National Academies Press: OpenBook

Legal Considerations for Telecommunications at Airports (2021)

Chapter: II. TELECOMMUNICATIONS TRENDS

« Previous: I. INTRODUCTION
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Suggested Citation:"II. TELECOMMUNICATIONS TRENDS." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Legal Considerations for Telecommunications at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26366.
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Suggested Citation:"II. TELECOMMUNICATIONS TRENDS." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Legal Considerations for Telecommunications at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26366.
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Suggested Citation:"II. TELECOMMUNICATIONS TRENDS." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Legal Considerations for Telecommunications at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26366.
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Suggested Citation:"II. TELECOMMUNICATIONS TRENDS." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Legal Considerations for Telecommunications at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26366.
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6 ACRP LRD 43 Chapter III introduces the authorities, roles, and responsi- bilities of each federal agency that issues rules and regulations affecting telecommunication activity at U.S. airports. Chapter IV discusses the key FCC licenses, authorizations, and obligations of interest to airports. The chapter identifies key rules to provide a primer for airport lawyers to assess specific issues that may arise. Chapter V discusses the application requirements, techni- cal considerations, and limitations on an airport’s ability to restrict certain antenna deployments within its facilities, includ- ing considerations applicable to airports as both regulators and operators. Chapter VI discusses factors that may affect airport decision- making regarding telecommunications network management issues. Chapter VII discusses network management considerations, including how airports interact with telecommunication pro- viders and other service providers, tenants, and the traveling public. The appendix provides definitions for key terms used throughout the digest. II. TELECOMMUNICATIONS TRENDS Communication technology innovations have developed rapidly based on consumers’ demands for different capabilities and services. Airports and their business tenants require sys- tems that can process complex transactions, collect data, stream video and music, and perform other operational functions. Travelers have advanced computers and personal devices that enable communications, stream videos and gaming content, and track personal health statistics, among other things. These devices used by airports and their airport tenants, and travelers require different types of Internet and cellular services to work effectively. Some devices have cutting-edge connection abilities, while others rely on older systems. The one common denomi- nator, however, is that businesses and individual users demand more and more bandwidth for their technologies. Airport operators must consider telecommunication trends from internal and external perspectives. Airports may advance their capabilities to improve operations and achieve efficiency gains, for example. But airports must also adapt their service offer ings to meet the needs of tenants and passengers. Con- sumers and businesses in airport communities drive the devel- opment of, and support the continuing need for, interconnected smart devices. These devices stream high quality video content, enhance communication abilities, and often have a wide range of applications, all of which require high speed and bandwidth cellular or Internet connections. Many of these smart devices have or will have M2M connection ability, to include smart meters and video surveillance equipment, among other func- tions. Airports and their tenants should continue to deploy, or to consider future deployment of, smart devices as they pursue internet of things (IoT) business strategies and accommodate the needs of travelers carrying multiple devices for their busi- ness or personal uses. A. Industry Predictions The telecommunications industry predicts significant growth in cellular and Internet users and network capacity over the next few years. This includes development of new smart devices and deployments of new network systems, such as fifth generation of broadband cellular networks (5G) and sixth gen- eration Wi-Fi 6. The Cisco Annual Internet Report (2018-2023) provides the following useful figures: • By 2023, in North America, 25 percent of all networked devices will have mobile connections and 75 percent will have wired or Wi-Fi connection ability. • The United States will have an estimated 4.6 billion devices by 2023, an increase from 2017 data showing 2.6 billion connected devices. • M2M connections will represent half of the global con- nected devices and connections by 2023. M2M devices will grow fastest within the devices and types of connections categories. • The United States will have the highest average of devices and connections per person by 2023, at 13.6 per person. • By 2023, consumers will use 74 percent of devices and con- nections, with businesses using 26 percent of devices and connections.2 Both current and the expected advanced electronic device capabilities will require high bandwidths and more intelligent networks to support wide adoption of their use. Airports that want to provide adequate cellular and Internet services in their facilities must deploy new capabilities, implement bandwidth management practices, and adopt network modernization strat- egies to meet the service level demands of more sophisticated devices and an increased number of users. B. Cellular Growth Mobile IoT discussions have pushed network development and implementation. Estimates show that by 2024, 5G may en- compass 250 million mobile subscriptions in North America, potentially representing 55 percent of the mobile subscription marketplace.3 Overall, the 5G network offers faster speeds for data transfer, more stable connection points, and greater band- width to handle more connected devices. In short, 5G will both enhance current systems and broaden usage capabilities to en- able users to send and receive larger amounts of data and to facilitate more users with data-intensive technologies. Cellular providers will continue to work to position 5G net- work infrastructure as technology companies begin distributing 5G compatible devices. Carriers are currently working to deploy 2 White Paper, Cisco Public, Cisco Annual Internet Report (2018- 2023), https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/executive- perspectives/annual-Internet-report/white-paper-c11-741490.pdf, [hereinafter Cisco White Paper]. 3 Michael Kratsios, Emerging Technologies and their Expected Impact on Non-Federal Spectrum Demand, 15 (2019) [hereinafter White House Report 2019].

