By B.N. Frank
In December 2021 utilities and other groups petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to delay opening the 6 GHz to unlicensed users because “a new generation of unlicensed 6G routers and other wireless devices” could cause dangerous inteference issues. The agency denied the petition to delay opening the 6 GHz and there is increasing opposition to this due to significant public safety risks.
National Spectrum Management Association Warns FCC That 6 GHz Band “Swarm of Devices” Could “Wreak Havoc” on Police and Fire Departments , Electric Utilities and Railroads
The National Spectrum Management Association (NSMA) issued a press release on it’s formal filing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) detailing a “deep concern” regarding the FCC’s regulatory change that opens up the 6 GHz band to unlicensed use.
Joseph Sandri, president of the NSMA warned that:
“This swarm of devices could disrupt communications for first responders, utility workers, pipeline safety engineers, and more…We must test the system with transparent, peer-reviewed, real-world trials.”
“We urge the FCC to proceed with extreme caution. Without more thorough testing, the deployment of these devices can place dangerous amounts of stress on critical networks around the country.”
The NSMA press release on their filing states,
“Today, in a filing to the Federal Communications Commission, the National Spectrum Management Association (NSMA) expressed its grave concerns about an imminent regulatory change that could wreak havoc on police and fire departments, ambulance services, pipelines, electric and water utilities, and railroads — with potentially disastrous consequences for public safety.”
“The FCC has opened the 6 gigahertz (GHz) band to unlicensed use by one billion portable unlicensed devices — including smartphones, laptops, and Wi-Fi routers — without having conducted any transparent, real-world, peer-reviewed tests to determine the impact on public safety.”
“Currently, the 6 GHz band includes more than 100,000 links of microwave radio that form the essential communications infrastructure for first responders and other mission critical systems. To function safely, these links require extremely high-quality signal availability — with less than 158 seconds of interruption per year. Greatly increasing traffic in this band increases the probability of service interruptions that could have dire economic and public safety consequences.
Already, during a band-use dispute earlier this year, airlines nearly grounded fleets due to concerns about 5G network traffic interfering with the altitude-monitoring devices that planes use to land safely. The NSMA is concerned that unlicensed use of 6 GHz networks could have an even more serious and widespread impact.
“We urge the FCC to proceed with extreme caution,” said Sandri. “Without more thorough testing, the deployment of these devices can place dangerous amounts of stress on critical networks around the country.”
The National Spectrum Management Association ” is an association of individuals in the spectrum management profession, including service providers, manufacturers, frequency coordinators, engineers, and regulators. Established in 1984 at the request of the FCC, the NSMA provides a forum to develop industry guidelines, shape practices, and resolve conflicts.”
“This filing by the National Spectrum Management Association (NSMA) (i) reflects deep concern
about possible and unnecessarily dangerous breakage to mission-critical communications network
operations due to the pending authorization and deployment of unlicensed 6 GHz devices,
and (ii) suggests a solution.”
“Due in part to an increasingly complex spectrum management environment the public has been made
increasingly aware of potential systemic failures involving large-scale systems that rely on fail-safe
spectrum management. It is time to ensure the future operations of 6GHz mission-critical systems will
be undeniably proven safe.
It is strongly recommended that it be required that: (i) well-known, actual physically deployed 6 GHz
trials and tests occur whereby actual unlicensed 6 GHz outdoor devices using AFC and other unlicensed
6 GHz devices permitted to operate without AFC are tested en masse in realistic scenarios around actual
6 GHz fixed wireless systems of the exact types and designs that are routinely used by mission-critical
first responders and other incumbents, and (ii) these tests be conducted and peer-reviewed with access
to the data from all interested parties and a credible and neutral 3rd party validator well prior to
confirming the comprehensive launching of outdoor 6 GHz unlicensed services and related systems in
those same 6 GHz incumbent channels and geographic locations.”
- NSMA’s full filing may be accessed here.
- Online Link to National Spectrum Management Association Press Release
The FCC is supposed to protect Americans by regulating the telecom industry. Instead it has catered to the industry for decades (see 1, 2). In regard to interference risks associated with new technologies, the most widely reported may be with 5G and aviation equipment (see 1, 2, 3). Of course, 5G is notorious for interference risks with other technologies as well. In 2020, utility companies and associations filed lawsuits against the agency for not protecting utility infrastructure from potential electrical interference issues with 5G (see 1, 2). The Department of Defense (DoD) has been trying to resolve potential 5G network interference issues with military radar. Telecom provider, SpaceX has complained that Dish’s 5G satellites will cause interference issues affecting Starlink satellite service. DirecTV and RS Submit have complained about satellite interference risks. Most recently a bipartisan group of senators requested that the FCC reconsider harmful interference risks with associated Ligado’s network before allowing it to be activated.
Of course, there have been other significant risks reported about 5G technology as well (cybersecurity, health, etc.). Nevertheless, the FCC (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) as well as other government and state agencies and committees (see1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) have continued to promote and fund 5G deployment and densification as well as that of 4G and public Wi-Fi (which also poses known risks). Of course, these agencies, committees, and legislators must trust the FCC. Otherwise, they probably wouldn’t be supporting and funding deployment, right?
Activist Post reports regularly about the FCC and unsafe technology. For more information visit our archives and the following websites.
- Wireless Information Network
- Americans for Responsible Technology
- Electromagnetic Radiation Safety
- Environmental Health Trust
- Physicians for Safe Technology
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