Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Steve Dickson and United States Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg yesterday asked leading mobile…
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Steve Dickson and United States Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg yesterday asked leading mobile communications companies to postpone the rollout of the anticipated 5G wireless service. The technology was set to be deployed on January 5th, but authorities have raised concerns over aviation safety.
Early last month, the FAA issued two airworthiness directives in a bid to mitigate worries about the impact of 5G mobile data signals on aircraft. Notably, there have been concerns that interference from these networks may cause a plane’s altimeters to become unreliable. Thus, in specific conditions, aircraft operations may become limited.
The fears have continued into the new year. Just this week, the Airlines for America trade association highlighted that the 5G signals could disrupt flight services and pled to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to delay C-band deployment until more testing can be conducted.
With the likes of Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, FedEx, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and UPS part of Airlines for America, there is undoubtedly influential opposition to the rollout in its current form. Understandably, these operators want clarification that safety concerns are fully addressed.
Following the urges from the association, the leadership of the FAA and US Department of Transportation have written to AT&T Chief Executive John Stankey and Verizon Chief Executive Hans Vestberg for a delay of no longer than two weeks. Reuters reports that this request is as part of a “proposal as a near-term solution for advancing the co-existence of 5G deployment in the C-Band and safe flight operations.”
“We ask that your companies continue to pause introducing commercial C-Band service for an additional short period of no more than two weeks beyond the currently scheduled deployment date of January 5.” – FAA Administrator Steve Dickson and United States Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, in a letter, as shared by Reuters.
Verizon and AT&T have both confirmed that they are reviewing the letter. The pair have also expressed that the aviation industry is seeking to hold the C-Band spectrum rollout hostage until “the wireless industry agrees to cover the costs of upgrading any obsolete altimeters.”
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It’s not only national airlines that are monitoring the situation. 5G deployment in the country is having an effect across the globe. For instance, Air India’s direct flights to the nation can also be affected by directives about landing at certain airports in the US due to the new technology.
Wireless industry group CTIA has shared that 5G is safe and spectrum is being utilized in approximately 40 other nations. Regardless, we can expect the service to be deployed in the US sooner than later following some additional tests.
What are your thoughts about the introduction of the new 5G wireless service? What do you make of the deployment’s potential impact on aviation? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.