ACRP LRD 43 7 As further discussed in Chapter V, infra, the FCC has created the 5G Fast Plan to foster the development of 5G. The plan seeks to increase the spectrum available for commercial use, facilitate infrastructure updates, and review existing regulations that may hinder 5G deployment. In the past two years, the FCC has con- tinued to auction existing spectrums to allow for anticipated increases in commercial usage for the 5G network development. The adoption of 5G will require deployment of small cells in addition to the existing network structures. Small cells will increase the number of cellular base stations needed to support the surge in connected devices. This is a change from earlier 3G and 4G deployment, which required construction of large cel- lular towers. Small cell usage will coincide with integration of existing building wireless access. Use of small cells allows higher numbers of connected devices within an area, while also allow- ing for the spectrum reuse within other small cells.6 There are three types of small cell technology categories. The categories differentiate small cells by ranges and the total num- ber of users allowed on the systems. Femtocells cover smaller ranges and are intended for use in homes or smaller businesses. Picocells work in stadiums or in airplane-type settings. Micro- cells cover larger defined areas such as a large airport.7 Under- standing these categories will allow airports to consider appro- priate small cell coverage requirements to support individual location and capacity. Cellular providers, third parties, or airport operators may seek to deploy small cells in and around airport facilities. In 2020, the FCC continued its work to authorize commercial use of the Citizens Broadband Radio System (CBRS) which will provide added spectrum for small cells to use.8 Airport opera- tors will have the option to purchase CBRS small cells from a Spectrum Access System (SAS) Administrator, install the small cells at their facilities to enhance cellular service levels, and pay the SAS Administrator a fee for the spectrum access.9 CBRS 6 Laura A. Odell, et al.,  Implications and Considerations of 5th Generation Mobile Networks (5G) for the US Department of Defense, Institute for Defense Analyses, (2019), available at www.jstor. org/stable/resrep22697. 7 White House Report 2019, at 15. 8 In the matter of Amendment of the Commission’s Rules with Regard to Commercial Operations in the 3550-3650 MHz Band, Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 30 FCC Rcd 3959 April 2015; Public Notice, GN Docket No. 15-319, DA 20-110, Wireless Telecommunication Bureau and Office of Engineering and Technology approve Four Spectrum Access System Administrators for Full Scale Commercial Deployment in the 3.5 GHZ Band and Emphasize Licensee Compliance Obligations in the 3650-3700 MHZ Band Under Part 96, January 27, 2020; see ACRP Project 03-57, “A: Guidebook to Prepare Airports for Transformation in Wireless Connectivity” (anticipated December 2021) [hereinafter ACRP Project 03-57]. 