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Feds identify Indy airport as 'buffer zone' for new 5G technology

New C-band service launches Jan. 19
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Posted at 2:53 PM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 11:50:48-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis International Airport is on a list of 50 airports federal officials have identified as “buffer zones” when wireless companies turn on new 5G C-band service on Jan. 19.

C-band technology is expected to give Verizon and AT&T 5G customers wider coverage and higher speeds.

The wireless companies agreed to turn off transmitters and make other adjustments near these “buffer zone” airports for six months to minimize potential 5G interference with sensitive aircraft instruments used in low-visibility landings, according to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Airlines for America, an advocacy organization for the airline industry, urged AT&T and Verizon to delay their planned 5G C-band deployment around certain airports.

“Safety is and always will be the top priority of U.S. airlines,” Airlines for American said in a statement. “We will continue to work with all stakeholders to help ensure that new 5G service can coexist with aviation safely.”

The buffer zones are meant to reduce the risk that an airplane’s instruments could be impacted by interference from the 5G technology.

The FAA sought input from the aviation community where the proposed buffer zones would help reduce the risk of disruption.

Traffic volume, the number of low-visibility days and geographic location factored into the selection, according to the FAA.

As WRTV has reported, an Indiana state senator is concerned about the impact 5G technology could have on air travel in and out of Indianapolis.

PREVIOUS | State senator concerned about 5G impact on air travel

Many airports are not currently affected by the new 5G deployment, even though they are not on the list.

Examples of these airports include Denver International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

For other airports, 5G towers are far enough away that a natural buffer exists, according to the FAA.

“These include airports not in the 46 markets where the new service will be deployed and airports that do not currently have the ability to allow low-visibility landings,” a statement from the FAA read. “The FAA continues to work with the aerospace manufacturers and wireless companies to make sure 5G is safely deployed and to limit the risk of flight disruptions at all airports.”

Other buffer zone airports on the list include Chicago’s Midway, Miami, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Orlando and other large cities.

Aircraft will be required to have an altimeter, or instrument that measures altitude, that has been proven to be accurate and reliable in the U.S. 5G C-band environment, according to the FAA.