UPDATE A coalition of aviation groups recently increased its opposition to Ligado Networks’ plans for a 5G network through bands that have been used for aviation communications.
The group, which includes groups such as the Airline Pilots Association, Airbus, Honeywell and the Aerospace Industries Association, cited a “real threat of harmful interference” from Ligado’s plans. The group again called on the FCC to reconsider its approval.
The aviation petitioners asked the Commission “to redress the failure” of its Report and Order “to take into account critical record evidence of harmful interference to radio altimeters certified by the FAA as safety-critical systems operating in the 4.2-4.4 GHz band from prospective flexible use operations in the 3700-3980 MHz range. Sound spectrum management required the Commission, in light of the evidence record and its own policies and stated intentions of protecting incumbents, to conduct a complete assessment of the issue before setting the technical and operational parameters for flexible use operations,” the group stated in its agency filing.
The decision “in favor of ‘no action’ regarding the protection of radio altimeters and seemingly requiring the aviation community to ‘protect thyself’ from harmful interference was not supported by the evidence and sharply contrasts with other actions taken in this very proceeding to protect other incumbent adjacent band operations,” said the group. “Even more surprising, the Report and Order requires the aviation community to bear the burden themselves of solving any interference problems caused by new entrants who are disturbing the radio frequency environment in which radio altimeters have operated and benefitted the flying public for decades,” notes the aviation petitioners.
The group wants the FCC to make it clear that flexible use licensees, as new entrants, must resolve and correct any harmful interference caused to radio altimeters and adopt quickly any mitigation measures necessary before the auction in the 3700-3980 MHz begins.
Ligado intends to deploy a ground and satellite-based network on L-band, with a guard band in-between it and GPS licenses, used by the military, businesses and consumers. The aviation petitioners, as well as the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and several executive branch agencies, including the Defense and Transportation departments, say the approval will cause “irreparable harm” to GPS.
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