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Canada Limits 5G Around Aviation Facilities

October 14, 2021 – The questions surrounding the interference of 5G wireless network signals to aviation radar instruments and guidance has been initially addressed in Canada, as authorities proposed restrictions on 5G service near most major airports in that country.

Similar to in the U.S., Canadian telecommunications companies in July had acquired spectrum licenses to begin 5G service, which increases speed and bandwidth of wireless communications. The Canadian restrictions propose exclusion zones around airport runways where no 5G base stations are permitted plus protection zones where 5G services face restrictions.

The concerns from the Canadian government mirror those by a cross-section of aviation groups and even government agencies in the U.S., where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had allowed an $81 billion auction of spectrum frequencies to telecommunications companies. EAA is involved with other aviation groups, avionics and aircraft manufacturers, and frequency spectrum experts in technical and governmental action regarding the potential safety hazards of the 5G frequencies, asking the FAA to get involved as part of its mission of aviation safety.

“The precedent set in Canada supports the arguments the aviation community, and even governmental entities such as the Department of Defense, regarding the potential safety implications of 5G interference to aviation,” said Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety. “We have been urging FAA to be more involved regarding this matter because of these very real safety concerns.”

EAA was one of the aviation organizations that last December asked the Federal Communications Commission to postpone its spectrum allocation auction so potential safety hazards could be further studied. The FCC declined and held the auction over the objection of airlines, commercial cargo carriers, and the Pentagon.

The FAA scheduled a technical meeting with aviation groups this week between the industry coalition and the agency and is conducting high-level interagency meetings across government and the White House in an effort to reach a government-wide response to the aviation safety concerns.

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