9 David Chambers, What is CBRS Shared Spectrum for in-building small cell wireless?, Think Small Cell, (2016), https://www. thinksmallcell.com/LTE/what-is-cbrs-shared-spectrum-for-in- building-small-cell-wireless.html#:~:text=A%20new%20shared%20 spectrum%20scheme%20is%20being%20introduced,use%20 with%20standard%20LTE%20on%20future%20mainstream%20 smartphones (last visited Nov. 16, 2020). dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) technologies that enable 4G and 5G to coexist. AT&T and Verizon will require devices to have DSS compatibility. Airports will need to consider cellular carrier requests to deploy, modify, or maintain systems within their facilities as the 5G network develops and small cell modi- fications become necessary. They will also need to develop SLAs with these carriers as they seek to deploy equipment and pro- vide services within the airport footprint. In assessing capabilities and SLAs, airport lawyers should consider three 5G deployment options: enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), ultra-reliable and low latency commu- nications (URLLC), and massive machine-type communica- tions (mMTC). eMBB is similar in nature to the current 4G services, but includes increased data rates and spatial coverage. The eMBB data exchange rate is expected to increase tenfold compared to current rates of 4G capabilities, allowing for up to 10 gigabytes per second, meaning users will transmit more data at faster speeds. URLLC allows for communication among con- nected devices with minor delay between devices and servers, or command to execution. Essential to functionality between connected devices, even when high data exchange rates are un- necessary, this combination of low latency and high depend- ability will allow for increased reliability for automated systems, such as “factory floors, virtual reality, and applications involving tactile feedback.”4 Finally, mMTC allows for simultaneous con- nections of devices to a network. While mMTC may not require the high data exchange rates or low latency found in the eMBB or URLLC, mMTC is necessary for increased, stable connection points, as seen in wireless sensor networks and “smart” homes. The transition to 5G network and capabilities is expected to take 10 years. It will begin with eMBB development to enhance existing 4G network data exchange rates before a replacement of the 4G network with the 5G network. The anticipated transition will begin in 2021 and is estimated to conclude in 2025. mMTC will launch at a slower rate for the 5G network, though it is like- ly to increase in deployment by 2025. Finally, URLLC requires further technological development, and therefore is likely to be available last among these three capabilities. Airport operators must understand the distinctions among 5G capabilities when negotiating with cellular providers or draft- ing contracts for DAS equipment or deployments. The added speed and capacity of 5G results from its ability to use high- band short range frequencies. While 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) and 24.25-29.5 GHz were identified by an Analysys Mason study as the most referenced spectrum bands for 5G in the short-term, it can also operate on low- and mid-band spectrums.5 Low-band networks will cover a broader area but will not provide the max- imum speed increases that 5G can offer. High-band networks will provide speed, but signals struggle to move through build- ings. Mid-band networks balance speed and coverage. Small cell usage will strengthen the high-band network by compensating for less signal capabilities with increased number of small cell sites. 4 White House Report 2019, at 53. 5 White House Report 2019, at 53.

