Congress is weighing in on the botched rollout of 5G C-band spectrum — a rollout that put the FCC and FAA at odds — and they’re not impressed.
Verizon and AT&T spent more than $68 billion to license mid-band 5G spectrum, called C-band. C-band is considered the ideal compromise between speed and coverage, and is essential to wireless carriers’ attempts to deploy the next-generation network.
Unfortunately, the spectrum in question is dangerously close the spectrum used by aircraft altimeters, leading airlines and the FAA to object to its use. Eventually a compromise was reached, with Verizon and AT&T agreeing to exclusion zones around airports. The agreement was not reached without a number of delays, threats, negotiations, and appeals to the White House.
Congress is now reviewing the situation and has had some tough words for the two agencies, according to NASDAQ.
Representative Garret Graves, of the Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee, said the two agencies played “chicken with one another – or whatever ridiculousness happened – and now we ended up threatening aviation safety. We had flights canceled. … It’s embarrassing.”
Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio said “the current interagency process for auctioning off spectrum is completely broken.”
“Having a dropped call is way less serious than having a dropped airplane out of the sky,” DeFazio said.