The Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday announced that he will place a hold on the nomination hearing for the next commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission until the organization commits to overturning a decision to establish a 5G high-speed information network from Ligado.
The FCC earlier this year unanimously approved Ligado’s application to set up the network, despite warnings from defense officials that it could impair other functions on the spectrum — in particular the vital Global Position System (GPS.)
Lawmakers and defense officials have repeatedly demanded that the commission reverse the decision, but Ligado has insisted it has implemented precautions to prevent interference from outside actors and will provide a six-month notice before the system is deployed.
On Tuesday, the panel’s top Republican, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, announced a halt on the nomination of Mike O’Rielly to lead the commission until he promises to overturn the ruling.
“Over the past few months, I have sent letters, held hearings and called countless officials to highlight what we all know to be true: the FCC’s Ligado Order is flawed and will lead to significant harm to our military and the thousands of individuals and businesses that rely on GPS,” Mr. Inhofe said in a statement.
He explained he is “holding Commissioner O’Rielly’s nomination until he publically states that he will vote to overturn the current Ligado Order.”
Mr. O’Rielly has previously said he would give “due consideration to a stay…based on new data or evidence, but Mr. Inhofe said that isn’t enough.
“This isn’t just about our military, but all users of GPS are united in opposition. All of America can’t be wrong, and he understands that,” Mr. Inhofe said. “I need his commitment in plain English to vote to overturn the order, not just consider it, before I will allow his nomination to proceed.”