Interference from 5G is causing airline CEOs sleepless nights and, probably for the first time, scaring a group of them into warning against launching 5G within two or three miles of runways.
Your immediate reaction might be, “Why didn’t they bring this up before AT&T and Verizon flipped the switch on ‘real’ 5G deployments?” It might be that the data was only just in, but it does seem a last minute reaction.
If interference from 5G is really a ‘thing’ then the ramifications could be extremely serious.
The aviation industry in the US is famously cautious, and rightly so. They were the ones that first insisted that drones be tightly regulated around airports. As such, they have a reputation for spoiling the party for others.
AT&T and Verizon point to the fact that halting 5G deployments has only happened in the US, and no other regime has reported problems, certainly no crashes. The difference is that the C Band spectrum auctioned in the US is a higher frequency than elsewhere and the concern is that it will affect altimeters and mean that automated landings will not be possible, impacting landings in bad weather.
One problem is that, now this is out there, all those groups who believed that every new ‘G’ was going to fry your brain, crash your car and allow signals from aliens to get through will pick up on this and say that interference from 5G is an immediate danger to humanity – and take to the streets.
Interference from wireless signals is, of course, a constant issue. As our airwaves get clogged up, interference will occur. Many devices, from pacemakers to TVs have been affected over the years and, as frequency technology moves further and higher beyond the good old days of Longwave, interference will get worse.
It is a difficult issue for governments and revolves around the thorny problem of risk and reward. Essentially, what price do you, as a government, put on a human life (or an airplane full of human life)?
If a plane were to crash as a result of interference from 5G, it would be a catastrophe – of course – but it would have knock-on effects on how we deploy technology across the world. And the ripple effect would be huge, too. For instance, autonomous cars would be unable to operate close to airports – autonomous taxis probably being one of the most sensible use cases.
Let us hope that interference from 5G or any other G is not going to cause significant issues for airlines or anyone else – otherwise progress in many areas will be badly affected.