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Posts Tagged ‘5G’
December 22nd, 2021 at 9:30 am
AEI’s Bret Swanson: “The Federal Aviation Administration’s Embarrassing Attempt to Put 5G Wireless on ‘Airplane Mode’”
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In recent months CFIF has highlighted the destructive way in which the aviation industry and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continue to unreasonably oppose deployment of super-fast 5G wireless in the U.S., placing us at an alarming technological and economic disadvantage globally.

Our friend Bret Swanson at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) just added his own expert perspective of the needless delay due to the FAA’s laughable suggestion that “planes might fall from the sky”:

Nearly 40 nations already have networks operating in the mobile C-band frequencies, and planes are doing just fine.  What’s more is that the US has an extra layer of protection in the form of a wider guard band — more than 200 MHz of empty space between the mobile radio and airplane frequencies.  This safety buffer is far more than most nations employ.  The US military also employs radar technologies close to the altimeter band that pump out radio waves at 10,000 times the power of the commercial mobile C-band radios.  Again, no problems.

The wireless and aviation industries — and their regulators — have discussed these technical matters for years, and the resolution enshrined in the FCC’s C-band auction rules was more than sensible.  The aviation industry has even been boasting about the possibilities 5G wireless will bring to flight operations.”

Swanson adds an interesting note on the potential cronyism and territorialism that may explain this stubborn opposition:

Many seasoned observers think the aviation industry is really looking for Washington (i.e., taxpayers) to buy them new altimeters to replace the old ones now operating in most of the fleet.  Delay 5G with scary ‘falling planes’ rhetoric, then back off when the new equipment is promised.”

He concludes by nicely summarizing what’s at stake here:

Delays aren’t free, however.  5G is now, with the internet, a fundamental platform for the entire economy.  Delays in the most important component of 5G — this huge addition of new spectrum and thus capacity and capability — would push back all kinds of economic activity in smartphones, transportation, smart infrastructure, advanced manufacturing and construction, and much more.  The FAA’s antics also threaten to upend well-functioning spectrum auctions and investment incentives…  The mobile internet has been the most powerful and successful facet of the US economy over the last decade.  Putting 5G on ‘airplane mode’ would be economically devastating.”

Well said, and hopefully the relevant authorities take heed of Swanson’s warning sooner rather than later…

 

December 10th, 2021 at 5:06 pm
Aviation Industry and FAA Continue to Needlessly Fight U.S. 5G Rollout
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We recently sounded the alarm on how the domestic aviation industry and overly-protective Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are unreasonably fighting deployment of super-fast 5G wireless service here in the U.S.:

The FAA’s immediate complaint centers on middle frequency C-Band spectrum, which is crucial to the full deployment of 5G in the U.S.   The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the agency with the actual expertise and experience necessary to decide spectrum issues such as this, has spent years studying the potential for 5G interference with aviation and has determined that establishing a 220 megahertz “guard band” around the portion of the C-Band aircraft use will more than protect them.  The FAA has nevertheless decided to intervene in an area outside of its expertise, and contests the FCC’s determination.”

We further emphasized how there’s zero experience or substantive evidence to suggest any interferrence threat they are claiming.  5G base stations are already in place in the U.S. and 40 other countries, with no incidents of interference.  Any threat would’ve become evident by now.

Nevertheless, wireless companies AT&T and Verizon offered compromises to resolve this needless standoff, limiting some of their 5G wireless services for 6 months to allow regulators to review the data that confirms no threat to aviation service.  The FCC itself called the carriers’ compromise “one of the most comprehensive efforts in the world to safeguard aviation technologies.”

But apparently even that’s not enough, as reported by Reuters:

The U.S. aviation industry said on Monday new precautionary measures offered by AT&T and Verizon Communications were insufficient to address air safety concerns raised by the planned use of C-Band spectrum for 5G wireless.  The Aerospace Industries Association said in a letter to Federal Communications Commission chair Jessica Rosenworcel that the telecom plans ‘are inadequate and far too narrow to ensure the safety and economic vitality of the aviation industry.'”

