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NATA Applauds 5G Standdown

Industry Org Says Postponing Rollout Provides Necessary Time to Mitigate Aviation Impact

National Air Transportation Association released its position regarding the recent contention regarding 5G network launches, applauding the choice. The NATA stressed its long standing support as part of a strong coalition of aviation entities worried about the risks of radar altimeter interference. 

“NATA is encouraged that the telecom companies recognize the potential effect of 5G services on the nation’s aviation infrastructure. Even this brief amount of additional time will allow stakeholders to better characterize and mitigate the impact. Recognizing the relief is temporary, discussions swiftly continue as work remains to determine a path forward,” said NATA vice president of regulatory affairs, John McGraw.

NATA will continue to lend its voice to the conversation, and, given the brief respite inherent to a 2-week pause, their inclusion is almost sure to continue. The activation of 5G is currently slated for January 19, 2022, with AT&T and Verizon both agreeing to limited transmission output near priority airports. That solution is derived from French aeronautical actions successfully put into effect after their 5G rollout, and hopefully will provide stakeholders sufficient data to analyze any interference should it be present. 

NATA’s voice has been a part of the warning choir since the earliest frequency auction, signing an industry letter in December 2020 following the sale of the 3.7-4.2 GHz spectrum. That letter requested that the FCC suspend the auction prior to completion, “in order to resolve likely interference issues with radar altimeters prior to the auction”. That input went unheeded, but the industry has to make do with what victories they can get. The industry only began to troubleshoot the problem in earnest in the weeks leading up to the initial 5G activation date, when the FAA issued airworthiness directives that will restrict radar altimeter usage in regions designated by NOTAM. 



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