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5G Delayed by Verizon, AT&T on FAA Worries Over Airplane Interference

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has concerns that a new 5G frequency band could cause interference between key safety devices on airplanes, prompting both Verizon and AT&T to postpone their plans to launch the speedy wireless technology until next year, according to reports Thursday (Nov. 4).

AT&T and Verizon agreed to halt the rollout of 5G services that use a set of radio frequencies called “C-band,” and will collaborate with the FAA to address their concerns over the technology. The new targeted rollout date is Jan. 5, 2022.

See also: Aviation Industry Emerges As Unexpected Obstacle In Path of 5G Rollout

The FAA is planning to hand down official rules that would limit the use of automated cockpit systems, which are used to help planes land in bad weather conditions, among other functions, sources told The Wall Street Journal. The new limits are intended to avoid possible interference from wireless towers using the new 5G signals.

A Verizon spokesperson told CNET that it is working with the FAA and pulling back on deployment but sees the company “moving full speed ahead with our plans to bring 5G over this spectrum in early 2022.”

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which oversees telecom regulations, issued a statement with the FAA that confirmed the voluntary pause.

“We appreciate the FCC’s work in its discussions with the FAA and others to ensure a data-driven analysis that will again demonstrate that 5G operations in this band pose no risk to flight safety,” a Verizon spokesman said in a statement.

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AT&T said it would continue to work with the FCC and the FAA to understand the FAA’s concerns.

“It is critical that these discussions be informed by the science and the data,” AT&T said in a statement. “That is the only path to enabling experts and engineers to assess whether any legitimate coexistence issues exist.”

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