5G no issue for aircraft in Australian airspace

There’s no sign of 5G interference in Australian aviation.

There has been recent debate in the US around the impact of 5G signals and aviation safety which may leave people wondering whether there is a similar issue in Australia.

As Australia’s aviation safety regulator, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has advised that the debate is a local issue for the US. Australia has well-established processes for considering how to balance the needs of different spectrum users and protect services such as the radio altimeters used by aircraft.

The concern held by the US aviation industry is that current network planning arrangements for 5G technologies can affect the operation of radio altimeters used to measure the height of aircraft above the ground. In the US, radio altimeters operate within the 4.2-4.4 GHz range, and 5G networks are or will operate in an adjacent band in the 3.7-3.98 GHz range. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is continuing to investigate this issue in the US.

In Australia, both 4G and 5G wireless broadband services have been operating in the 3.4-3.7 GHz band since 2016 and 2019 respectively, which is well below the frequencies used for radio altimeters. There haven’t been any recorded incidents of wireless broadband systems interfering with radio altimeters to date.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) continues to work collaboratively with industry to examine how wireless broadband services, including 5G, and aircraft radio altimeters, can successfully co-exist in nearby frequency bands as part of its planning process for the 3.7 4.2 GHz band.

5G regulations vary from country to country and are subject to the operation of local laws. While 5G may be considered new and cutting-edge, the science underpinning this technology has been rigorously researched by scientists in Australia and around the world for decades.

Australians can be assured that 5G is researched, regulated and safe.

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