In last week's Liberty Update, we highlighted the Heritage Foundation's 2022 Index of Economic Freedom…
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Image of the Day: More Economic Freedom = Higher Standard of Living

In last week's Liberty Update, we highlighted the Heritage Foundation's 2022 Index of Economic Freedom, which shows that Joe Biden has dragged the U.S. down to 22nd, our lowest rank ever (we placed 4th in the first Index in 1995, and climbed back up from 18th to 12th under President Trump).  As we noted, among the Index's invaluable metrics is how it demonstrates the objective correlation between more economic freedom and higher citizen standards of living, which this graphic illustrates:

 …[more]

May 19, 2022 • 12:53 PM

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Wireless Carriers Press Forward Against Aviation Bureaucrats on 5G Rollout Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, January 06 2022
[T]he arguments against the new 5G rollout contravene both science and real-world experience.

Federal government incompetence, bureaucratic intransigence and crony capitalism are nothing new, and we’re already witnessing more of each as 2022 begins.  

Private industry standing up against that incompetence, intransigence and crony capitalism, however, mark a refreshing and all-too-rare break from the norm.  

At issue is a needless and damaging standoff between the Pete Buttigieg-led Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and aviation industry on one side versus the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and wireless industry on the other side, with the FCC and wireless industry holding the decidedly meritorious position.  

Specifically, the standoff involves a new type of faster 5G wireless service that marks an important advance in the nation’s ongoing 5G rollout, and an eleventh-hour effort by the aviation industry and FAA to further delay that rollout despite years of comprehensive study and final approval from the better-informed FCC.  

The new type of 5G service employs a set of radio waves known as C-band spectrum, or sometimes referred to as mid-band spectrum, that are particularly suitable for 5G networks.  That band of spectrum allows 5G networks to deliver higher service speeds over a broader geographical area, which thereby allows expanded 5G service across the United States.  

Last year, the federal government auctioned off the C-band spectrum at issue, which raised $80 billion for the federal treasury and drew applause from the same Biden Administration that now expresses objection.  That auction also followed years of study by the FCC, which determined that use of that band by wireless carriers posed no threat to domestic aviation.  Accordingly, wireless providers were set to launch the new 5G service this week.  

In tardy fashion over recent weeks, just as the wireless carriers approached launch after years of preparation, the FAA suddenly sought to intervene in an area outside of its expertise by contesting the FCC’s determination.  The FAA dubiously contends that 5G could somehow interfere with radio altimeters that pilots use to ascertain altitude in certain conditions, and then last week Secretary Buttigieg wrote the wireless providers in an attempt to halt the 5G rollout.  

In response, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr dismantled Secretary Buttigieg’s assertions in a letter this week, itemizing why those eleventh-hour claims are meritless:  

The FCC authorized those C-Band operations pursuant to a detailed regulatory regime that the Commission adopted over 660 days ago in a thorough, 258-page document…  The FCC – the expert agency charged by Congress with addressing precisely those types of concerns about harmful interference – resolved these issues all the way back in March 2020 in the 258-page decision referenced above.  After detailed analysis, the FCC determined that the comprehensive rules and regulations it adopted for C-Band operations will protect aeronautical operations from harmful interference…  As part of the FCC’s determination, the Commission placed a massive guard band between wireless C-Band operations and radio altimeters.  Indeed, the FCC’s guard band is roughly two times as large as the one that certain aviation stakeholders originally proposed.  But the protections do not end there.  For one, the relevant guard band will be roughly twice as large as the prophylactic one the FCC determined to be sufficient in its March 2020 decision because the relevant wireless providers will only be operating in the lower portion of the C-Band.  For another, the wireless carriers agreed in November 2021 to additional measures that go above and beyond those determined necessary by the FCC to protect altimeters, including lowering their power below the levels authorized by the FCC and essentially curtailing their C-Band operations in broadly defined areas near airports.  

Commissioner Carr further exposed the falsity of Secretary Buttigieg’s claims by highlighting the experience of other nations using the same C-band in question:  

Furthermore, the FCC’s thorough analysis rests on more than the expert scientific and engineering analysis of the agency’s career staff.  It is backed up by the aviation industry’s own experiences in the real world.  C-Band operations have been live in nearly 40 countries, including ones that have authorized C-Band services at higher power levels than the FCC or in closer spectral proximity to radio altimeters without any reported instances of harmful interference.  

Accordingly, the arguments against the new 5G rollout contravene both science and real-world experience.  

Fortunately, the wireless providers have refused to cave to those arguments.  Although they agreed in the spirit of cooperation to delay the new 5G service rollout an additional two weeks, they’re nevertheless pressing forward.  

It’s not often that private enterprises stand up against the increasingly arbitrary and rogue federal bureaucracies.  America’s wireless carriers, however, have taken a strong stand against Pete Buttigieg’s transportation bureaucrats and their crony capitalist minions in their attempt to stifle 5G rollout.  

We should applaud them for it, and wish them prompt success.  

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