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Friday, May 20, 2022

U.S. telcos have delayed 5G rollouts near some airports after airlines warned of security concerns

On Jan. 18, AT&T said it would delay the rollout of 5G service near select U.S. airports after airlines warned the rollout would result in flight cancellations.

Both AT&T and Verizon are still planning to roll out their 5G networks on January 18, except for a “limited number” of 5G towers within two miles of some runways.

AT&T and Verizon did not say how many airports were affected or how long service delays would last, but said they would work with federal regulators to resolve the dispute.

The postponement decision was made as the Biden administration tries to negotiate between telcos and airlines to roll out 5G service.

Airlines want the new service to be banned two miles from airport runways because it could interfere with on-board electronics.

The new high-speed 5G C-Band service is near frequencies used by key instruments on standard commercial aircraft, which the FAA has warned could interfere with key systems such as radio altimeters.

Radio altimeters are devices that measure the height of an aircraft above the ground and are a vital tool to help pilots land in low visibility conditions and are also linked to other aircraft systems.

The presence of 5G signals near airports can interfere with the altimeters that pilots use to measure how close they are to the ground, according to an FAA study last year.

In December, the FAA ordered many commercial and commuter aircraft not to rely on them for 5G interference.

AT&T and Verizon deny that their equipment will interfere with on-board electronics and that the technology is being used safely in many other countries.

However, Emirates, Air India, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines have announced the cancellation of some US flights due to uncertainty around 5G rollout.

“In our sole discretion, we have voluntarily agreed to temporarily delay the inclusion of a limited number of towers around certain airport runways as we continue to work with the aviation industry and the FAA to provide more information on our 5G rollout as they have not used the two years they have had to responsibly plan for this deployment,” AT&T said in a press statement.

The telecom company said it was “disappointed by the FAA’s failure to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is safely deploy 5G technology without disrupting aviation services, and we urge it to do so in a timely manner.”

“We are launching our advanced 5G services everywhere as planned, except for this limited number of towers.”

Verizon also said it “voluntarily decided to limit our 5G network around airports” but would still continue with its plans to launch the network.

Verizon has criticized the Federal Aviation Administration and airlines, saying they “failed to fully allow 5G navigation at airports despite being safe and fully operational in more than 40 other countries,” the company said.

Aviation industry leaders have issued a dire warning about the impact the new 5G service will have on flights.

Executives from American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, FedEx and seven other airline companies said the interference with aircraft systems would be worse than they originally thought, making many flights impossible.

“Frankly, national trade will come to a halt” unless service is blocked near major airports, the CEOs said in a Jan. 17 joint letter to federal officials, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who had previously picked up airlines. side regarding 5G.

“The ripple effect for both passenger and freight travel, our workforce and the economy as a whole is simply incalculable,” they said.

They warned that the aircraft could be ground to a halt, causing “catastrophic disruptions” to traffic and causing up to 100,000 passengers a day to be canceled or delayed if 5G networks are rolled out without safety features.

Some airlines are considering canceling international flights due to arrive in the US on January 19, according to .

The FCC doesn’t share the FAA’s concerns about 5G.

The FCC argued that 5G signals didn’t seem to interfere with aircraft altimeters last year, citing several studies from Europe.

President Joe Biden hoped that the agreements between AT&T and Verizon would “avoid potentially devastating disruptions to passenger transportation, cargo operations, and our economic recovery, while still allowing more than 90 percent of wireless tower deployments to occur on schedule.”

Biden said his administration will continue to work with both sides to find a permanent solution around key airports.

To follow

Brian S. Jung is a New York native and resident with a background in politics and the legal field. Graduated from Binghamton University.


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