Safety concerns about potential interference with radio altimeters on aircraft vehicles were put on hold last year. A committee representing the aviation industry has now called for these restrictions to be permanently extended.
The second chapter of the infamous clash between two main government institutions has begun.
The widespread use of cable and fiber-based TV services saw satellite television''s effective demise. That allowed the frequencies previously used for those broadcasts to be freed-up for another use.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided that the frequencies were suitable for 5G use, and has auctioned off the rights to use them. Verizon and AT&T have jointly spent $68 million on buying the rights to what was then called the 5G C-band.
After the event, another government authority, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), reportedly discovered this phenomenon. It stated that there was a risk of 5G C-band spectrum being interfered with radio altimeters.
Onboard airplanes and other aircraft, radio altimeters respond to a radio signal from the ground and time the return signal to determine the altitude of the plane. This is considerably more accurate than pressure-based altimeters, and it is used during the final approach and landing. It plays an important role in poor visibility.
The FAA had expressed concerns about the possibility of C-band interference since 2015, but it appears that the agency did not directly disclose these issues until very late in the day.
The result was a very public and wacky conversation between the two. It seemed obvious that only older radio altimeters were at danger, and there was limited evidence even for them. A series of proposed compromises and delays, an eventual agreement was reached, imposing limited 5G C-band restrictions around 50 major airports. This allowed the aviation industry until July 2023 to check their older aircraft, and updating radio altimeters as required.
Limits on 5G airports might be permanently lifted.
The rules have now been changed, according to a body representing the aviation industry.
A legal company representing Aviation Spectrum Resources, Inc. (ASRI) has sent a letter to the FCC, which was itself informing the FCC''s views. Specifically, a number of aviation bodies and businesses have met earlier this month.
The letter reveals that the temporary limitations appear to have no bearing on it and asks for them to be made permanent.
While simultaneously ensuring aviation safety and establishing a viable RF environment, prohibiting antennas pointing 90 degrees above the horizon and lowering wireless harmful emissions in the 4200-4400 MHz band will not harm wireless operators'' actual use cases.
Verizon told CNET that its discussions with the Federal Communications Corporation are continuing, and progress is being made. The carrier did not directly respond to the ASRI letter.
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