FCC finally grants Ligado permission to use L-band spectrum for 5G, IoT

17 Apr 2020

Ligado Networks – the company which emerged from ill-fated open-access 4G start-up LightSquared in February 2016 – has finally been given the go-ahead by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to utilise its L-band spectrum for 5G. FCC chairman Ajit Pai circulated a draft order to his colleagues that would approve with conditions Ligado’s application to deploy a low-power terrestrial nationwide network in the L-Band. Ligado is now only seeking terrestrial use of the 1526MHz-1536MHz, 1627.5MHz-1637.5MHz and 1646.5MHz-1656.5MHz bands, and Pai notes that adjacent band operations, including the Global Positioning System (GPS), are protected from interference.

Chairman Pai commented: ‘After many years of consideration, it is time for the FCC to make a decision and bring this proceeding to a close. We have compiled an extensive record, which confirms that it is in the public interest to grant Ligado’s application while imposing stringent conditions to prevent harmful interference.’

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in February 2012 the FCC declared that LightSquared’s use of non-traditional frequencies in the 1.4GHz and 1.6GHz bands interfered with GPS satellite navigation devices and aircraft flight safety equipment. Subsequent months saw the stricken company beset with myriad financial and legal problems, before being forced into bankruptcy in May 2012. LightSquared emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late-2015 and duly rebranded as Ligado Networks, with a view to targeting the IoT sector.