The FAA Must Stop Holding Up 5G | Citizens Against Government Waste

The FAA Must Stop Holding Up 5G

The WasteWatcher

Let 5G be 5G.  Consumers, businesses, and taxpayers should all be able to get the full benefits of 5G everywhere in the country at the same time.  But once again, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is holding up 5G deployment around airports.  There has rarely been a more ridiculous Chicken Little sky-is-falling, planes-cannot-land outcry.  The last-minute histrionics are especially egregious since the agency failed to make its case during the nearly two years of debate, discussion, and technical analysis of using c-band spectrum for 5G on towers near airports.

The Federal Communications Commission listened to and went beyond the request made by Boeing for a 100 MHz guard band by creating a 250 MHz guard band between the 5G portion of the c-band and the band used by the aviation industry for its avionics.  Yet it was not until November 2021, the month when 5G was supposed to be deployed, that the FAA raised its concerns about potential interference issues.

In more than 40 countries, 5G towers have been deployed and the networks have been turned on in and around airports, without any disruption to flights.  The two major winners of C-band spectrum, AT&T and Verizon, have been incredibly accommodating and patient, and indeed today announced they would further delay deploying their networks around several airports, although the exact number is not yet known.

The FAA is the latest in a long line of agencies that include the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and Department of Commerce, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which have interfered in proceedings for 24 GHz, 5.9 GHz, 2.5 GHz, 3.1-3.55 GHz, L-band, and 6 GHz.  It is past time for the FAA to take its head out of the sand and agree that 5G should be turned on everywhere across the country.  Every day of delay makes the United States look less like a global leader on 5G (giving countries like China an opening to take the lead) and more like a country that cannot get its sclerotic bureaucracy out of the way of much-needed progress. 

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