Rulemaking Begins for UAS Wireless Communications

 - February 13, 2023, 11:48 AM

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has published a rule to enable wireless communications for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the 5,030- to 5,091-MHz band. It now seeks comment on whether measures are necessary to facilitate such communication on flexible-use wireless networks. Comments are due by March 9.

Currently, the UAS industry primarily operates under unlicensed and low-power wireless communications rules or experimental licenses. “It is past time that we assess the availability of wireless communications resources for the increasingly important remote-piloted aircraft activity we rely on today,” said FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel. “The FCC must ensure that our spectrum rules meet the current and future needs of evolving technologies such as unmanned aircraft systems.”

The proposal also seeks comments on whether current FCC rules for flexible-use spectrum bands are sufficient to ensure the coexistence of terrestrial mobile operations and UAS use or whether changes to these rules are necessary to prevent or mitigate interference and performance concerns. Also, the FCC proposes a process for UAS operators to obtain a license in the aeronautical VHF band to communicate with ATC and other aircraft.