United States Calls for Postponement of 5G Deployment Due to Air Traffic Problems | News | DW


US authorities have asked major telecom operators to halt the planned rollout of 5G networks for another two weeks on Saturday.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Chief Steve Dickson have called on AT&T and Verizon – two of the nation’s largest operators – the delay due to flight safety concerns.

The deployment was originally scheduled for December 5, but was delayed until January 5 after aerospace giants Airbus and Boeing raised concerns about potential interference.

Buttigieg asked for a delay “for a short additional period not exceeding two weeks” in a letter to the companies.

What are the possible problems caused by 5G?

The concerns relate to the use of the range of frequencies used by both 5G technology as well as on-board devices to measure altitude.

AT&T and Verizon were granted permission to begin using the 3.7-3.8 GHz frequency – the so-called C-band service – in February 2021 after paying tens of billions of dollars.

The initial launch date for the high-speed Internet network has been extended so that the FAA can obtain more information on the effects on altimetric instruments.

The agency expressed concern about possible interference with the aircraft’s electronics. Buttigieg and Dickson based their delay request on the threat of serious impacts to air travel if the 5G deployment did indeed trigger technical problems.

Competing economic interests

Deployment and delay represent financial problems for two key US industries.

Telecom operators who have paid billions for spectrum licenses are eager to launch commercial use of 5G technology.

On the other hand, the aviation industry is concerned about potential problems caused by frequency interference that could have widespread ripple effects.

The additional costs of upgrading their facilities to make them 5G compatible is also bad news.

The letter from Buttigieg and Dickson seems to find a suitable compromise which recognizes the “significant investment” made by the telecommunications companies as well as the “economic stakes for the aviation industry”.

ab / rs (dpa, AFP)


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