CTIA Makes the Case for Commercial Wireless Networks for Drone Communications

CTIA, an association representing the U.S. wireless communications industry, is calling on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to recognize that commercial wireless networks offer the best communications platform to support the U.S. drone market.

CTIA says its call comes as the FAA looks to establish federal rules governing how drones should communicate with each other and the surrounding environment. The FAA is expected to open a formal rulemaking process in early 2018 to address which spectrum platform would best serve unmanned aircraft system (UAS) communications, says CTIA.

“Commercial drones will help industries from energy to agriculture and logistics while enhancing public safety, but they will need the wireless industry’s networks to reach their full potential,” says Meredith Attwell Baker, CTIA’s president and CEO. “It’s important that the federal government get this right by recognizing that U.S. wireless providers offer the best, most widely available and safest platform for future drone communications, which will be further enhanced by next-generation wireless.”

CTIA notes it is convening players in the drone space, including Amazon, AT&T, Qualcomm and Verizon, for a meeting of its Drone/UAS Working Group on Tuesday. They will be joined by government stakeholders from the White House, the FAA, the Department of Transportation, NASA and the Department of Homeland Security to discuss CTIA’s call to action and the recommendations of its white paper, “Commercial Wireless Networks: The Essential Foundation of the Drone Industry.”

The group claims that commercial wireless networks would best stimulate the drone economy because they offer a “proven high quality of service and reliability; resilient and robust networks that can support low-altitude drone communications; high redundancy that minimizes the risk of drones losing communications with ground stations; strong authentication and other security measures that protect users and networks; and interoperability with traffic management systems and drone dashboards.”

CTIA’s white paper is available here.


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