8 ACRP LRD 43 Finally, the sixth generation of broadband cellular networks (6G) is currently under development with an anticipated release by 2030. Sixth generation will improve 5G performance, reli- ability and security, and will reach data rates of 100 Gbps.15 C. Internet Airport operators seeking Internet may consider wireline and wireless broadband options to meet their needs. Airports must consider what fits their service level requirements, security profile, and source availability. Wireline broadband uses Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL), cable modem, fiber, wireless, satellite, or broadband over power- line. Businesses typically use symmetrical, high data rate, or very high data rate DSLs to provide adequate bandwidth for their needs.16 DSL speed will depend on the distance that cabling must run between the DSL provider’s facility and the end user. Coaxial cables, used for cable service, provide com parable speeds to DSL. Broadband providers with wireline options are transitioning to fiber optic networks, which can carry faster speeds, more data transmission, and improved security than traditional copper- band broadband technologies. Fiber optic cables use small pieces of glass to transmit data via light. The actual bandwidth capacity of fiber is still unknown. Wireless broadband provides a point-to-point alternative to wireline options. Wireless broadband data transmission occurs over radio frequencies using fixed or mobile equipment. Fixed wireless services use both licensed spectrum and unlicensed devises. Mobile broadband devices provide end users a portable Internet access solution without necessitating a hard-wired con- nection point to the device. Mobile broadband devices include portable modems, USB wireless modems, smartphones, and tablets. 15 See ACRP Project 03-57. 16 FCC Types of Broadband Connections, https://www.fcc.gov/ general/types-broadband-connections (last visited August 20, 2020). is a shared spectrum that is further discussed in Chapters IV and VI. State and municipal governments continue to address siting laws and policies, with a goal to both reduce cost and speed up deployment of small cells to meet demand for the 5G network. Airports will likely receive requests from cellular companies to deploy 5G small cells, and to see deployment of cellular tow- ers or collocation requests. Airports will need to consider their positions regarding siting applications at their facilities. As dis- cussed in Chapter V, airports must be aware of relevant state or local ordinances that may limit their ability to object to small cell siting requests by carriers.10 As the 5G network continues development and sites look to become ready to support the infrastructure needed for deploy- ment, overall security of the updated network must be exam- ined. While some argue the 5G network will provide security enhancements, others question international competition and supply chain needs of the emerging technology and warn of potential vulnerabilities related to the transport of data over the 5G network.11 Additionally, airports should be aware that sev- eral states have developed task forces or commissions to address concerns raised about potential health risks associated with small cell deployments.12 Even with 5G on the horizon, the fourth generation of broadband cellular network (4G) will continue to grow and will dominate the cellular market into the near future as deployment of the 5G cellular network systems continues and 5G compliant devices come to market. (See Figure 1 for Cisco’s predication for cellular usages by category in 2023.13) Carriers will continue to deploy 4G small cells, while airports continue to deploy 4G centric DAS to enhance cellular service for customers. Addi- tionally, carriers will continue to deploy Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and WiMax technologies used by 4G networks. LTE and WiMax developers continue to scale up their capabilities con- currently with 5G network development. Airport operators may consider private mobile service to im- prove remote connections to their Wide Area Network (WAN) or to provide access backup. Connection can extend existing WAN infrastructure to mobile workers or hard-to-reach loca- tions and may also fulfill temporary needs.14 Figure 2 identifies common uses of private mobile services. 10 For a list of state legislation related to mobile 5G and small cells, see Heather Morton, Mobile 5G and Small Cell 2021 Legislation, National Conference of State Legislatures, https://www.ncsl.org/ research/telecommunications/-and-informaton-technology/mobile- 5G-and-small-cell-2021-legislation.aspx, [hereinafter Mobile 5G and Small Cell 2021 Legislation]. 11 John Avlon, How 5G technology could be potential security risk, New Day, https://www.cnn.com/videos/business/2019/07/23/ huawei- cell-phone-avlon-reality-check-newday-vpx.cnn. 12 Mobile 5G and Small Cell 2021 Legislation. 13 Cisco White Paper. 14 AT&T Business, https://www.business.att.com/products/ private- mobile-connection.html?afsrc=1&cjevent=eea68160d42511ea837900c 70a240614&source=EC1NAT10600aff12A&wtExtndSource=9069228 (last visited August 17, 2020). • Public Safety • Automated systems and point of sale • Energy management • Telemetry and remote meters • Vehicle location or tracking Figure 2: Private Mobile Services • 3G - less than one percent • 4G - 45 percent • 5G - 17 percent • LPWAN - 37 percent Figure 1: CISCO Projected Cellular Use by Category in 2023

