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AT&T and Verizon could again delay the spread of 5G due to FAA concerns


For the past month, AT&T and Verizon have given up on introducing a potentially faster C-band 5G service, due to safety concerns of the Federal Aviation Administration. It now appears that there could be further delays, again due to FAA concerns. The two main operators were scheduled for December 5 to use the newly purchased frequencies to introduce the C-band service, but postponed the launch to January 5 after the Ministry of Transport expressed concern about possible interference. According to the letter he came across Reuters, The Department of Transportation and the FAA are now asking for up to two more weeks to study the issue.

In a letter sent by Transport Minister Pete Buttigieg and FAA Administrator Steve Dickson to the executive directors of AT&T and Verizon, the couple asked for a delay of “no more than two weeks”. The two set the request as part of “a proposal as a short-term solution to improve the coexistence of 5G implementation in the C-band and safe flying”, he said. Reuters.

So far, it has been a question of pilots using a bad weather safety system that could conflict with this new 5G C-band technology. The FAA would eventually like to enact regulations prohibiting pilots from using such systems, The Wall Street Journal published in November. Aviation officials claim that the 5G C-band has the potential to disrupt flights in and around nearly four dozen cities with C-band pillars. Telecoms claimed that there was no evidence that the C-band 5G would endanger flight safety.

Within that Reuters describes in its report, the FAA would designate “priority” airports where “the buffer zone would allow air operations to continue safely until the FAA completes its assessments of interference potential.”

Reuters says both companies say they received the letter. But so far they have not agreed to an additional two-week delay. Needless to say, this delay would be undesirable news for both carriers. Reuters reports that companies on Friday accused the aviation industry of holding the C-band extension “hostage until the wireless industry agrees to cover the cost of upgrading obsolete altimeters.”

And in a statement for Insider a Verizon spokesman said on Saturday: “If airlines are so worried about 5G flight cancellations, they really should look at their results over the past two weeks,” referring to a wave of recent cancellations amid a COVID raid of 19 cases. “This industry, which has received $ 54 billion in taxpayer-funded money over the past few years, obviously has much bigger problems to worry about.”

However, as frustrated as the leaders of these two operators are Reuters notes that companies agreed to a six-month precaution when they purchased the C-band spectrum in early 2021.

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