Ligado Sues U.S. Government for $39 Billion

Says DoD is using spectrum that it has exclusive authority over…

Ligado Networks is suing the U.S. government for $39 billion, saying it has blocked its plans to use assigned spectrum.  The company, in its U.S. Court of Federal Claims legal filings, contends that the U.S. government, in “a multiyear misinformation and disparagement campaign” to conceal its activities, misappropriated the company’s licensed spectrum to support [U.S. Defense Department] systems without permission or compensation.

Ligado’s president and CEO Doug Smith said that the Federal Communications Commission, in a 2020 decision, granted the company exclusive authority over the use and licensing of the spectrum, which operates near that of GPS.

Ligado sues U.S. government over spectrum use (Image: Ligado Networks).

“The DoD misled the FCC, Congress and many others in its unconstitutional taking of our property and ongoing obstruction of our operations and, in doing so, deprived millions of Americans from access to much needed 5G services,” Smith said, in a statement.

In addition, Ligado says that along with the DoD’s actions were supported by the U.S. Commerce Department and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to block the company from developing its allocated spectrum for its proposed terrestrial 5G services.

The battle, because of frequencies close to those used by GNSS receivers, between Ligado and DoD, industry groups and GPS companies has been going on for a decade.  The FCC, on Jan. 19, 2021, voted down a proposal by U.S. government agencies to stop its decision that allowed Ligado to deploy a nationwide mobile broadband network.  At that time, such companies as Lockheed Martin LMT 0.15%↑Iridium Communications IRDM -7.76%↓Air Line Pilots AssociationAssociation of Equipment ManufacturersInternational Air Transport Association and Airlines for America also filed petitions to ask the FCC to reconsider Ligado’s bid.


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