US satellite communications company Ligado Networks appeared to make headway in a long-running effort to launch a 5G network for industrial IoT services, as Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai backed a heavily amended deployment plan.
Pai proposed the Commission approve Ligado Networks’ bid to deploy service using 40MHz of spectrum between 1.5GHz and 1.6GHz, subject to conditions intended to protect GPS users in adjacent bands from harmful interference.
In a statement, Pai said such a move is in the public interest, “would make more efficient use of underused spectrum and promote the deployment of 5G and IoT services”.
Bloomberg reported a decision might be made in the coming weeks.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration and other government agencies strongly oppose licence approval, arguing Ligado Networks’ plan would negatively impact military use of GPS.
Though he acknowledged these concerns, Pai expressed confidence the planned conditions would prevent harmful interference.
He noted Ligado Networks agreed to drastically reduce transmission power levels and use 23MHz of its own spectrum as a guard band.
Ligado Networks would also be required to report its base station locations and operating parameters to potentially impacted parties before beginning operations, and rapidly respond to reports of interference.
Inevitably, top brass at the company were pleased: in a statement, president and CEO Doug Smith said it looked forward to “engaging with the other commissioners to drive” the process forward, urging the FCC to “make this a reality as soon as possible”.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back