Taking a look at the rest of the Ligado story

August 3, 2018  - By

Alan Cameron
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, GPS World

“All the News that Fits” can sometimes be a hard motto to live up to, and it has turned out so this month. I want to get more material into our pages for your perusal, and it just could not be crammed into the System of System pages in this issue. Therefore, I cede my “Out in Front” editorial to the 27 gentlepeople, executives across the commercial, scientific and government agency spectrum, who wrote to U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chair Ajit Pai on July 18.

The core quotes from the letter appear here. However, there’s more meat on the bones and I want to present it here.

“The undersigned organizations, representing entities that provide and rely upon critical GPS, satellite communications (“SATCOM”) services, and essential weather and other environmental data, write to inform you that the threat of harmful interference from Ligado’s proposed ancillary terrestrial component (“ATC”) service continues to pose a significant risk of harmful interference despite Ligado’s May 31, 2018, amendments to its license modification applications in the above-referenced file numbers. The record, augmented by recent government reports, makes clear that the interference will be particularly impactful to the countless government and commercial entities that rely on GPS and SATCOM services for aviation safety and other critical services and the many groups that receive and depend upon real-time weather and related environmental information from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) satellites…

“We recognize the importance of ensuring that there is sufficient spectrum for mobile broadband, and the Commission has recently taken many steps to address that challenge. However, at a time in which the Administration has placed so much emphasis on the critical importance of space-based communications — through the revival of the National Space Council and other policy initiatives — the FCC should not undermine the nation’s critical space leadership.2 Granting Ligado’s request would harm the nation’s satellite industry and the broad sectors of the country that benefit from American space leadership every day in at least three ways. First, it would threaten the reliability of critical position, navigation and timing (“PNT”) services, including GPS and also an emerging satellite time and location (“STL”) capability augmenting GPS.

“Second, it would undermine the investment-backed expectations of those who operate commercial satellite systems by fundamentally altering the interference environment decades after licensing.

“And third, it would convert 40 MHz of increasingly rare satellite spectrum away from satellite use, rewarding a company for underutilizing its satellite spectrum rather than investing in new satellite technologies.”

In addition to several organizations, the letter is signed by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the American Geophysical Union, American Weather and Climate Industry Association and the National Emergency Number Association.

About the Author: Alan Cameron

Alan Cameron is the former editor-at-large of GPS World magazine.