5G Deployment Concerns FAABy Emilio Aristegui | Tue, 12/28/2021 - 17:10
The inevitable deployment of 5G wireless technology across the US has raised concerns for aircraft operations, as the FAA continues to thoroughly assess the risks for the aviation industry.
“This Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) informs aircraft manufacturers, radio altimeter manufacturers, operators and pilots of the planned deployment of wireless broadband networks in the 3700-3980 MHz bands (C-band). C-Band wireless broadband deployment is permitted to occur in phases with the opportunity for operations in the lower 100MHz of the band (3.7-3.8 GHz) in 46 markets beginning as soon as Dec. 5, 2021. However, the FAA does not expect actual deployment to commence until Jan. 5,2022,” reads an FAA Aviation Safety report.
The SAIB recommends radio altimeter manufacturers, aircraft manufacturers and operators to provide special information regarding altimeter design and functionality and usage specifications on deployments of radio altimeters in aircrafts while testing their equipment in collaboration with federal authorities. Even though the sharing of this information was deemed as ‘voluntary’, federal authorities must collect as much information as possible to continue regular operations in the aviation industry, while results must be reported to the appropriate civil aviation authorities (CAAs) and spectrum regulators.
Boeing’s CEO Dave Calhoun and Airbus Americas CEO Jeffrey Knittel already sent a joint letter asking US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to postpone AT&T and Verizon’s deployment of the newest C-Band spectrum 5G wireless arguing that 5G interference could affect the aircraft’s ability to operate, severely affecting the aviation industry. Both CEOs stated that if the FAA’s 5G directive was in effect in 2019, 345,000 passenger flights and 5,400 cargo flights would have faced delays, diversions or cancellations, as reported by MB.
The FAA reported that its collaborating with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) by assessing the need of mitigation in a further investigation. The FAA states that it is currently conducting a risk assessment to analyze if there needs to be a more detailed investigation. The administration has published recommendations for radio altimeter manufacturers, aircraft manufacturers and operators and pilots.