Image: RNT Foundation
We really don’t want to become your one stop shop for the latest news on this long running controversy.
On the other hand, there continues to be a lot to talk about. And it is clear that lots of our readers are interested in significant developments.
Two recent items from Congress:
Senate Armed Services Committee
The committee has released a summary of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2021. It includes the following language on page 8:
The bill protects critical national security equities and outlines a path forward following the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) misguided decision to approve Ligado Networks’ request for bandwidth for a terrestrial-based cellular network, that put critical GPS signals at risk. As our warfighters rely on these signals, the bill prohibits the use of DOD funds to comply with the FCC Order on Ligado until the Secretary of Defense submits an estimate of the costs associated with the resulting GPS interference, and directs the Secretary of Defense to contract with the National Academies of Science and Engineering for an independent technical review of the order to provide additional technical evaluation to review Ligado’s and DOD’s approaches to testing.
We were among the first to propose having an independent body like the National Academy of Engineering take a look at the issue. This bill seems like a good idea, though details matter. We will have to see how the bill is actually written before we opine.
Senate Commerce Committee
The committee held a hearing on Tuesday on reconfirmation of an FCC commissioner, confirmation of a senior official at the Department of Transportation, and confirmation of another at the Department of Commerce. Part of the event turned into a debate over Ligado.
Here is a video of the hearing, the last ten minutes or so of which was given over to conflicting opinions on the Ligado decision.
Also, the site Multichannel.com reported on the exchange.
In this case, the field of verbal battle was FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly’s confirmation hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee Tuesday (June 16).
The FCC has already unanimously granted the Ligado proposal (formerly LightSquared), so long as it meets various conditions, but that hasn’t stopped critics on the Hill and in the Trump Administration from slamming the decision.