The UK aviation regulator says it is unconcerned about 5G in the C-Band

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) claims it has no reason to assume that 5G services utilising C-Band frequency would interfere with critical aviation equipment, contradicting its American colleagues.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States is worried that 5G networks based on mid-range ‘C-Band’ spectrum might interfere with sensitive devices such as altimeters that use frequencies between 4.2 and 4.4GHz.

Operators in the United States have refuted these claims, but have agreed to a number of steps to assist alleviate the perceived danger, including the establishment of airport buffer zones in 50 places around the country. The FAA has issued safety alerts to airlines and aircraft manufacturers in the meantime.

The danger of 5G in aviation

Other nations’ aviation authorities have mainly ignored the FAA’s position. Although the CAA recognised the FAA’s assessment, it did not feel there was a need to take urgent action, according to a safety alert released last month.

“There have been no documented cases of 5G transmissions affecting aircraft systems in UK airspace,” the CAA revealed. “However, we are working with Ofcom and the Ministry of Defence to ensure that the deployment of 5G in the UK does not create any technical difficulties for aircraft.”

UK operators have likewise taken steps to assuage any concerns. Mobile UK, an industry association, said that C-Band spectrum has been utilised in many other countries without difficulty and that current 5G services have been operational in the UK for many years.

Multiple parties, including the CAA, Ofcom, and the Ministry of Defence, were working together to guarantee there was no interference, according to the statement.

“All health and safety rules are followed by UK mobile network providers, and they interact with a number of businesses on interference,” said Gareth Elliott, Head of Policy and Communications at Mobile UK. “Mobile companies are working closely with aviation authorities to ensure that there is no interference in the UK.”

“We’re aware that the aviation industry is looking into it; we’ve conducted our own technical examination and have yet to find any evidence that would lead us to be concerned,” Ofcom said.

Licenses for mid-range frequencies between 3.4GHz and 4.2GHz are held by all four main UK operators. This spectrum strikes a balance between the low-band frequencies’ range and indoor penetration and the high-band frequencies’ massive capacity.

The spectrum is viewed as vital to the implementation of 5G networks because it would allow operators to expand coverage in rural regions while also increasing capacity in densely populated metropolitan areas.