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Airlines worldwide rush to change flights over U.S. 5G dispute

30 Comments
By JON GAMBRELL

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FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement that the 5G "deployment can safely co-exist with aviation technologies in the United States, just as it does in other countries around the world." However, she urged the FAA to conduct its safety checks with "both care and speed."

Ah, yes. The English Literature major appointed to be FCC chair.

Other countries are using lower power transmission and frequencies not as close to the radar altimeter frequency.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency said it was "not aware of any in-service incidents caused by 5G interference."

Again, not the same 5G system as in the US.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

5G, wow that came out of nowhere (years ago.). Government efficiency at its best. Mayor Pete, looking good here.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

What amazes me is how the FCC was able to stiff arm the DoT, FAA, DoD and NOAA. All four agencies are now facing interference with vital systems such as airport approaches, GPS (the L-band frequencies sold to another 5G firm is right in the middle of the GPS signal, stupid), some military radars and weather satellites.

I think ultimately there are going to be some very expensive lawsuits forcing some 5G carriers into bankruptcy. Sometimes the only relieve is in a courtroom.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

5G C-Band is the best high speed service but I don't want to die of malfunctions by such interference.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

This 5 G is a threat to The United States in terms of it's internal intelligence systems not airports. It's bigger than you think.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Can't even express how asinine this is and perfectly demonstrates how messed up the US is. Why the FCC even wants to allow this is truly beyond belief, big business wins again I guess, the good of the public be damned.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I wonder if there is some back story national security or terrorist threat.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

My question is how are there 20+ flights to/from Japan daily? How full are those aircraft? Are Japanese people coming to the US on business trips knowing full-well that they have to sit in a crappy hotel for 2 weeks once they return?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Why the FCC even wants to allow this is truly beyond belief, big business wins again I guess, the good of the public be damned.

I would not want to be working at either Verizon or AT&T if an airliner crashes and the cause is attributed to their 5G network. I suspect when enough flights have to be cancelled or diverted because aircraft cannot land in the weather at their intended destination due to 5G interference there will be some very big lawsuits being dropped by the airlines. I hope there are some class action consumer lawsuits too from customers whos flights were cancelled, delayed or re-routed to alternate airports.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The heads and executive officers of the FAA and FCC should all be sacked. This is gross incompetence. It has cost sacks of cash and inconvenienced so many people.

They have made the US an international laughing stock.

There are serious penalties for interfering with the safety of aircraft. Why aren't the FBI taking the CEOs of AT&T and Verizon into custody? They would if anyone else did this.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

A Russian, Chinese or North Korean hack of the 5G software??? Electronic warfare soon after biological warfare via coronavirus.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Tim Clark, president of Emirates, told CNN it was "one of the most delinquent, utterly irresponsible" situations he'd ever seen as it involved a failure by government, science and industry.

I'm sure that the airline industry will immediately impose a 5G surcharge to airline tickets to mitigate this "problem." Fees seem to fix all the problems in life.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The heads and executive officers of the FAA and FCC should all be sacked. This is gross incompetence. It has cost sacks of cash and inconvenienced so many people.

Why? The FAA have been fighting this for almost three years now but the FCC stiff armed them. They stiff armed the DoD and NOAA too. There were Senators trying to stop the sale of the bandwidth but there unfortunately were more Senators lining up to support the auction. I vividly remember Mark Esper's exasperation with the FCC as the L-Band frequencies sold to another 5G carrier interfere with GPS and one of the 5G carriers calling him a liar to his face. If anyone should be canned it is the directors on the FCC.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why aren't the FBI taking the CEOs of AT&T and Verizon into custody? They would if anyone else did this.

They can't. It was a legally conducted frequency auction by the FCC. No laws were broken. What needs to happen is the airlines and possibly some passenger groups sue Verizon and AT&T into bankruptcy for the loss of business and added costs imposed on them by this change.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sometimes when you try to be faster, newer, better ... in a poly-centric world ...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

FAA have already tested 2 altimeters and found no problem which covers 45% of all planes... this is just a storm in a teacup

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Desert TortoiseToday 07:32 am JST

Do you have something against 5G? From the description, it doesn't seem the carriers are at fault. At most, they might have lobbied for the best available frequencies, and they got them. You seem to be thinking of high speed communications as the LOWEST priority when it might well be highest.

If there's anyone at fault, it seems to be the FAA, who is making a last minute submission of problems after the time when they were supposed to be discussed. Those altimeters weren't made yesterday.

As it is, the US is already late in the "5G race". I'm not sure whether it's good national strategy to allow it to be further delayed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's really happening, what a mess

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To mitigate airline interference, French telecom providers reduce the strength of their high-speed networks near airports.

Considering that the frequencies they use are said to be already less able to interfere with altimeters.

Issues very well known, including mitigations, how did it come to this situation?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The FAA has neither the funding, nor the people/expertise to test the 5G interference. There is a volunteer advisory group of engineers with the technical knowledge that advises the FAA. They did conclude that there was a possibility of interference because the US 5G uses higher power levels than the rest of the world 5G, plus other countries do not have their 5G frequency as close to the radar altimeter frequency.

The aviation community is asking that 5G towers not be placed within 2 miles of the approach to airports. That's it. It's not about 5G in total.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do you have something against 5G? From the description, it doesn't seem the carriers are at fault.

