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Sen. Inhofe Blocks O’Rielly FCC Nomination Over Ligado Decision 

By Rachel Jewett | July 29, 2020
      Federal Communications Commission. Photo: FCC

      Federal Communications Commission. Photo: FCC

      Oklahoma Republican Senator Jim Inhofe has placed a hold on the nomination of Mike O’Rielly to be FCC Commissioner over the FCC’s recent Ligado decision. Inhofe announced Tuesday that he has placed a hold on the nomination until O’Rielly publicly commits to vote to overturn the Ligado order.  

      In April, the FCC unanimously approved Ligado’s application to deploy a low-power terrestrial nationwide network in the L-band to support 5G and Internet of Things services (IoT). This decision has been hotly contested over concerns that such a network could negatively interfere with Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. The U.S. Department of Defense, members of Congress, Iridium, Lockheed Martin, the GPS Innovation Alliance (GPSIA) and various industry groups have all spoken out against the order. 

      In his statement, Inhofe said the Ligado order is “flawed and will lead to significant harm to our military and the thousands of individuals and businesses that rely on GPS.” 

      “I am holding Commissioner O’Rielly’s nomination until he publically states that he will vote to overturn the current Ligado Order,” Inhofe said. “I understand that O’Rielly has stated that he would give ‘due consideration to a stay’ ‘based on new data or evidence’ – but 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.”

      O’Rielly was nominated for a seat on the FCC by President Barack Obama in 2013. In January 2015, he was confirmed and sworn into office for a second term. If approved, this new five-year term would retroactively begin from July 1, 2019 and end in June 2024.