ACRP LRD 43 9 based on the IEEE standards such as WiGig for multimedia ap- plications and HaLow for sensor networks.20 Apart from speed, Wi-Fi continues to improve its network sign-in processes, which enable new network offerings through seamless and secure authentication.21 The Wi-Fi Alliance’s Passpoint enables automatic network discovery, selection and signup, seamless access, and roaming.22 The Wireless Broad- band Alliance has leveraged Passpoint to create a federation of networks and identity providers to create an interoperable net- work called OpenRoaming.23 When a visitor enters a federation facility, the visitor will seamlessly be granted access to the Wi-Fi network based on the facility access policy. OpenRoaming has led to other service offerings like Google’s Orion, which creates a marketplace between the mobile user’s cellular carrier and the facility in which the user is located. When the mobile user enters the facility, such as an airport, Google Orion tells the cellular carrier the price for access to the facility’s network and the quality of the ser- vice provided. If the cellular provider decides their consumer can receive better service on the facility’s network, the carrier can use Google Orion to switch the user’s device to the Wi-Fi network. Google Orion then collects payment from the car- rier for the facility’s network host.24 Google Orion launched in September 2020 and at the time of publication, approximately 34 U.S. airports participate in the marketplace. b. Bluetooth Low Energy Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard that can ex- change data between fixed and mobile devices within a short range. Typical Bluetooth uses include wireless speakers and headsets. Separate from the traditional Bluetooth, with which consumers most often interact, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) provides connectivity with low power options for technologies within networks to communicate and share data. Bluetooth and BLE use a process called paring that enables devices to exchange data through short range, ad hoc networks. BLE’s mesh networking ability enables large-scale device networks. Currently, airports use Bluetooth devices for location finger- printing. BLE can facilitate other data collection and sharing functions in the airport environment. BLE typically runs in the 2.4 GHz frequency. c. Zigbee Zigbee is a public area network (PAN) that supports Zigbee certified home or business platforms. Zigbee is used for low data rate applications that require long battery life and secure net- 20 Id. 21 Id. 22 Wi-Fi Alliance Passpoint, https://wi-fi.org/discover-wi-fi/ passpoint (last visited Nov. 8, 2020). 23 Wireless Broadband Alliance, https://wballiance.com/ openroaming/how-it-works/ (last visited Nov. 8, 2020) (explaining OpenRoaming is compatible with Wi-Fi 6 and 5G networks). 24 Orion Wifi helps venues improve cellular coverage, https://blog. google/technology/area-120/orion-wifi/ (last visited Nov. 18, 2020). Airports may consider wireless services to supplement tradi- tional wireline Internet capabilities or to reach unwired areas of an airport to meet business demands and provide connectivity to mobile broadband devices for tenants and passengers. To meet both business needs and security demands, airport operators must understand the effect these technologies have on their overall networks, any FCC assessments of these broadband options, and potential network vulnerabilities. 1. Wireless Networks a. Wi-Fi Airports continue to deploy Wi-Fi systems to provide con- tinuous connectivity for airport, tenant, and travelers’ devices to enable connectivity throughout airport facilities. Wi-Fi continues to successfully scale to meet capacity demands from consumers. Wi-Fi refers to wireless networking technologies that use the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standards for local area networking. IEEE has produced a series of Wi-Fi standards that facilitate wireless communication among electronic devices on various frequencies. At airports, Wi-Fi is, and will remain, a key resource to meet business and passenger needs. Accordingly, airports should consider updated Wi-Fi technology environments for airport tenants to allow for increased business efficiencies and connectivity in scale with modernized airport operations and passenger demands. The new Wi-Fi 6 technology standard addresses slow speeds by creating subchannels to handle traffic and enable devices to send and receive information from multiple devices at one time. These capabilities help to optimize systems that have a high volume of user demand in contained areas. Cisco predicts that Wi-Fi 6 hotspots will grow thirteen-fold from 2020 to 2023, to represent 11 percent of all public Wi-Fi hotspots by 2023. The FCC recently released added spectrum for Wi-Fi 6 capa- bilities. Airports should consider deploying both Wi-Fi 6 tech- nology and Wi-Fi 6 compatible systems for their tenant and cus- tomer network users to address network congestion within their facilities.17 Wi-Fi 6 broadband complements 5G network deployment by allowing for increased data rates, capacity, and performance with multiple device connections. Cisco projects higher offload rates on 4G and 5G networks than on previous lower-speed cellular network options as cellular providers encourage con- sumers to utilize Wi-Fi in place of cellular network towers.18 Wi-Fi 6 will help airports meet this increased demand. IEEE has started work on Wi-Fi 7 to provide higher data rates, lower latency, cost and power efficiency, better interfer- ence mitigation, and a higher density network for more devices. IEEE plans to release the Wi-Fi 7 amendment by mid-2024.19 In addition, the Wi-Fi Alliance is developing new technologies 17 Wi-Fi Alliance, Discover Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Certified 6, https://www. wi-fi.org/discover-wi-fi/wi-fi-certified-6 (last visited August 20, 2020). 18 White House Report 2019, at 32-33. 19 See ACRP Project 03-57.

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The deployment of telecommunication systems, management of networks, and dealings with telecommunication or information service providers, airlines, other tenants, concessionaires, and passengers create multiple legal issues for airport operators.

The Airport Cooperative Highway Research Program's ACRP Legal Research Digest 43: Legal Considerations for Telecommunications at Airports examines federal requirements for various aspects of telecommunications at airports, including both current issues and those implicated by emerging trends.

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