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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Verizon and AT&T have agreed to postpone its 5G plans due to concerns about airline safety

According to a late Monday announcement from Verizon and AT&T, they have agreed to postpone the deployment of new wireless technology for two weeks in order to comply with the demands of federal aviation regulators who have expressed concern that the signals could pose a safety hazard on commercial aircrafts.

The decision was reached after the firms first rejected a request for a postponement made last week by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the director of the Federal Aviation Administration, Steve Dickson.

According to AT&T’s Kim Hart Jonson, a spokesperson, “At Secretary Buttigieg’s request, we have voluntarily agreed to an extra two-week delay in our rollout of C-Band 5G services.” An official from Verizon Communications, Rich Young, confirmed that the corporation had likewise approved the postponement.

The AT&T spokeswoman said that the company was still “committed” to a plan by Verizon and AT&T to initially run a new portion of the 5G wireless network at a lower power than usual, as well as other steps to alleviate the worries of aviation authorities.

The decision to halt the rollout of the new 5G service for the time being prevents a collision between the carriers, who had planned to turn on the ultrafast wireless networks on Wednesday, and the Federal Aviation Administration, which had indicated that it could effectively ground some flights due to safety concerns about the technology, for the time being. It is unknown whether or not the two parties will be able to reach a long-term agreement.

The conflict between aviation interests and the wireless sector has been simmering for years, but it has reached a boiling point in recent months as the launch of the new 5G service approaches. Verizon and AT&T have previously agreed to forward the launch of their new service from December to January, a month earlier than originally planned.

The conflict between aviation interests and the wireless sector has been simmering for years, but it has reached a boiling point in recent months as the launch of the new 5G service approaches. Verizon and AT&T have previously agreed to forward the launch of their new service from December to January, a month earlier than originally planned.

The Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.) has threatened to prohibit pilots from using the equipment if cellular providers begin offering their new 5G service. It is possible that some commercial aircraft could be grounded or rerouted after flight delays and cancellations caused by inclement weather and crew shortages during the Christmas travel season, according to the FAA and aviation associations.

“The Federal Aviation Administration expresses gratitude to AT&T and Verizon for agreeing to a voluntary delay and for their suggested mitigations,” said Matthew Lehner, a spokesperson for the agency. Using the extra time and space available, we want to minimise flight interruptions related with this 5G implementation in the future.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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