, questioning the reliability of GPS for millions of Americans, especially the farmers and ranchers who rely on this technology each and every day for precision agriculture.

“Investments in 5G and GPS are critically important to the American economy, especially the agriculture industry,” said Rep. Thompson. “However, the Ligado decision will have negative impacts on GPS and satellite communications, hindering reliability and slowing progress on current and future innovation of this technology. I urge my colleagues in leadership and on the Appropriations Committee to delay this harmful implementation.”

“There is no room for error when discussing safety and reliability of service for GPS signals. Aviation, agriculture, and other vital industries rely on consistent signal quality,” said Rep. Peterson. “Safety and national security issues remain unresolved under the current order, which is why it is vital that we delay Ligado’s 5G deployment.”

“Our farmers are vitally important to providing the food supply for America and the world, and a reliable GPS network is critical to precision agriculture,” said Rep. Comer. “I understand the importance of improving telecommunications operations, especially for advancing rural economies. But critical tools like GPS technology must not be disrupted, as our farmers are essential workers who must have the tools they need to do their jobs. It is our responsibility as policymakers to fight to ensure that federal agency decisions do not negatively impact Americans’ livelihoods. It is my hope that this language to delay implementation of the Ligado order will be addressed in a year-end appropriations package.”

“The FCC’s ill-advised decision on the Ligado matter risks serious negative impacts to the communication of real-time environmental data from satellites that are a primary tool by the American Weather Enterprise in the creation and timely dissemination of accurate weather forecasts and severe weather warnings,” said Jonathan Porter, vice president and general manager, AccuWeather. “Any degradation in these communications will endanger critical economic and societal benefits for weather-sensitive businesses from family farms to large corporations and reduce the ability for people to stay safe during severe weather.”

“GPS is critical to precision agriculture applications that deliver centimeter level accuracy that enables farmers to maximize crop yields while lowering costs and environmental impact,” said Dale Leibach, spokesperson for the Keep GPS Working Coalition. “The FCC’s decision represents a sweeping governmental and regulatory assault on farmers who are already facing unprecedented challenges including severe weather, low commodity prices, and supply chain vulnerability as a result of COVID-19. The order must be stopped, and Congressman Thompson and Chairman Peterson have been relentless champions for farmers in the effort to reverse the FCC’s decision.”

“GPS technology is a key component to precision agriculture, a sustainable practice that benefits both farmers and the environment,” said Dennis Slater, president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. “The recent Ligado decision will hinder these hard-working Americans from being able to properly utilize the tractors, combines, harvesters, and other modernized equipment we manufacture. We urge House leadership to include language to delay Ligado implementation. Farmers are already struggling due to the pandemic, natural disasters, and other factors. Let’s not add to their economic pain.”

“Protecting the public interest and our economic security requires defending and protecting critical GPS, satellite communications services, aviation navigation equipment and essential weather apparatus. But Ligado’s reckless venture puts that at risk,” said Jordan Hassin, director, Corporate Communications, Public Relations, and Industry Affairs for Iridium Communications. “As more users of services in the L-band discover the threat Ligado presents to their livelihoods, more of our policymakers are recognizing that they need to demand this threat be addressed either in the NDAA or in an end of year spending package. This is not just a defense issue. We are grateful to the leaders of the Agriculture Committee for adding their voices to the call for a change to the FCC’s misguided and destructive decision.”

Feature image: A-Digit/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images

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