Airline Industry’s Repeated Attempts to Skirt the Spectrum-Allocation Process for 5G Is Bad for All Concerned, Says ITIF

January 17, 2022

WASHINGTON—Representatives of the commercial airline industry called on the Biden administration Monday to block any 5G wireless transmission within a two-mile radius of airport runways, even though the FCC has already addressed the industry’s concerns about potential interference with airplanes’ radio altimeters by imposing a large guard band between 5G services and airline systems. In response, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the leading think tank for science and technology policy, released the following statement from ITIF’s director of broadband and spectrum policy, Joe Kane:

Effective spectrum policy requires everyone to take responsibility for the functioning of their wireless systems and work cooperatively to ensure harmful interference does not endanger lives or property. It is disappointing that airlines are now, for the third time in three months, seeking to postpone others’ deployment, despite having had almost two years to ensure their altimeters could operate safely under the rules set under the guidance of capable FCC engineers.

While not everyone gets their preferred outcome in administrative proceedings, it is important for all players to follow the established advisory process to resolve interference disputes. Attempting an end-run around the established federal process for spectrum allocation is bad for wireless consumers and airline passengers alike.

The Biden administration should stick to the president’s statement that envisioned January 19 as the end of these extra-procedural delays.

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Airline Industry’s Repeated Attempts to Skirt the Spectrum-Allocation Process for 5G Is Bad for All Concerned, Says ITIF