Verizon, AT&T delay some 5G service over airlines’ concerns

Verizon, AT&T delay some 5G service over airlines' concerns thumbnail

*Federal regulators have said that Verizon and AT&T will delay a portion of their 5G rollout close to airports in order to give airlines more time for equipment to be safe from interference from wireless signals. However, the airline industry is not happy with the deal.

A trade group representing the airline industry said that federal regulators are using a “rushed approach to changing equipment on planes” under pressure from the telecom companies.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday that wireless companies had agreed to defer some of their use C-Band of the radio spectrum until July 2023..

” We believe we have found a way that will allow aviation and 5G-C-band wireless to safely coexist,” stated Billy Nolen, the FAA’s acting administrator.

Although the C-Band service is being criticized by aviation groups, it could cause interference with radio altimeters that are used to measure the plane’s height from the ground. Altimeters are used by pilots to land in poor weather and when visibility is limited.

Nolen stated that planes most vulnerable to interference — smaller planes known as regional airline planes – must be retrofitted by the end this year with filters or new altimeters. He stated that components to retrofit larger planes should be available by July 2023,, when wireless companies plan to operate 5G networks in urban areas with “minimal restrictions”.

Airlines for America is a trade group representing the largest U.S. carriers. It said that the FAA has not approved the necessary upgrades and that the manufacturers have not yet produced parts.

” “It is not clear that carriers can meet this appears to be an arbitrarily set deadline,” Nicholas Calio, CEO of the trade group, wrote to Nolen. He stated that safety is being compromised by the “rushed approach to avionics modification amid pressure from the telecom companies” and warned that airline service could be disrupted if replacement parts are not available in time.

Verizon stated that the agreement will allow the company to lift voluntary limits on its 5G rollout near airports “in an a staged approach over a few months.” AT&T also said it would take a “more tailored approach” to controlling signals near runways to give airlines more time to retrofit their equipment.

Friday’s developments are the latest in a long-running dispute among wireless companies and airlines. The FAA and Federal Communications Commission determined that C-Band service was safe for planes.

Verizon spent $68billion between them in an FCC auction for 5G spectrum last. The companies activated new 5G networks in January, but they agreed to defer powering up some towers until July 5, due to concerns raised by the FAA as well as airlines.

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