AT&T heeds airline complaint that 5G would make air traffic unsafe, Verizon decision pending
Major US cell carrier AT&T has agreed to postpone the planned rollout of 5G service near several American airports, citing the concerns of airlines that doing so would endanger air traffic safety.
AT&T said Tuesday it would delay the rollout of new cell towers near “some”Airports will work together with federal regulators to address potential interference, although it didn’t say which. Verizon also plans a 5G rollout, but has yet to comment.
This is after Airlines for America, a trade group, sent an open letter to the US warning of the dangers. “thousands”There are chances that flights will be cancelled or delayed.
“To be blunt, the nation’s commerce will grind to a halt,”In a letter to the Chief Executive Officers of American and Delta Airlines, United, Southwest Airlines, and United, they argued that interference by 5G would be more severe than initially thought. “Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially be grounded. On a day such as yesterday, over 1,100 flights would have to be cancelled, diverted or delayed.”
The interference between 5G and radar altimeters is a concern. These devices help pilots to land safely in low visibility areas. According to the service’s frequency description, it was: “close”the one on which altimeters are operating. To avoid interference, the airlines requested a two-mile buffer zone at US airports.
Since several years, neither the Federal Aviation Administration or the Federal Communications Commission have been able resolve this impasse.
AT&T and Verizon have said their signals would not interfere with aircraft instruments and that the technology has been safely used in many other countries. Their original plans were to establish 5G services in December. However, they’ve been forced to delay it twice by the airline dispute.
The most recent delay came on New Year’s Eve, after an intervention from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson. In that agreement, both telecoms agreed not to cut their signal power near US airports for six more months. Both the FAA, DOT and DOT also promised to continue to support 5G rollout.
But, airlines claimed that the buffer was only for 20 seconds and they are asking for an exclusion zone larger than the one in France which is 96 seconds.
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