The implementation of 5G in the US is different than any other nation. The power they intend to use is many times greater than that used in any other nation and that is one of the major problems. The South Korean 5G signal is only 5% the strength of that proposed for the US. It doesn't have enough power to interfere with GPS. Likewise the EU 5G implementation uses much less power and nations like France impose buffer zones around airports that use these CATIII autocoupled approaches. Australia's 5G network uses completely different bandwidth that is far from that used by airliners.

Additionally Ligado was able to convince the FCC to allow them bandwidth right in the middle of the bandwidth used by GPS. Ligado's 5G is going to cause a huge disruption to GPS signals in the US. That affects everything from maritime navigation along the coasts where accurate nav is required for entering or leaving ports in low vis situations. It will affect barge navigation on US rivers. It will affect GPS approaches to airports all over the US. It will disrupt land surveying that now relies almost entirely on GPS. It will also disrupt the military GPS signal, affecting a bunch of weapons, sensors, land vehicles, etc. that currently rely on GPS.

The 24MHz bandwidth assigned for 5G will bleed over into 23.8MHz bandwidth used by weather satellites to determine how much water is in the atmosphere. 23.8MHz is the only frequency that can be used for this task. Allowing 5G to use 24MHz will degrade weather forecasting, reducing accuracy by over 70% according to NOAA.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The root cause is the FCC is inept and the inmates are running the asylum.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

f there's anyone at fault, it seems to be the FAA, who is making a last minute submission of problems after the time when they were supposed to be discussed. Those altimeters weren't made yesterday.

Without lengthy quotes the FAA, DoD and NOAA have been fighting the newly assigned 5G bandwidth for many years. It isn't just aircraft altimeters that are affected. It's GPS and Earth sensing satellites, particularly weather satellites that use 23.8 MHz to measure water in the atmosphere. There have been proposals the last three years to add a prohibition to the Ligado bandwidth, which falls right in the middle of the GPS signal, to the annual Defense Appropriations Act. Unfortunately even with hearings and testimony from top Air Force officials, Senators tend to support Ligado and not the DoD. They have not so far been able to get that rider into a Defense Appropriations Act and GPS will be the next to suffer. I generally hate using Wikipedia but in this instance they cover the objections and the technical facts behind them well. Scroll down the article to Concerns Electromagnetic Interference . For someone like me involved in defense aerospace this problem is not new and what is happening now is not a surprise. Congress and the FCC has stuffed up in a very big way and yet there are FCC commissioners even today who claim there is no problem with their frequency assignments and allowed power levels, and their position has enough support in Congress to prevail.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Considering that the frequencies they use are said to be already less able to interfere with altimeters.

The rest of the world is using different frequencies that are farther from those used by aircraft radar altimeters. The rest of the world uses less power too so there is less chance for bleed over. The US system is unique in the frequencies assigned to 5G and they are much closer to those used by other systems than other nations are allowing for their 5G networks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's big pharma broadcasting covid to the people of the world. It's a conspiracy I tell you, a conspiracy.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And the rules have always been that any device encroaching on a frequency used and approved by another device must move. It is not the responsibility of the existing frequency user to change anything.

The FCC used to be a technical agency ensuring standards of operations, now it is an auction house run by the industry. The government already took in billions of dollars and isn't going to give it back.

Again, 5G is different in the US. Apples and orange. No other country has their low power 5G frequency as close to the radar altimeter frequency.

5G is NOT used within two miles of airports in the EU and other countries. Only in the US do the carriers want to use it within 2 miles.

This also affects helicopters flying in low visibility and is important to medical evacuation helicopters getting in and out of difficult locations and hospital landing pads that can be in the middle of cities.

This is squarely on the shoulders of an incompetent FCC in the US.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This also affects helicopters flying in low visibility and is important to medical evacuation helicopters getting in and out of difficult locations and hospital landing pads that can be in the middle of cities.

And as a bonus the FCC sold Ligado a chunk of 5G bandwidth that overlaps the GPS signal. All the thousands non-precision GPS approaches to airports all around the US and GPS navigation will be disrupted. That particular bandwidth is not yet activated for 5G but it is coming and the disruption it causes will make the current problem look very minor in comparison.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Desert TortoiseToday 12:10 am JST et al

Thank you for your information. It is very interesting but it is still not clear why you think the telecoms companies should be parties of any lawsuits even if the unfortunate does happen. Everyone wants those frequencies (or neighboring ones) and it is the job of government to decide which of the many needs have priority. The government (FCC, specifically), rightly or wrongly, decided that the telecom people have the best case and allocated them those freqs. Maybe this administrative decision should be judicially reviewed, but companies should be able to rely on the governmental permit and standards. Unless they bribed people or made serious misrepresentations in their submissions to get their win, for which there as yet seems no evidence to be the case.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Unless they bribed people or made serious misrepresentations in their submissions to get their win, for which there as yet seems no evidence to be the case.

Their technical submissions claim there will be no interference. The airlines, FAA, aircraft manufacturers, military and NOAA all claimed multiple times there will be interference. Ligado in particular publicly called the Secretary of Defense a liar when he pushed for Congress to stop the bandwidth auction as it would interfere with GPS and some military radars that use overlapping frequencies. I agree the FCC commissioners should be sued for the losses incurred by their decisions, but Ligado, AT&T and Verizon are also responsible for using a technology they were told interfered with aviation. No other nation has this problem even though the aircraft and runway equipment are the same all over the world. In every other country the 5G tech uses different bandwidth and lower power transmitters.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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