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ATandT, Verizon to delay 5G launch by two weeks

After initially rejecting the formal request by the FAA and U.S. Department of Transportation to delay the 5G wireless rollout, ATandamp;T and Verizon have now agreed to push the launch date by two weeks.Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and FAA Administrator Steve Dickson submitted a letter to ATandamp;T CEO John Stankey and Hans Vestberg of Verizon, requesting that 5G deployment in the C-band be put off as the industry works to mitigate issues with radar altimeters performing inaccurately near certain airports where the 5G is utilized. Meanwhile, the FAA noted it would expedite approvals of Alternate Means of Compliance (AMOCs) for operators with "high-performing radio altimeters" to operate at airports with low interference potential.As noted in the letter, all C-band locations would be activated by the end of March 2022.ATandamp;T and Verizon submitted an initial response rejecting the request to delay, but have now backtracked after pressure from the aviation industry. The telecommunication companies did offer to alter the use of C-band for six months, through July 5, 2022, near airports that will be selected during negotiations with the industry. This 6-month compromise will still be upheld by ATandamp;T and Verizon, despite the delay.For the first six months of 2022, ATandamp;T and Verizon have agreed to adopt the same C-Band radio exclusion zones already in use in France."That approach -- which is one of the most conservative in the world -- would include extensive inclusion zones around runways at certain airports," said the letter from Stankey and Vestberg. "The effect would be to further reduce C-band signal levels by at least 10 times on the runway or during the last mile of final approach and the first mile after takeoff."The letter went on to note that U.S. aircraft fly in and out of France every day with approval from the FAA, providing a real-world example of an operating environment where 5G and aviation already safely co-exist.This will give the FAA and other aviation industry authorities time to continue their study of the signal's effect on air traffic.The FAA has voiced concerns that the 5G wireless networks would interfere with cockpit safety systems that utilize radar altimeters. RELATED: 5G set to roll out in January, FAA believes it can safely coexist with aviationThese cockpit systems help pilots navigate in poor weather and avoid midair collisions. Commercial pilots that are unable to use these features will not be able to fly, leading to flight cancellations and delays in large metropolitan cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Houston where these towers are located.A Safety Alert for Operators and multiple ADs were issued in December with examples of NOTAMs to identify areas affected by 5G interference.
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