FCC Denies Request for Stay of Ligado Authorization
Wednesday, January 20, 2021 | Comments

The FCC denied a request for a stay of its decision to authorize Ligado Networks to deploy a low-power terrestrial nationwide network. The request was made by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

In April, the FCC approved Ligado’s application to deploy its network in the L-band despite a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommendation to deny the application. In May, the NTIA filed a petition to stay and reconsider the Ligado order. In that petition, the NTIA argued that there could be irreparable harm if Ligado begins building out its network. Also in May, a bipartisan group of senators sent a letter criticizing the authorization, arguing that the approval did not provide enough protection for critical GPS usage and satellite communications in the band.

“Although NTIA itself concedes that Ligado ‘does not expect to commence the contemplated service within the next 18 months, NTIA nevertheless asks the commission to stay the order,” the FCC’s order denying the stay said. “We deny the stay petition.”

NTIA had argued that a stay would give time to develop a metric for measuring interference to critical GPS operations in the band.

“We find that the extraordinary equitable relief of a stay is not warranted,” the order said. “First, NTIA itself argues that the harmful interference issue it raises will not likely arise until after Ligado deploys its network. Such deployment will not occur for some time and not before the commission has an opportunity to rule on the petition for reconsideration and to reach a determination as to whether NTIA’s claims justify barring this deployment or otherwise modifying its underlying order.”

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