Five years on, the company has recapitalized and re-emerged with a new name, Ligado. It has hired deft policy players and is making deals to mitigate conflicts. Notably, it has lowered the power of its emissions and has volunteered to leave its frequencies neighboring the GPS band quiet. To offset this capacity loss, it seeks to gain access to other spectrum now set aside for sparsely used and easily replaced applications. Ligado has asked the FCC to sell those rights to the highest bidder.
Yet regulatory impediments continue to block progress. Years after the L-Band spectrum was slated for productive use in 4G, it lies fallow—now delaying upgrades to 5G…
This familiar impasse in the political spectrum begs for correction. The FCC should let Ligado use satellite licenses for cellular services. It should also permit competitors, including Ligado, to bid for new L-Band spectrum rights. Remaining border disputes should be consigned to binding arbitration, not allowed to sandbag progress in open-ended skirmishing. This would move radio spectrum out of oblivion and into the mobile broadband networks craved by consumers, innovators and the U.S. economy. Just like the National Broadband Plan called for in 2010.
Read the full op-ed at the Wall Street Journal.