RADIO BROADCASTERS: THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND TODAY ABOUT 5G

Have you ever had one of those moments when you shared an opinion you later wish you could retract?

I’m having that moment.

When I wrote (and, later, updated) the blog entry “The Truth About 5G Filters, And Why You Should Hold On To Your Wallets”, it was with the intent of reassuring our radio network clients that waiting a little bit was okay. Last year, and even in early 2022, not everyone needed to rush out and get a 5G filter immediately, especially folks in very rural areas.

Last year all audio-only C-band antennas in the top 46 markets registered with the FCC were required to have a blue filter installed on their antennas that could mitigate the overwhelming effects of 5G. Because of this requirement, we literally installed hundreds of 5G filters ourselves last year, from coast to coast.

But there was one thing I didn’t count on that I see happening right now, and it’s so many radio folks in the mid-markets completely sidelining 5G filter installations until 2023.

Here’s the problem with that.

Unless you’re planning to install 5G filters yourself on the C-band antennas you manage, you’ll need to hire a trusted installer. And, in 2023, this will be easier said than done, since installations of 5G filters for cable head ends and TV networks will be in full swing.

Beginning 2023, every C-band TV station, network, or cable head end antenna sporting a red filter will be given the green light to switch to the blue filter. All additional satellites mandated by the FCC to handle the shuffling of TV networks to the upper part of the Mid-band frequency — 4.0-4.2 Ghz — should be in orbit and ready to receive signal.

The timetable for TV to switch over to the blue filter is narrow; less than a year. By December 6, 2023, the FCC has mandated every video-based cable head-end and network utilizing C-band in the mid-band frequency in the top 46 markets must have their 5G filters in place.

See what I mean? Installers will be really busy next year. And, if you are a radio station or network, you may be out of luck finding a qualified, experienced technician who can help.
As you can imagine, hundreds of television stations, networks, and cable headends in the top 46 markets and the mid-markets will scrambling to be in compliance. And each of them have multiple antennas at each site.

While I still think that a town the size of Two Egg, Florida (population 3,449) will not likely see a 5G cell inside their city limits, there are plenty of radio networks in mid-market locations that will see 5G arrive at their doorstep.

And after December 6, 2023, 5G operators have free rein; they can be practically anywhere in the US they wish.

Will you be ready?

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