Ligado Amends Applications to Protect Aviation GPS Receivers
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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Ligado Amends Applications to Protect Aviation GPS Receivers

Ligado Networks LLC today filed an amendment to its license modification applications before the FCC to protect certified aviation receivers in the wake of a Transportation Department report released last month on its GPS adjacent band compatibility assessment. Under the amendment, Ligado agreed to limit its power in the 1526-1536 megahertz lower downlink band.

“Today’s FCC filing further demonstrates our commitment to protecting GPS and to being a responsible spectrum neighbor as we prepare to deliver 5G and IoT connectivity to the industries that keep America running,” a Ligado spokesperson said. “Ligado’s filing to reduce the power levels in the downlink honors the pledge the company made in 2015 to protect certified aviation GPS receivers. Today’s filing underscores our resolve to find solutions that work for both GPS and wireless services. Ligado is poised to deploy 40 MHz of mid-band spectrum to support our nation’s critical infrastructure and help the U.S. in the global race to 5G.”

In a cover letter filed with the amendment in IB docket 11-109, Ligado said that the amendment “ensures that Ligado’s proposed ATC operations will fully protect certified aviation GPS receivers, including the helicopter use case which the DOT found to be the most restrictive of the certified aviation device applications. The other evidence in the record, including the test results from the National Advanced Spectrum and Communications Test Network study and from the Roberson and Associates testing as well as the co-existence agreements with the GPS device manufacturers, establish that other GPS devices can co-exist with Ligado’s proposed operations. Ligado is also committed to providing specific mitigation measures (including but not limited to upgrading or replacing government devices) to address concerns about potential impact on U.S. Government devices and expects a requirement to this effect.”

Ligado urged “the Commission to act on the Modification Applications expeditiously, thus unlocking billions of dollars in consumer benefits, generating thousands of American jobs and advancing U.S. leadership in spectrum technology.”

“As amended, the Modification Applications would: (1) consistent with the Department of Transportation’s analysis in its recently released adjacent band compatibility study, require that Ligado’s ATC base stations operating in the Lower Downlink Band not exceed an EIRP of 9.8 dBW (10 W) with a +/- 45 degree cross-polarized base station antenna (an additional reduction of more than 99.3% from the nominal 32 dBW EIRP maximum set forth in the Modification Applications), (2) prohibit any Ligado ATC base station antenna in the Lower Downlink Band from operating at a location less than 250 feet laterally or less than 30 feet below an obstacle clearance surface established by the Federal Aviation Administration (under 14 C.F.R. Part 77 and its implementing orders and decisions), and (3) require Ligado to comply with the reporting, notification and monitoring obligations set forth in Exhibit 1 to the amendment.”

There was no immediate comment on Ligado’s filing from the GPS Innovation Alliance, and the Aerospace Industries Association had no comment.

“CCA agrees with Ligado’s comments that mid-band spectrum offers important opportunities for deploying next generation technologies, and I encourage the FCC to make as much spectrum available as possible for commercial use,” said Steve Berry, president and chief executive officer of the Competitive Carriers Association, which counts Ligado as a member. “The overwhelming consumer demand for wireless connectivity and next generation technologies including 5G have made it more important than ever for the FCC to look at every opportunity to free up additional spectrum where possible. There is no question – access to additional spectrum will benefit the economy, competition and most, importantly, consumers, and we need access to more spectrum now.”- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

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