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GPS coalition asks White House to fix Ligado/5G chaos

GPSIA logoThe GPS Innovation Alliance (GPSIA) sent a letter on Feb. 16 to the White House National Economic Council, asking it “to look at ways to fix the interagency chaos over 5G airwaves that plagued the Trump era,” said J. David Grossman, GPSIA executive director.

“Such fights still haunt the incoming Biden administration and came up repeatedly during the confirmation hearing for Commerce secretary nominee Gina Raimondo,” writes Grossman on behalf of the GPSIA. “Biden’s FCC and executive branch will have to consider whether there are better ways to resolve such turf wars.”

“For example, in the Ligado case, despite the stated objections of 13 federal agencies and departments, the FCC proceeded independently, ignoring expert federal agencies whose missions and responsibilities include management, operation, and reliance upon GPS.”

Panel on risks to sat services

GPSIA’s J. David Grossman will be speaking Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. ET, in a panel discussion entitled “Satellite-Based Services at Risk?” Other speakers include former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell; Capt. Steve Jangelis, representing the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA); and Susan Avery, former president of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Register here.

The coalition, which counts Garmin and John Deere among members, was ensnared in the dispute between Trump executive branch agencies and the FCC over whether the commission’s Ligado approval decision in 2020 would scramble GPS.

In the letter to NEC Director Brian Deese, the group argues that these squabbles “are not unique to GPS” and “reflect a continued pattern by which shared decision-making is replaced by the FCC acting with exclusive authority as the final arbiter.”

GPSIA recommends that the council

  • update a memorandum of understanding between the FCC and Commerce Department to help ease decision-making;
  • install a detailee from federal agencies managing GPS in the FCC’s engineering office; and
  • have each FCC commissioner add a technical adviser to its staff.

The letter concludes, “GPSIA and its members stand ready to be a resource to the NEC and others in the Administration seeking to more efficiently allocate spectrum, while protecting critical incumbent systems and services.”

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