Apparently, when it comes to 5G deployment, nothing will satisfy the FAA, which continues to be more concerned with protecting its bureaucratic turf by erecting dubious hurdles than allowing the launch of critical U.S. 5G networks. 

Every additional delay of this sort places us at a greater and greater disadvantage versus China, which presses forward without this sort of bureaucratic turf warfare.  American consumers, elected leaders and government officials mustn’t tolerate this.

April 22nd, 2019 at 1:09 pm
WSJ Urges Regulators to Approve T-Mobile/Sprint Merger
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We at CFIF have steadfastly highlighted the consumer benefits of the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger, and cautioned the federal government against any pointless and destructive objection to the deal.  In today’s Wall Street Journal, its editorial board encourages the Department of Justice (DOJ) to move forward on the deal:

The Justice Department lost its lawsuit to block AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner.  Yet now the antitrust cops are holding up T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint even though it could give AT&T more competition in wireless.  What gives?

A year ago, T-Mobile announced plans to acquire Sprint for $26 billion in stock, yet the merger is still stuck in government antitrust purgatory.  The Federal Communications Commission keeps pausing its 180-day shot clock on the merger review to let staff and third parties dig through documents to trash the deal.”

The piece goes on to neatly summarize the benefits the merger would bring:

With more than 100 million customers, the new T-Mobile would be a stronger competitor to Verizon Wireless (118 million) and AT&T (94 million).  It would also offer a broader mix of spectrum that would improve service.  T-Mobile boasts low-band spectrum that increases coverage in rural areas.  Sprint is sitting on mid-band spectrum that can transmit more data at higher speeds in urban areas.”

Simply put, it’s time for regulators to approve the merger to release the fruits that it promises.

June 13th, 2018 at 3:01 pm
In Good News for Consumers, Federal Judge Rejects DOJ Attempt to Block AT&T/Time Warner Merger
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In a decision that came as no surprise but nevertheless merits celebration, a federal judge yesterday rejected the Justice Department’s needless lawsuit attempting to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner.

Whenever federal bureaucracies seek to disrupt functioning markets by prohibiting mutual agreements between two willing parties, they carry a heavy burden of proof to establish impending consumer harm.  In this case, the opposite was true – the federal government’s needless interference, not the proposed acquisition, would result in consumer harm.  Accordingly, Judge Richard Leon ruled that Justice’s allegations “do not come close to answering the question before the Court.”

So why is yesterday’s ruling important going forward?  Hopefully, it provides federal bureaucrats an abject lesson against future destructive campaigns of a similar sort.

As one immediate example, consider the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint announced recently.  Although the T-Mobile/Sprint proposal involves characteristics unique to it, it offers the consumer market similar sorts of benefits.

Namely, T-Mobile/Sprint prospectively offers an enhanced array of consumer services in comparison to what is available today.  For example, the two current companies’ differing but complementary assets would create a new network with enhanced capacity, wider coverage and more effective wireless performance for customers than currently exists.  It also promises network upgrades, lower prices and job creation.  In particular, the proposed merger offers significant potential benefits through deployment of the first 5G wireless network in the U.S.

Through that $40 billion investment in 5G, consumers will enjoy data delivery at a lower cost, and the incentive for competitors to similarly lower prices to consumers.  That will also prompt market competition to expand spectrum in rural areas in addition to urban centers, as well as capacity improvements for consumers.

That’s how market competition works.  A T-Mobile/Sprint merger and its 5G deployment would also mean billions in new private infrastructure investment and countless new jobs.  In contrast, the absence of a T-Mobile/Sprint merger would mean slower deployment of a 5G nationwide network, and the absence of a market competitor of greater scale.  Ultimately, that means consumers would lose.

The Trump Administration has demonstrated to date how deregulation can turbocharge the economy and benefit American consumers.  That logic applies with added potency to the ever-evolving telecommunications market, and the Justice Department should learn its lesson and refrain from future needless interference that will only cost consumers and trigger embarrassing legal defeats.