SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4)- The 5G technology scheduled to roll out on Wednesday uses frequencies in a radio spectrum called the C-band. These frequencies can be close to those used by safety equipment in aircraft that provide information about an aircraft’s distance from the ground.
“But there is a gap. There’s a frequency separation of more than 200 Mhz,” says Cenk Gursoy, a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at Syracuse University.
5G technology is already being used in several countries across the world. But according to the Federal Aviation Administration website, the U.S. airspace is the most complex in the world, and the deployment of 5G technology in other countries often involves different conditions than those proposed for the U.S.
“So the airline industry is saying that this is too close for comfort, and we need to have a better understanding of what happens in practice, but the wireless industry is saying that’s a very big gap so normally if everything is working properly, this should not be too much of a concern,” says Gursoy.
Due to the concerns from the aviation sector, telecommunication companies agreed to delay 5G operations near key airports around the country. The FAA also released a list of 50 airports that will have 5G buffer zones. The Salt Lake City International Airport is not one of them.
“It’s something the airlines are looking at with the FAA to determine what type of aircraft may be impacted specifically,” says Nancy Volmer, a spokesperson for the airport. Volmer says what the impact might be local won’t be known until it’s already happening. “This is something the Salt Lake City international airport is keeping an eye on and we’re working with our airline carriers and the FAA to determine what kind of impact this may have.”