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In another eleventh-hour move in the ongoing saga over an upcoming 5G rollout, Verizon and AT&T have both agreed to temporarily limit some 5G services in the vicinity of key airports, after the largest U.S. airlines warned that the deployment would cause “major disruption” to flights across the country.
“Verizon is proud to lead the nation in 5G. Tomorrow, Verizon will launch its 5G Ultra Wideband network which will enable more than 90 million Americans to experience the transformative speed, reliability and power of this game-changing network on the go or in their homes or businesses,” Verizon announced in a statement. “Americans have been clamoring for 5G and tomorrow we will deliver it. As the nation’s leading wireless provider, we have voluntarily decided to limit our 5G network around airports. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and our nation’s airlines have not been able to fully resolve navigating 5G around airports, despite it being safe and fully operational in more than 40 countries. Thanks to the best team in the industry for delivering this technology which promises a revolutionary next step in wireless communications including tremendous benefits for our nation.”
“At our sole discretion we have voluntarily agreed to temporarily defer turning on a limited number of towers around certain airport runways as we continue to work with the aviation industry and the FAA to provide further information about our 5G deployment,” an AT&T spokesperson said in a statement.
This is now the third time Verizon and AT&T have delayed the launch of this 5G technology.
“The ripple effects across both passenger and cargo operations, our workforce and the broader economy are simply incalculable. Every one of the passenger and cargo carriers will be struggling to get people, shipments, planes and crews where they need to be. To be blunt, the nation’s commerce will grind to a halt,” the heads of ten U.S. airlines wrote to U.S. aviation authorities. “Given the short time frame and the exigency of this completely avoidable economic calamity, we respectfully request you support and take whatever action necessary to ensure that 5G is deployed except when towers are too close to airport runways until the FAA can determine how that can be safely accomplished without catastrophic disruption. We stand ready and eager to continue our work with the U.S. government and mobile wireless providers on finding a solution set that allows 5G to expand to the ‘C-Band’ while also protecting aviation from devastating operational restrictions. However, immediate action is necessary to provide ample time for those discussions to move forward in any meaningful way.”
The concerns raised by both the aerospace industry and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) relate to potential interference of 5G with flight technology such as radio altimeters.
“[R]adio altimeters cannot be relied upon to perform their intended function if they experience interference from wireless broadband operations,” the FAA said, adding it would require “limitations prohibiting certain operations requiring radio altimeter data when in the presence of 5G C-Band interference.”
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.