ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Which one is more important: stronger and faster internet on your cell phone, or safety concerns in the skies?

“That’s the big debate that’s happening right now,” said Brad Boettcher, director of marketing at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport.

Amid an ongoing dispute about the rollout of 5G mobile phone technology near American airports, Boettcher says the main concern for airlines is the interference from those stronger cell signals.

“The system that’s impacted is the radio altimeter, which is used more for inclement weather flying,” said Boettcher.

In Roanoke, that could be a big issue.

“Because of our mountain terrain, there’s a even bigger safety buffer around that,” Boettcher explained. “So, while it does impact those aircraft abilities, they might not be coming in if we have weather that’s that bad to begin with, just because of the terrain issues that we have.”

However, Virginia Tech Professor Luiz DaSilva says these concerns don’t necessarily mean cell phone carriers should stop making upgrades.

“It’s not the question, in general, ‘should 5G stop?'” said DaSilva.

Instead, he says it’s how carriers go about it.

“At what height should the tower be installed, at what power level should it operate, and so on,” said DaSilva.

According to the professor, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have to come together to protect people.

“These two regulators, which are federal agencies, also need to reach an agreement to what are the parameters of deployment that would ensure the safety of the aircraft,” said DaSilva.

Boettcher agrees, saying that safety in the skies has to be the priority right now.

In the meantime, while waiting for cell phone carriers and federal regulators to work things out, the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport is doing its part to make sure it’s prepared for the rollout of 5G service.