The dispute between the aviation and telecommunications sectors over the use of C-band spectrum for 5G continues. After rejecting the most recent FAA call not to roll out network in the new spectrum, Verizon and AT&T have stepped back and agreed to another 2 weeks of delay.
While the FCC has approved the use of the spectrum, in November the FAA acted on industry warnings and officially objected saying it was possible that 5G could interfere with some airline equipment. More specifically, altimeters that use nearby spectrum as they land and take off might not work correctly due to interference, despite the guard bands put into place to prevent this problem.
Experts in the two industries disagree whether those bands were big enough, and somehow everyone managed not to resolve the problem over the past 2 years since the auction for the spectrum. Other countries have managed to do it, but this time the various bureaucrats and watchdogs seem to have fumbled the ball. Maybe having those meetings in person rather than over zoom would have helped? Who knows.
Anyway, the latest delay of 2 weeks runs through January 19th, during which the FCC and others will race to better quantify the interference risks. The issue has been simmering since summer without much progress, but hopefully now the necessary focus has been achieved.
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