5G, planes, and progress

Last week, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. He said that the aviation industry is continuing talks with the wireless industry about lifting restrictions to enable 5G deployment around select airports through a voluntary agreement set to expire this summer.

As a Wall Street Journal op-ed noted earlier this year, the aviation industry bringing the Biden administration’s transportation secretary into the multiyear industry tussle over spectrum management didn’t prevent “a collision over 5G wireless spectrum,” nor did it solve the underlying problem. Rather, it enabled the aviation industry to continue using the Department of Transportation (DOT) as a shield in a messy interagency process that has already been through multiple years of technical review cycles and public comment periods. In 2020, the process culminated in a