“The Department of Defense has reported it could cost billions to upgrade, repair or replace the equipment and systems impacted by Ligado’s plan, but the DoD does not have the money to do that, and it shouldn’t be forced to spend taxpayer money to fix problems Ligado causes. That’s why I authored provisions in this year’s annual defense bill that would make it clear: By law, the DoD will not be on the hook for the damages Ligado causes to its equipment and systems.” ............. Sen. Jim Inhofe
Ligado investors should be scared of its future.
By: Sen. Jim Inhofe 2 days ago
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. (Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
By now, it shouldn’t be any surprise that I oppose the decision by the Federal Communications Commission to approve Ligado Networks’ application to repurpose low-band spectrum for a terrestrial commercial network that will interfere with GPS and satellite communications signals.
What is surprising, however, is that after my push to dispel the Ligado lies, Ligado still has investors willing to bet big on them.
In October, the Wall Street Journal reported that Ligado, which went bankrupt in 2012 after a failed effort to repurpose its spectrum, needed to refinance $4 billion in debt to prevent bankruptcy and gave plum offerings and high returns to hedge fund investors to do so. Having survived one bankruptcy, Ligado will do anything to make sure its Wall Street hedge fund and private equity investors make money — even when it would jeopardize the signals supporting our national and economic security that Americans rely on every day.
Ligado has an agenda — and it’s a scary one. Just think about what activities GPS and satellite communications signals support across the nation. Our troops rely on them for equipment used on the battlefield, farmers rely on them to harvest their crops, and truckers and airlines rely on them to move supplies and people safely; the list goes on and on.
FCC unlikely to change course on Ligado decision
Comments from commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel gave hope to Ligado's opposition, but that hope appears fleeting.
By: Aaron Mehta
Since its decision, made on a Sunday in April, I’ve been sounding the alarm, and Ligado has been spending tons of cash on lobbyists to try and silence me. So far in 2020, Ligado has spent more than $3 million to lobby members of Congress. And while it has been busy trying to block my efforts to undo the FCC’s decision, my expectation is that Ligado has not communicated to its investors the massive risks they face.
That’s why I’m writing here. For anyone considering an investment in Ligado, I have a free piece of advice: buyer beware.
Sure, the FCC approved the Ligado order back in April, but there are eight separate petitions to reconsider the order pending right now. They are signed by 22 private sector organizations and 14 federal agencies represented by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, or NTIA. I believe these petitions will be successful in completely repealing Ligado’s permission slip to create interference. Even if they are not, there are three additional strikes that should make any investor fear for their investment.
Ligado’s plan will be detrimental to our nation’s GPS and everything that relies on it. Ligado has claimed the three major GPS manufacturers (Trimble, Garmin and Deere) support Ligado’s plans, pointing to settlement agreements signed in 2015. In fact, these settlement agreements were to resolve lawsuits filed by Ligado! Each GPS manufacturer has publicly stated its settlement agreement is not an endorsement of what Ligado wants to do, nor can it be used as evidence that Ligado will not cause interference to the GPS devices it manufactures. Strike one.
The Department of Defense has reported it could cost billions to upgrade, repair or replace the equipment and systems impacted by Ligado’s plan, but the DoD does not have the money to do that, and it shouldn’t be forced to spend taxpayer money to fix problems Ligado causes. That’s why I authored provisions in this year’s annual defense bill that would make it clear: By law, the DoD will not be on the hook for the damages Ligado causes to its equipment and systems.
FCC and Ligado are undermining GPS – and with it, our economy and national security
"We expect the FCC to resolve Department of Defense concerns before moving forward, as required by law," the Big Four defense authorizers write in this commentary. "If they do not, and unless President Trump intervenes to stop this from moving forward, it will be up to Congress to clean up this mess."
By: Sen. Jim Inhofe, Sen. Jack Reed, Rep. Adam Smith, Rep. Mac Thornberry
Furthermore, Ligado — and any other company that may seek to purchase Ligado — is prohibited from contracting with the DoD if they cause interference with the important signals used by the DoD’s equipment and systems. As of this writing, the defense bill has passed both the House and Senate with broad, bipartisan majorities. It will shortly become law. Strike two.
