A couple of days ago, we reported that airlines were requesting a delay in the deployment of 5G network modules in some major airports in the United States as it could lead to some technical interference.
The most recent update about the news is that AT&T and Verizon, two of the biggest carriers in the US have both rejected the request by the US transportation officials to delay the planned 5G wireless services.
However, both telecom giants offered to limit the power of their signals for about six months in order to give regulators more time to study how they could affect aircraft operations.
The rejection letter came on Sunday after the request was made on Friday by Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, and Steve Dickson, who is the administrator for the US Federal Aviation Administration.
The planned date of the deployment was January 5th however, the request to delay the deployment was due to the fact that 5G networks could potentially interfere with radio altimeters which use similar signals to measure how far above the ground an airplane is at a given moment.
Failure to act would result in “widespread and unacceptable disruption as airplanes divert to other cities or flights are canceled, causing ripple effects throughout the US air transportation system,” they warned in a letter (PDF) to the companies’ chief executives.
However, the CEO of both telecom companies John Stankey and Hans Vestberg both said on Sunday that instead of delaying the deployment, they would adopt the same C-band radio exclusion zone which is in use in places such as France near runaways at certain airports.
“France provides a real-world example of an operating environment where 5G and aviation safety already co-exist,” the companies’ CEOs wrote in the letter (see below). “If US airlines are permitted to operate flights every day in France, then the same operating conditions should allow them to do so in the United States.”
The FAA on the other hand has announced that it is now reviewing the letter and that US aviation safety standards would guide its next actions.
The Transportation Department couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Requests for the delay in the deployment wad filed earlier by Airline companies. They also threatened to sue the FCC if the rollout isn’t delayed for further study on whether the signals would disrupt cockpit instruments or not.
Since the beginning of the 5G era, carriers have vowed to take precautionary measures with the deployment of their 5G service in order to avert any interference with aircraft sensors.
Carriers, along with experts from the FCC, have additionally said there are no serious interference issues.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, a proponent of the new 5G services and a Republican, in a tweet Saturday accused the Biden administration of “working to needlessly delay C-Band operations.”
In a letter to Buttigieg, Carr called the request for a delay “highly irregular” and said the FCC’s rules for 5G signals will protect airplane operations from harmful interference.
Nearly 40 countries have turned on 5G over C-Band spectrum.— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) January 1, 2022
Yet the Biden Administration is working to needlessly delay C-Band operations here.
That would only undermine America’s 5G leadership and the mid-band work we accomplished over the past few years.
My response to DOT: pic.twitter.com/pVhUTyOd9m
Then back in Nov. 2021, the FAA warned about potential interference between cockpit safety devices and cell towers on the ground transmitting 5G signals
The FAA also issued new directives to the airline industry earlier – warning that interference from 5G signals via C-band spectrum could result in flight diversions- even though the agency didn’t actually quantify the impact.
The major reason for the 5G C-band deployment is to offer a better speed and wider-reach relative to the higher-speed millimeter-wave 5G (mmWave).
It will also provide speedier connections compared to 4G LTE-like low-band 5G.