May 27, 2020

Garmin, International, Inc. earlier this month wrote the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to add its voice to the individuals and organizations already expressing concern over the FCC’s April 2020 approval of a new 5G wireless broadband cellular network proposal offered by Ligado, formerly LightSquared.

In its May 15 message to the agency, the company states, in part: “Garmin has been consistently vocal in expressing its concerns about the ability of its certified aviation devices to function as intended in the presence of interference from Ligado, enumerating the ongoing and serious safety risks that Ligado’s terrestrial network poses to such devices and the safety-of-life services provided by Garmin’s customers that utilize them. The FCC’s apparent peremptory dismissal of these well-documented concerns is troubling.”

Review the Garmin Ex Parte Presentation (PDF)

Last week, NBAA joined with several industry groups in expressing similar concerns in a petition requesting that the FCC reconsider its approval for Ligado’s proposed network, which will operate near frequencies used by GPS for aviation communication and other purposes. In its petition the group notes that not only has Ligado not sufficiently demonstrated an ability to avoid interference with those networks, but that FCC’s approval was handed down in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, dramatically limiting the ability for public comment on the matter.

Review the industry groups’ petition (PDF)

Heidi Williams, NBAA director for air traffic services and infrastructure, welcomed Garmin’s input, adding: “The concerns raised by this legendary company, and numerous other organizations, should give cause for the FCC to take notice. GPS is a central component of the nation’s aviation system, including its role in supporting Next Generation technologies like ADS-B. We will continue to call upon the FCC to reconsider its approval for Ligado’s plan as a common-sense approach to operational safety and security.”

Others who signed the petition with NBAA included the Aerospace Industries Association; Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; Airlines 4 America; Aviation Spectrum Resources, Inc.; Cargo Airline Association; General Aviation Manufacturers Association; Helicopter Association International; International Air Transport Association and National Air Transportation Association (NATA).