The latest as far as 5G network is concerned is that Airline companies are now filing an emergency request with the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday to further delay the rollout of new 5G wireless service near airports until a further study can provide the signals will not disrupt critical airplane instruments.
FCC was approached by Airlines for America, an organization that represents some 11 passenger and cargo airline companies such as Delta, United, FedEx, UPS, SouthWest, and American – requesting a delay in the approval process of the 5G rollout near the country’s busiest airports, such as Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, or JFK in New York and other important places.
That said, giant carriers such as AT&T and Verizon both had an agreement previously to delay the rollout of their new 5G services known to make use of what is known as C-band airwaves.
The delay is expected to be shifted until Jan. 5th.
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“The Commission failed to provide a reasoned analysis that realistically and properly addresses the documented concerns of the aviation industry,” the trade group wrote in its filing according to a Bloomberg report.
There is a growing concern about the fact that 5G signals could interfere with radio altimeters that use similar signals to measure how far above the ground an airplane is at a particular time.
Airlines for America, representing its 11 members say if the FCC doesn’t follow through with its request by Jan. 3rd, it may be forced to file a lawsuit.
And that is after senior executives at the majority of the aforementioned airlines threatened to divert or outright cancel flights which will in turn hurt travelers.
“It would be a catastrophic failure of government,” United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby told reporters, according to Reuters.
Wireless lobbyists, such as Jonathan Adelstein, president, and CEO of the Wireless Infrastructure Alliance, have argued that a number of countries overseas use C-band and similar airwaves for 5G with no flight issues.
“The ability of 5G to operate safely in the C-band is already confirmed by real-world experience around the globe,” Adelstein recently told Inside Towers in response to Kirby’s comments.
“If wireless was a legitimate reason, he’d already been canceling all United flights to Europe where they use the same frequencies.”
Previous comments were made about ensuring that 5G doesn’t interfere with aircraft sensors and FCC along with experts on the subject matter have all assured that there are no serious interference issues.
Airline filing emergency requests to the FCC is one of the many efforts to slow down the deployment of the C-Band 5G network.
According to the trade group which showed its support fo around the technology, it added that further conviction is needed in order to confirm whether the new network could cause a signal issue with aviation equipment.
It noted that airline companies have “repeatedly raised” concerns over the past year and a half that it says have not been addressed.
An example of such is a warning about potential interference between important airplanes’ cockpit devices and cell towers on the ground that are transmitting 5G signals.
And earlier in Dec. 2021, the FAA issued new directives to the airline industry warning that interference from 5G signals using the C-band spectrum could result in flight diversions, but the agency didn’t quantify the impact.
One of the most important reasons why the 5G C-band is being pushed to be deployed is the fact that it offers faster and wider-reaching signals which improve the rather short range of the very much faster millimeter-wave 5G.
Wireless service providers are however promoting 5G as both the next step technologically and a critical update offering a much faster internet speed and reliability.
Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile dominated the $81 billion auction for C-band earlier this year, shelling out to acquire the highly valuable spectrum. Prior to the FAA objections, Verizon and AT&T had hoped to have already started turning on C-band 5G in 2021, while T-Mobile plans to tap into the spectrum at the end of 2023.
On the other hand, the airline industry was criticized for not raising its alarm way earlier during the early days of 5G deployment.
“The FAA position threatens to derail the reasoned conclusions reached by the FCC after years of technical analysis and study,” said an earlier letter sent to the current FCC chair and signed by Republicans and Democrats.
The former chairs who signed on were Ajit Pai, Tom Wheeler, Mignon Clyburn, Julius Genachowski, Michael Copps, and Michael Powell.
The issues are said to be on a path of resolution as the Biden administration is working with all the parties involved.