© Reuters. PHOTOGRAPHY: Verizon contracting team installs 5G telecommunications equipment at Orem Tower, Utah, USA, December 3, 2019. REUTERS / George Frey
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – CEOs of AT&T (NYSE 🙂 i Verizon Communications (NYSE 🙂 rejected a request to postpone the planned introduction of a new 5G wireless service on January 5 due to aviation security concerns, but offered to temporarily adopt new safeguards.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Administration Chief Steve Dickson have asked AT&T CEO John Stankey and Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg to commercially delay implementation for a maximum of two weeks.
Wireless companies in a joint letter Sunday said they would not deploy 5G around airports for six months, but rejected any broader restrictions on C-Band spectrum use. They said the Transport Department’s proposal would be “an irresponsible abandonment of the operational controls needed to set up global and globally competitive communications networks.”
The FAA and the Department of Transportation did not immediately comment.
The aviation industry and the FAA have expressed concern over possible interference with 5G with sensitive aircraft electronics such as radio altimeters that could disrupt flights.
The exclusion zone proposed by AT&T and Verizon is currently in use in France, carriers said, “with little adjustment” reflecting “modest technical differences in the way the C-band is deployed”.
“The laws of physics are the same in the United States
and France, “the CEOs wrote.” If American airlines are allowed to fly every day in France, then the same operating conditions should allow them to do so in the United States. “
Officials said the exclusion zones proposed by the wireless operators were not as large as what the FAA had requested.
The FAA and Buttigieg on Friday proposed identifying priority airports “where buffer zones would allow safe resumption of air operations until the FAA completes its disruption potential assessments.”
The government will work to identify “mitigation for all priority airports” to allow most “large commercial aircraft to operate safely in all conditions”. Airline unions have expressed support for Buttigie’s proposal.
Wireless operators, who won the C-Band spectrum at a $ 80 billion government auction, had previously agreed to six-month precautionary measures to limit interference.
The Airlines Trade Group for America, which represents American Airlines (NASDAQ :), Fedex Corp. and other carriers, asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday to stop deploying around many airports, warning that thousands of flights could be disrupted daily .
The airline said it could go to court on Monday if the FCC does not take action.
The wireless industry group CTIA said that 5G is safe and that the spectrum is used in about 40 other countries.
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