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 – Environmental Health Trust


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.”

Environmental Health Trust is sharing excerpts from the NSMA filing:

“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.”