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US Request For Delay In 5G Deployment Rejected By CEOs Of AT&T And Verizon

US Request For Delay In 5G Deployment Rejected By CEOs Of AT&T And Verizon
AT&T and Verizon Communications CEOs rebuffed a plea to postpone the scheduled Jan. 5 launch of the new 5G wireless service due to aviation safety problems but pledged to implement new measures in the interim.
US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and FAA Administrator Steve Dickson requested a delay of the commercial implementation of no more than two weeks from AT&T CEO John Stankey and Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg. 
In a joint statement sent on Sunday, the wireless providers stated that they would not install 5G around airports for six months, but they refused any larger restrictions on the use of C-Band airwaves.
The Transportation Department proposal would be "an irresponsible abdication of the operating control required to deploy world-class and globally competitive communications networks," the CEOs said.
The aviation industry and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have expressed worries about 5G's possible interference with critical aircraft electronics such as radio altimeters, which could cause flight disruptions.
The carriers said that the zone for exclusion as proposed by AT&T and Verizon is presently being used in France, and added that "with slight adaption" reflecting "modest technical differences in how C-band is being deployed."
"The laws of physics are the same in the United States and France," the CEOs wrote. "If U.S. 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 two companies said.
It was "reviewing the latest letter from the wireless companies on how to mitigate interference from 5G C-band transmissions. U.S. aviation safety standards will guide our next actions," the FAA said in a statement on Sunday.
According to FAA officials, France uses spectrum for 5G that is further away from spectrum used for radio altimeters, and uses lower 5G power levels than those allowed in the US.
Initially, that spectrum that is in the same range as used in France will be used by it, Verizon said and added that the additional spectrum will be used by the company only after about two years. It also added that the larger US exclusion zone around US airports is "to make up for the slight difference in power levels between the two nations."
Pilots, airlines, manufacturers, and others "have NO incentive to delay 5G, other than SAFETY. What do they think … we’re raising these issues over the holidays for, kicks?",
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), which represents 50,000 workers at 17 airlines, wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
The delay was also backed by the Air Line Pilots Association.
The total area of the exclusion zone that is proposed by the two wireless carriers is not large enough as was originally sought by the FAA, said government and industry officials.
A proposal to identify priority airports "where a buffer zone would permit aviation operations to continue safely while the FAA completes its assessments of the interference potential" was made by the FAA and Buttigieg on Friday.
The cellular carriers, who won the C-Band spectrum in an $80 billion government auction, consented to six months of preventative steps to limit interference, but claim the upgrades are necessary to compete with countries like China and to enable remote working.
Airlines for America, which represents American Airlines, FedEx, and other airlines, petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday to halt deployment around several airports, citing the risk of thousands of flights being disrupted daily.
If the FCC does not act, the airline group has stated that it will go to court on Monday.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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