Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., has introduced the Recognizing and Ensuring Taxpayer Access to Infrastructure Necessary for GPS and Satellite Communications Act, or the RETAIN Act, which would require Ligado, an American satellite communications company, to compensate all GPS and satellite communications users affected by its new 5G services.
In 2020, the FCC decided to allow Ligado to provide 5G services, although the spectrum and frequencies it planned to use for the 5G services would interfere with the reception capability of GPS devices.
The controversial FCC ruling only mandated that Ligado compensate the federal government for interference. The FCC’s decision will adversely affect day-to-day activities like using a credit card or cellphone, as well as military operations, aviation, and the economy at large, Inhofe argued on the Senate floor.
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Inhofe also said the agriculture industry would be adversely affected because farmers and ranchers “depend on GPS and satellite communications when planting crops, applying fertilizer, and during harvesting operations to move large and critical machinery with precision.”
Senators Jack Reed, D-R.I., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Mike Rounds, R-S.D., are all co-sponsors of the bill, and 80-plus organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, also back the bipartisan legislation.
A letter signed by AFBF and the other organizations said the bill “acknowledges the harm to GPS and satellite communications end users caused by the Ligado order and ensures the burden of cost sits squarely where it belongs — on Ligado, rather than our first responders, farmers, pilots, boat owners, surveyors or construction companies.”
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