Inside GNSS Media & Research

JUL-AUG 2019

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18 Inside GNSS J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 9 faster speeds. Politics Ligado has been stressing that a deci- sion on its request needs to be made quickly if it is to add its spectrum to the national push to deploy 5G. In recent statements, including a June 26 FCC filing, the firm has insisted that the delay in approval of its request is anchored in Washington maneuver- ing and not the GPS interference issues that hamstrung the plans of its predecessor. "For the past three-and-a-half years, Ligado Networks has worked with industry and government stake- holders on a plan that will finally unlock our lower mid-band spectrum for 5G. We have participated in test- ing, analysis, studies, workshops, reviews, and meetings, and time aer time, we have accepted the burden to resolve concerns by modifying our plan. We have patiently waited for an FCC decision allowing our com- pany to make additional investments that industries here in America so desperately need," said Ligado Networks CEO Doug Smith in a June 25 statement. "But we can only wait so long—especially when we are no longer debating substance—technol- ogy led by the smartphone indus- try resolved that nearly a decade ago—but waiting because of politics. Industries in need of spectrum sim- ply cannot wait any longer. Ligado cannot wait, and the U.S. will not win the 5G race by waiting." To help make the case that it's being delayed by a political prob- lem and not a technical one Ligado pointed to testimony by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai who told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on June 12 that the Department of Commerce "has been blocking our efforts at every single turn" to get more spec- trum for 5G. e agency's opposition, Pai said, could hamper the United States in negotiations expected at the World Radiocommunication WASHINGTON VIEW Conference (WRC) to be held October 28 through November 22 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Convened every four years, these vitally important WRC meetings are where nations hammer out what spectrum will be used for what purpose. e fortunes of companies, even entire industries, can turn on the decisions made there. However, if one digs through the statements, testimony and filings it becomes clear that, while there has been an ongoing argument between the FCC and the Department of Commerce, and there is indeed con- cern it will impact U.S. efforts at the WRC, the matter at hand does not involve Ligado's frequencies. e spat being discussed in the hearing had to do with spectrum in the 24 GHz band and whether broadband sys- tems will interfere with atmospheric sensors used for weather and climate forecasting. Some of those sensors are in the neighboring 23.8 GHz band and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is part of Commerce, believes the impact could be severe. Moreover, though quickly get- ting more spectrum for 5G is at the heart of the FCC's 5G FAST Plan (for Facilitate America's Superiority in 5G Technology) Ligado's frequen- cies are not part of that either. e Commission held a 5G spectrum auction earlier this year for frequen- cies in the 28 GHz band. ere are also plans to auction frequencies in other "high band" portions of the spectrum including frequencies in the 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands. ough the FCC has 5G-related plans for freeing up mid-band spectrum (the bandwidth neighborhood where GPS and Ligado spectrum reside) and low-band frequencies those efforts are focused on the 2.5 GHz, 3.5 GHz, and 3.7-4.2 GHz bands as well as the 600 MHz, 800 MHz, and 900 MHz bands. e FCC is also looking at the 3.1-3.55 GHz band at the direction of Congress. Ligado's spectrum and potential spectrum allocation runs from 1564 to 1680 MHz (see box). at does not mean that the matter can not come up, only that the FCC is focused elsewhere and, in fact, has its plate more than full with other 5G matters. Ligado is trying to put "5G pixie dust on GPS interference and make it go away," Recon Analytics analyst Roger Entner told Communications Daily in June. "I don't think the FCC is going to be swayed by that argument at all." 12 miles or 1 milliwatt In fact, the GPS interference issue has not gone away, said Brad Parkinson, the vice chair of the National Space- Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Advisory Board. "Many other organizations have filed opposition to this (Ligado's proposal) and we in the past have gone on record in writing as unani- mously recommending disapproval," Parkinson told the board at their own June 6 meeting. "Nothing has changed." e PNT Advisory Board comprises the nation's leading experts on satel- lite navigation. ey provide inde- pendent advice on GPS-related policy, planning, program management, and funding profiles to the National Executive Committee for Space-based PNT (the ExCom). e ExCom is a For the past three-and- a-half years, Ligado Networks has worked with industry and government stakeholders on a plan that will finally unlock our lower mid-band spectrum for 5G. " Doug Smith, CEO, Ligado Networks "

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