FAA says it has reached an agreement on 5G service at airports

The Federal Aviation Administration said on Friday it had reached an agreement with Verizon and AT&T on a way to expand 5G cellular ...


The Federal Aviation Administration said on Friday it had reached an agreement with Verizon and AT&T on a way to expand 5G cellular service while allowing more planes to land safely at airports across the country. which cooled a heated dispute between wireless service providers and airlines.

At issue, airlines and the FAA feared that a planned nationwide expansion of 5G could threaten flight safety. The new generation of 5G service, which offers much faster internet access, uses so-called C-band frequencies, which are close to the portion of the airwaves used by major security devices.

A day before the planned expansion last week, AT&T and Verizon have reached a compromise: They would continue to roll out, but would not activate 5G within two miles of certain airport runways, per an aviation industry request. The FAA’s announcement on Friday suggested that all parties were moving towards a more durable solution.

The FAA said in a statement that it “appreciated the strong communication” and cooperation from the wireless companies, which it said provided more accurate data on the location of wireless transmitters and aided in more analysis. insight into how 5G signals interact with sensitive aircraft. implements.

“The FAA used this data to determine that it is possible to safely and more accurately map the size and shape of areas around airports where 5G signals are attenuated, reducing the areas where wireless carriers report their on-air activations,” the agency said. “This will allow wireless service providers to safely power on more towers as they roll out new 5G service in key U.S. markets.”

Verizon and AT&T declined to comment on the FAA statement.

Nick Ludlum, director of communications at CTIA, a wireless industry group, said the agreement was “a positive development that highlights the tremendous progress that the wireless industry, the wireless industry aviation, the FAA, and the FCC are doing to ensure robust 5G service and safe flights.”

Airlines for America, a trade group that represents the nation’s largest airlines, welcomed the development. “While much work remains to be done, ongoing collaboration between the FAA, the aviation industry and telecommunications companies is helping to safely reduce disruptions to air travel and navigation as towers additional 5G are enabled,” he said. “We look forward to achieving a more efficient permanent solution that will allow the United States to continue to lead the world in aviation safety while expanding our nation’s 5G network.”

Wireless service providers have spent billions of dollars to access the airwaves for their 5G service, reflecting the importance of the next-generation network to their business ambitions. The rollout was scheduled to begin in late December, but has been repeatedly delayed out of respect for aviation industry concerns.

Airlines and the FAA were particularly concerned that 5G could interfere with readings from radio altimeters, devices that determine the distance between planes and the ground. These measurements are particularly important for pilots when visibility is poor and are used in other critical systems of some aircraft.

President Biden had praised AT&T and Verizon last week for agreeing to delay deployment near major airports last week and said the compromise would still allow more than 90% of planned service expansion to continue. Since then, the FAA has cleared approximately 90% of the US commercial aircraft fleet to land safely where next-generation 5G is deployed.

David McCabe contributed report.

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Newsrust - US Top News: FAA says it has reached an agreement on 5G service at airports
FAA says it has reached an agreement on 5G service at airports
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