TR Daily Ligado Urges FCC to Deny NTIA’s Stay Request
Friday, May 29, 2020

Ligado Urges FCC to Deny NTIA’s Stay Request

Ligado Networks LLC urged the FCC today to deny the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s request to stay its Ligado order pending review of NTIA’s petition for reconsideration asking the Commission to rescind, or at least to modify, approval of Ligado’s license modification request to deploy a nationwide broadband terrestrial network in the L-band (TR Daily, May 26).

“NTIA’s remarkably thin filing fails by a wide margin to meet its burden to demonstrate that the ‘extraordinary remedy of a stay’ is warranted here,” Ligado argued in its opposition in IB dockets 11-109 and 12-340.

“First, NTIA is unlikely to prevail on the merits of its Petition for Reconsideration. The 72-page Order was the culmination of the Commission’s ‘extensive review of the record’ generated during a comprehensive, multi-year proceeding, in which NTIA actively participated,” Ligado said. “In light of the ample notice and opportunity to comment that the Commission provided NTIA, its complaints regarding process are meritless and not a basis for reconsidering the Order. NTIA’s substantive arguments, which merely reiterate arguments that the Commission has already meticulously considered and rejected regarding alleged harmful interference with GPS devices, fare no better. At bottom, NTIA simply disagrees with the Commission’s expert judgment and its decision to rely on its existing rules as opposed to adopting NTIA’s preferred new approach to analyzing interference issues, and those bald claims fall far short of meeting the high bar for granting reconsideration.

“Second, NTIA effectively concedes that it will suffer no imminent irreparable injury—meaning ‘proof’ of irreparable injury that ‘is certain to occur in the near future,’” Ligado continued. “NTIA admits that Ligado’s system will not become operational for a period as long as eighteen months. Pet. at 3. Putting aside that NTIA’s alleged injuries are contrary to the extensive record, even on NTIA’s own theory those injuries would only occur after Ligado’s network commences operations, and so by definition those purported injuries are not ‘certain to occur in the near future.’ In short, the status quo is that no energy that could affect GPS devices will be generated by Ligado’s terrestrial network; by NTIA’s own admission, that status quo will continue for an extended period of time. In light of this, NTIA’s request for the extraordinary relief of a stay turns routine policy disagreements into a request for a lockdown of the FCC’s process and puts at risk progress on spectrum developments that hinder 5G and destabilize FCC decision making. Ultimately, NTIA has failed to establish imminent irreparable injury, the ‘single most important prerequisite’ for issuance of a stay.

“Third and finally, issuance of a stay would harm both Ligado and the public interest,” the filing maintained. “A stay would needlessly hamper Ligado’s ability to make progress on important preliminary work items that are necessary to deploy the spectrum for 5G and have long lead times. Moreover, the Commission has explained that Ligado’s network will provide extensive benefits to the public, by unlocking the benefits of advanced communications technologies for customers and businesses, including 5G. A stay would thus unnecessarily delay the ‘significant public interest benefits associated with Ligado’s proposed ATC [ancillary terrestrial component] network and deployment.’” —Paul Kirby, [email protected]

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