Ligado Networks Statement Regarding Latest PR Attempt to Falsely Alarm and Deceive Regulators and Public

RESTON, VA. Friday, March 13, 2020 – Ligado Networks CLO Valerie Green released the following statement regarding the creation of an AstroTurf group called Satellite Safety Alliance:

This shell group is not new; it’s simply a blatant rebranding attempt by a handful of special-interest lobbyists, supported by a Ligado competitor, to use fear tactics and falsities to spread misinformation about our 5G proposal.  As the FCC closes in on its decision on our mid-band spectrum proposal, competitors and proponents of the status quo have resorted to creating synthetic social media accounts and a website that ignore the fulsome factual record created over the last decade. 

Fortunately, both policymakers and the public have become increasingly familiar with these swamp-like tactics. We are confident that decision makers will discount this latest public relations stunt and will see it for what it really is: a last ditch-effort to stifle competition, stake squatters’ claims to spectrum that is licensed to others, and sound false alarms with the goal of preventing regulators from reaching fact-based and engineering-driven solutions in the best interests of the U.S. and its 5G future. 

“Metro firmly believes that Ligado’s proposal will not affect the safe operation of helicopters and rejects any suggestions otherwise. To the contrary, Ligado’s proposed operations will assist the aviation industry – specifically, helicopters – by providing much-needed specialized services that facilitate aviation operations.”

– Metro Aviation

Here are fundamental facts distorted by this group:

  • On Weather – The weather-related interests involved with this group are concerned about a 5 MHz band of frequencies at 1675-1680 MHz that is not a part of the proceeding on Ligado’s license modification applications.
  • The FCC’s proposed rulemaking on 1675-1680 MHz is a separate proceeding in which the FCC is considering auctioning that band for shared commercial use with the federal government. This proposal has broad, bi-partisan support, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has received and is using millions of dollars in federal funding to study how to make this proposal a reality. Not only would NOAA’s operations be protected by this proposal, but in fact, millions of Americans will benefit by gaining access to critical weather data faster and at a lower cost.
  • To suggest that the weather enterprise would be impacted by Ligado’s license modification applications operating in frequencies far from 1675-1680 MHz is a blatant attempt to confuse and mislead the general public.
  • On GPS – Ligado’s proposal was developed in cooperation with GPS manufacturers, and the world’s leading GPS equipment manufacturers have spectrum use agreements with Ligado. These facts underscore that GPS services and Ligado’s proposed terrestrial uses are compatible.
  • Thousands of hours of scientifically validated testing conducted by the Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) scientists provide evidence that Ligado and GPS can coexist and that any studies using 1 dB as a metric for harmful interference are fundamentally flawed and scientifically unusable.
  • Moreover, Ligado has proposed creating a 23 MHz guard band between the spectrum block allocated for GPS services and Ligado’s terrestrial operations.
  • On Aviation – Ligado lowered its power levels to those recommended by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); this power level is an exceedingly low 10 Watts. The FAA determined the power level necessary to protect aviation interests and safety, and Ligado agreed.
  • On SATCOM – The discussion around SATCOM is nothing but a cynical effort of bank shot gamesmanship.  Fundamentally, the discussion revolves around a technology issue that does not involve Ligado.  In any event, because countries are revising that spectrum decision, these issues have already been resolved by the affected parties.  The only reason they’re raised here is to gain leverage about who will pay, and that discussion doesn’t even involve Ligado. 
  • On Iridium —  The DoD and Alion Science and Technology each studied Iridium’s concerns and confirmed Ligado’s proposed license modifications would not cause harmful interference to Iridium’s operations.
  • On 5G – The global leaders in 5G telecommunications and network technology recognize how this lower mid-band spectrum can accelerate broad-based 5G deployment.

The claims being peddled by this special interest group are pure fiction.

The President, Congress, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have consistently voiced their commitment to ensure America leads the world in 5G. There is broad, bipartisan public interest and industry support for wireless 5G deployment in the L-band. The science, the engineering, and public record all support these facts. The former Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) agrees and so do the world’s leading GPS manufacturers:

  • Garmin: “[Ligado’s] agreement to cut out-of-band emissions and power levels in the spectrum band closest to the GPS signal protects the interests of GPS users, and the company doesn’t anticipate any performance-degradation issues for those using GPS technologies.” (Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2015)
  • Septentrio: “Septentrio hardware and Ligado services are complementary. Septentrio has worked with Ligado to refine certain of Ligado’s high-precision offerings. We are aware of Ligado’s proposed operating parameters and have reviewed them against our existing and continuously evolving technology to protect GNSS receivers against a variety of disturbances. Ligado’s proposed operating parameters fall within the type of interference GNSS receiver can be immune to by design.” (Comment to the FCC, October 5, 2018)
  • Hexagon: “Shortly after the Commission put out for comment Ligado’s revised spectrum plan in April 2016, our engineering team reviewed Ligado’s proposed operating limits and also engaged directly with Ligado to understand better both their spectrum and business plans. The result of our analysis and those discussions was an agreement with Ligado that led us to develop tools to mitigate the impact of intentional or unintentional interference within the GNSS band … Accordingly, these improvements have the potential to benefit the entire public.” (Comment to the FCC, May 7, 2018)

Winning in 5G requires honest collaboration and genuine leadership so we can move forward to support innovation and advance technologies that are critical to next-generation networks. We are more focused than ever and stand ready to ensure this mid-band spectrum is deployed as soon as possible to help the country win in 5G. 

About Ligado Networks

Ligado is a mobile satellite network operator providing mission critical services throughout North America to enterprise, public safety, and industrial end users.


For further information:

Ligado Networks Media Contact:
Ashley Durmer, SVP, Government Relations and Public Affairs
Tel: 703-390-2008