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NTIA’s Research Lab Awarded 2023 Colorado Governor’s Award for High-Impact Research

September 11, 2023
News Media Contact
NTIA, Office of Public Affairs

WASHINGTON – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) has received the CO-LABS 2023 Governor's Award for High-Impact Research for testing compatibility between 5G signals and existing radar communication used in aircraft.

“The Institute for Telecommunication Sciences in Boulder exemplifies the evidence-based policymaking that is NTIA’s hallmark,” said Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator. “By producing objective data that the public can trust, ITS aided federal agencies working to ensure airline safety while also promoting new 5G wireless deployments. Thank you to CO-LABS for recognizing the terrific efforts of NTIA’s Colorado colleagues.”

The annual Governor’s Awards for High-Impact Research celebrate ground-breaking discoveries and innovative research from federally funded laboratories and institutions in Colorado. ITS received this honor in the Technology Transfer category, which recognizes technological solutions with “widespread and/or significantly measurable societal utilization.”  

The Federal Aviation Administration expressed concern over 5G towers operating at a close frequency to existing radar altimeters (RADALT). Radar altimeters are crucial to aircraft landings in poor visibility conditions and to other aircraft operations. By conducting various experiments by constructing an operational full-power 5G tower network,  ITS sought to determine if 5G towers could safely operate within their allocated frequency range. Their work significantly improved the understanding of how 5G technology affected existing infrastructure and RADALT technologies, and helped show how radio altimeters and 5G towers could safely co-exist.