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DoT to release report for 5G networks around airports addressing DGCA’s concerns

The departments of aviation and telecommunications will soon release a strategy to guarantee secure aircraft operations near airports using 5G airwave infrastructure. The plan calls for telecom companies to build up infrastructure for 5G networks in the nation away from airports’ flight paths, transmitting low-power signals there, and upgrading all planes operating in the nation’s airspace by August 2023, according to top sources.

These are anticipated to be included in the operational guidelines that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is creating in response to worries raised by India’s aviation authority regarding potential interference from 5G signals that could jeopardise the safety of aeroplane operations. In order to guarantee safe aircraft operations, the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) unveiled a strategy in June.

The Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) wrote to the telecom department in September to express concerns regarding potential interference between aircraft radio altimeters and 5G C-Band spectrum. A radio altimeter is a device that gives various aircraft systems immediate height-above-terrain information. The fact that these altimeters and some 5G cellular services operate in the mid C-Band frequency band is the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) main source of worry. The Federation of Indian Pilots, which represents 6,000 pilots, wrote to the Civil Aviation Ministry earlier this year to express similar concerns.

The C-Band creates a sweet spot for telecom service providers to roll out 5G services since it ensures coverage and high capacity, both of which lead to faster internet speeds. The use of altimeters in this band ensures extremely accurate measurements of the altitude of the aircraft. Compared to flight altimeters, 5G terrestrial transmissions typically operate at a very high power level.

According to a senior government official, “The DoT is virtually finished with a SOP for 5G networks around airports and has indicated that it would meet all of DGCA’s concerns.” In order to prevent interference with aircraft altimeters, it is anticipated that 5G facilities will be placed a little farther away from airports and their signal strength would be reduced.

Additionally, several planes being flown in India employ outdated altimeters, which airline firms will be compelled to upgrade. The manufacturer has requested time to update these gadgets until August 2023, according to information obtained by The Indian Express.

Other industries have also expressed the concern of interfering with other services. Broadcasters have reported a number of “disruptions” due to the rapidly shrinking guard band between 5G telecom and broadcast services, which has raised fears about potential interference and outages once nationwide full-scale 5G service launches. Scoopearth

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