Finally, the Senate confirmed Nathan Simington to the FCC. Simington is the right choice for the FCC. He supports overhauling Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to end Big Tech’s censorship of conservative voices on social media platforms. He most recently served as an adviser at the NTIA, which has coordinated all the federal agencies’ efforts to articulate the dangers of Ligado’s plan, including in filings with the FCC. He appreciates that in approving the Ligado order in April, the FCC steamrolled over objections from 14 separate government agencies — all responsible for ensuring safety-of-life operations dependent on GPS and satellite communication signals.
Nathan Simington knows the process was broken and will make sure the FCC does a better job of engaging with federal agencies in the future. Strike three for Ligado’s future.
Investors need to decide for themselves if they can trust Ligado’s future viability — but I doubt it has been forthcoming about the reality of what’s happening in Washington. If it has not disclosed these three strikes, what else might it be hiding? Three strikes should be enough to show investors that they shouldn’t trust Ligado with any more capital.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The coalition of geospatial organizations, including NSPS is working diligently to stop the recent approval of Ligado to begin operations on the radio spectrum adjacent to GPS. For more information, click the link below and be sure to check out the Ligado Tab at the top of the page.
March 30th, 2020
I’ve been talking with NOAA and USGS to corroborate on the 3DEP Lidar availability.
When I started using the newest USGS 3DEP Lidar for Florida a month ago, I noticed the newest Lidar for Florida wasn’t lining up and finally figured out that they were using Albers projection.
I contacted Kirk Waters at NOAA and asked him if he could add the USGS 3DEP Lidar to their website which is much more flexible in the format downloads. He contacted Jason Stoker at USGS and between the two of them they made this corroboration happen.
Jason mentioned “they briefly considered using Albers CONUS scheme for 3DEP so that all data would be in a single CRS for the entire Country with a goal to offer transformations from Albers to whatever on the fly. The argument was that we were a National program, but were operating more as a clearinghouse, with dozens of different CRS and unit combinations across the US, which makes big-picture assessments and combining disparate datasets together more difficult. This effort was short lived, and the main champion of it left USGS, so we decided to revert back to having all data delivered to us be in the best local coordinate system. Unfortunately the Florida project of interest was one of those few contracted for as an Albers-only trial.”
I’m happy to announce the USGS 3DEP Lidar & DEM’s is now available on the NOAA Website in FL SPC systems, and NOAA will also be adding the New SPCS in 2022 when they become available.
Many may have received the digital newsletter from Point of Beginning today and did not
notice the editors pick in the email that David Newcomer's summation from this year's Geospatial Summit hosted by NGS was featured. For you that may not know, David is an active member of the Geospatial Users Group and a retiree of NGS. He was the NGS Advisor for the State of Florida up until his retirement. David is an excellent representative of the group and has a great depth and knowledge of geodesy that is a substantial benefit to the Users Group, which is evident from his featured article. We are honored that he represented the Geospatial Users Group at the Geospatial Summit and his efforts are being showcased.
The role the members and officers of the Geospatial Users Group plays in the geospatial community is vital to necessary involvement in setting guidelines and policies for which we all will be impacted. You can be involved in this by joining or participating in the group. The group is made of volunteers who all have the goal of education and outreach, you can be a part of this process.
David Newcomer, PE, PLS, and former NGS Advisor for the State of Florida and Geospatial Users Group member and contributor offered to attend the meeting on behalf of the group this year. Mr. Newcomer submitted the following report regarding the Geospatial Summit below in the Download Section. He attended the 2019 Geospatial Summit on May 6-7, 2019.
Our members have wide-ranging backgrounds and career paths that made them become members of the Geospatial Users Group. We look to showcase our members and what background they have and how it benefits the group as a whole.
The group is comprised of a three member board, President, Vice-President and Secretary. They represent the members of the group and work on outreach. There are quarterly meetings held throughout the state of Florida with participation of those interested in the group.
The Geospatial Users Group is a group within the Florida Surveying and Mapping Society that was formed over 20 years ago as the GPS Users Group. Today with the convergence of so many professional uses of GNSS based applications the group was redefined as the Geospatial Users Group.
Join us at one of the upcoming quarterly meetings. Check the calendar for more information
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