Aviation Groups Ask Biden To Block 5G in C-Band

A 5G graphic
(Image credit: Dong Wenjie via Getty Images)

With the clock ticking down on the January 5 launch of 5G in the C-band spectrum, a coalition of aviation interests is calling on President Biden to intervene to stop the launch by AT&T and Verizon.

“Time has run out and it’s imperative that the White House intervene today to delay the imminent rollout of C-band 5G signals," they told the White House.

While Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg over the weekend called on AT&T and Verizon to delay the launch, they have declined but have taken extra steps to mitigate concerns, they said. They also point out that they have already delayed since December 5 over the same issue, and that the FCC concluded that wireless could operate in the C-band and still protect aviation systems.

But the associations assert that while they have been working "for years" on a solution that would benefit all parties while still protecting key aviation tech from potential interference from 5G -- specifically radio altimeters operating in adjacent spectrum --"the FCC, AT&T and Verizon have been unwilling to participate."

Aviation interests petitioned the FCC to stay its decision to allow the rollout, asking for a response by Monday (January 3). The FCC had not indicated any decision by press time, but the government was essentially closed down by a major snowstorm.

Also: Wireless Cos. Say Airlines' C-Band Petition Is Baseless

"We respectfully call on President Biden to intervene and delay the full implementation of C-band 5G until proper risk assessments have taken place and crewmembers are fully briefed as to the extent of the disruptions," the associations said.

Groups joining in the call for presidential action included the Aerospace Industries Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Airports Council International – North America, Experimental Aircraft Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, International Air Transport Association, National Air Carrier Association, National Business Aviation Association,
Regional Airline Association. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.