Plane-Crash Risk Seen Rising on FCC Expansion of 5G Spectrum


By Todd Shields, Alan Levin, and Helene Fouquet December 7, 2020, 7:31 PM GMT+2Updated on 

  • Study warns of interference with electronics on airliners
  •  FCC says use of airwaves is safe and will open auction Tuesday

A plan to redeploy spectrum for super-fast 5G wireless networks is sparking concern among aviation safety experts that it could result in interference with the electronics on aircraft, potentially leading to crashes.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to begin an auction on Tuesday for airwaves in the so-called C-band frequencies that are used by satellite providers but the agency wants to re-assign for 5G. The agency says the sale is an important step in maintaining U.S. leadership in the next generation of wireless service.

But some fear that assigning the frequencies to ground transmitters near airports that will be used for 5G networks could interfere with electronics used by aircraft as they land.

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