Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation Rick Larsen (D-WA) have written to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) expressing safety concerns with the telecom industry’s plan to utilize the band of spectrum between 3.7 and 4.2 GHz, or the C-band, for 5G broadband service.
Specifically, the Members called on the FCC to provide the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with sufficient data to conduct a robust assessment of the risks to aviation safety presented by use of the C-band for 5G broadband service, as well as prohibit any use of the C-band for 5G until the FAA has conducted a robust risk assessment and has concluded either that no mitigations are necessary or that all necessary mitigations are in place.
In their letter to FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, the Members wrote: “The FCC’s and the telecom industry’s approach of ‘deploy now, fix later’ is anathema to the strong safety culture we have created and nourished in aviation over the last 20 years. In aviation, we never roll the dice with safety. We never run headlong into a possible hazard to the safety of flight without a full and complete assessment and mitigation of those risks.”
The Members continued: “Technical analysis by aviation industry experts has confirmed both the likelihood of harmful 5G interference with radio altimeters and the potential that such interference will result in accidents. The FAA at least implicitly acknowledged this risk in a recent safety bulletin issued to the aviation community on November 2, 2021…The aviation industry analysis put it in starker terms: the proposed wireless services in the C-band could cause ‘catastrophic failures leading to multiple fatalities.”