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5G: AT&T and Verizon won’t delay rollout amid aviation concerns

5G: AT&T and Verizon won't delay rollout amid aviation concerns
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In a letter on Sunday reviewed by CNN, the CEOs of Verizon and AT&T (which owns WarnerMedia, CNN’s parent company) offered to apply similar restrictions to 5G antennas as those used near French airports, for a period of six months. But they rejected calls by the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration to delay the January 5 date for the start of 5G service on an important group of radio frequencies known as the C-Band.

“In essence, your proposed framework requires that we agree to transfer oversight of our companies’ multibillion-dollar investments in 50 unnamed metropolitan areas that represent the lion’s share of the US population to the FAA for an unspecified number of months or years,” the companies wrote. “Acceptance of your proposal would not only be an unprecedented and unwarranted circumvention of the due process and carefully designed checks and balances in the structure of our democracy, but an irresponsible abdication of the operational control required to deploy global and competitive communications networks globally.”

The carriers had previously pushed the start date from December 5, 2021, to January 5, 2022.

Transportation officials and the aviation industry have expressed concerns about the potential impact 5G transmissions might have on radar altimeters, aircraft equipment that relies on radio signals to tell pilots how far away from the ground they are.

In December, the FAA issued an urgent warning saying it plans to ban the use of radar altimeters in low visibility conditions around airports where 5G antennas have been installed, saying the potential for interference could disrupt landings in some circumstances. The agency at the time did not specify which airports would be affected by the rule, but it estimated that the restrictions could affect thousands of planes and warned of mass disruptions to air travelers. Aviation industry groups echoed those warnings of an impending crisis, saying hundreds of thousands of flights and tens of millions of passengers could be diverted or delayed.

said Carter Yang, a spokesperson for Airlines for America, a trade group that represents US airlines for passenger and freight transportation. “We continue to urge the FCC and the communications industry to work with the FAA and the aviation industry on a viable solution that will enable 5G technology to be deployed while prioritizing safety and avoiding disruption to the aviation system.”

But the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees the use of radio waves in the United States, concluded after several years of study that there is little risk of interference, as the frequencies used by radar altimeters are separated from the frequencies used for 5G by more than 200 MHz from The blank “protection range” spectrum. The airline industry and the FAA also participated in the FCC review process that eventually led to the approval of 5G in the C band in 2020.

Telecom industry groups have said that 5G in C-Band frequencies has already been deployed around the world, and no incidents have been reported anywhere related to the 5G network and aircraft.

“The laws of physics are the same in the United States and France,” AT&T and Verizon wrote on Sunday. “If US airlines are allowed to operate flights every day in France, the same operating conditions should allow them to do so in the US.”

The Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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