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Govt panel to discuss 5G deployment concerns near airports


Govt panel to discuss 5G deployment concerns near airports

A government panel led by Principal Scientific Adviser Ajay Kumar Sood has been assigned to look into and resolve the issue surrounding the rollout of 5G services in and around airports. The focus of these discussions will be on concerns related to aircraft and passenger safety.  


This decision comes in the wake of the lack of consensus on timelines for replacing obsolete aircraft radio altimeters, a crucial device providing vital altitude information during landings in low visibility conditions. A radio altimeter operates in a bandwidth of 200 MHz in the frequency band 4200 MHz to 4400 MHz. Despite the DoT auctioning spectrum in the 3300-3670 MHz band for 5G, concerns persist about interference due to the wider frequencies caught by the current outdated altimeters in aircraft. 


A broader panel has been constituted to "address the 5G matter".


While discussions between the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), telecom companies, airline operators, and aircraft manufacturers have been ongoing, the issue has remained unresolved for over a year. 


As a temporary measure in November 2022, the DoT barred mobile operators from installing any 5G sites in the 3,300-3,670 MHz band within 2.1 km of airport runways. This was done to avoid potential interference with aircraft radio frequencies and was intended to be in place only until the replacement of aircraft altimeters. 

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