5G and Aviation. We Have Answers.
This year, America’s wireless providers will begin using a set of radio waves called ‘C-band spectrum’ for 5G networks.
Nearly 40 countries around the world safely use C-band spectrum for 5G networks and these radio waves operate safely and without causing harmful interference to aviation equipment. C-band spectrum is critical to ensuring that all Americans benefit from 5G.
“Even though 5G has already been deployed in several States around the world, we are not aware of any reported occurrence that relates to possible interference originating from 5G base stations.”
— European Union Aviation Safety Agency
Why is it important that 5G networks use C-band spectrum?
C-band spectrum is a set of radio waves, also called mid-band spectrum, that are uniquely suited for 5G networks. These radio waves allow 5G networks to deliver high speeds over a wide geographic area. A recent study by Boston Consulting Group estimated that 5G networks will add $1.5 trillion to America’s economy and create 4.5 million new jobs over the next decade, while enabling the development of a variety of new services such as driverless cars and remote healthcare. Every six-month delay in 5G deployment costs our nation’s economy $25 billion in economic benefits over the next decade, risks America’s competitiveness, and jeopardizes our ability to ensure global 5G leadership.
How do we know that it is safe for 5G networks to use C-band spectrum?
Nearly 40 countries are already safely using these and similar radio waves for 5G and other wireless services, at similar power levels. The Federal Communications Commission studied this issue for three years and adopted a substantial protective barrier that separates 5G C-band signals from aviation signals. This separation is more than twice the size of the separation used in networks that exist today in other countries and twice as large as the barrier requested by some aviation organizations in the FCC record. In fact, initial deployments in the U.S. will have even further separation—four times the amount as seen elsewhere in the world.
Some aviation groups and the FAA have argued that 5G in the C-band could cause harmful interference with aviation equipment. Is that true?
No. All available evidence—including existing 5G networks that use this spectrum in countries around the world and actual flight testing that was conducted on this very issue—show that 5G networks using these radio waves do not interfere with aviation equipment.
What is your response to a study published by RTCA and promoted by aviation groups and the FAA, which claims 5G in the C-band could interfere with aviation equipment?
The study makes assertions that are not supported by any verifiable data and that are completely contradicted by safe, real-world deployments of 5G in the C-band in countries around the world. In addition, the report’s testing methodology is flawed. To cite one example, aviation equipment operating to manufacturer specifications that is already in use today would fail this test—even without 5G operating in the C-band.