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

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Over the past month, AT&T and Verizon have delayed a potentially faster launch C-band 5G service, due to safety concerns of the Federal Aviation Administration. Now it seems that there could be an additional delay, again due to FAA concerns. The two main carriers were supposed to use the newly purchased frequencies on December 5 to introduce the C-band service, but postponed the launch until January 5 after the Ministry of Transport expressed concern about possible disruptions. According to letter received by Reuters, The Department of Transportation and the FAA are now asking for up to two more weeks to study the problem.

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 flights”, it is stated. Reuters.

So far, the possibility of pilots using a bad weather safety system that could conflict with this new C-band 5G technology has been controversial. The FAA would ultimately like to enact regulations prohibiting pilots from using such systems, The Wall Street Journal reported in November. Aviation officials have claimed that the 5G C-band has the potential to disrupt flights in and around nearly four dozen cities where C-belt poles are located. 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 identify “priority” airports where “buffer zones 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 weeks delay. Needless to say, this delay would be undesirable news for both carriers. Reuters reports on Friday that companies 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 statement for Informed on Saturday, a Verizon spokesman said: “If airlines are so worried about the cancellation of 5G-related flights, they should really look at their results in the last two weeks,” referring to a wave of recent cancellations amid an increase in COVID-19 cases. “This industry, which has received $ 54 billion in taxpayer funding in the last few years, obviously has much bigger problems to worry about.”

However, as much as the frustrated executives of the two carriers Reuters notes that companies agreed to a six-month precautionary measure when they bought the C-band spectrum in early 2021.

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