The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) will work with Australia’s aviation sector and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to make sure expanded 5G services are safe for aircraft.
CASA is collaborating with ACMA on mitigation measures to make sure potential interference to radio altimeters (radalts) from 5G is minimised, and that the rollout of wireless broadband, including 5G, in the mid-band range (3.7-4.0GHz) will impact air safety as little as possible.
“We have consulted on how new wireless services in the 3.4–4.0 GHz range could be introduced, including approaches for managing potential interference issues with radio altimeters,” said ACMA in a statement.
“The planned arrangements already included a frequency separation of 200 MHz between wireless broadband (such as 5G) and radio altimeter services.”
While radalts operate in the 4.2-4.4GHz range, and mid-band 5G transmissions have been introduced in several jurisdictions already without causing issues, there have been concerns about potential interference particularly during takeoff and landing.
Wireless broadband deployments in the 3.7-4.0GHz range will be restricted around runways and approaches at 21 airports around Australia where radalts are used, with limits also placed on power and unwanted emissions, said CASA.
“We do not expect to impose operational limits on air operators during this interim period. However, operators will need to upgrade radalts that do not meet minimum performance levels before the interim period ends,” a spokesperson said.
“We will liaise with industry about the applicable performance standards for radalts and available options for upgrading.
“CASA is monitoring developments internationally as 5G is rolled out and we are confident the interim measures put in place by ACMA will ensure continued safe aviation operations.”
These mitigations will be in place on deployments above 3.7GHz until 31 March 2026.
“Ongoing mitigations after 2026 will include a 200 MHz buffer between wireless broadband and radio altimeter frequencies as well as limits on power and unwanted emissions,” the spokesperson said.
“We encourage pilots to report any spurious radio altimeters incidents by using our defect reporting form or to the ATSB via their notification form.”