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

The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday said it has reached an agreement with Verizon and AT&T on how to expand 5G mobile service while allowing more planes to safely land at airports across the country, landing Heat of fierce dispute between wireless network providers and airlines.

The problem is that airlines and the FAA are concerned that the planned nationwide 5G expansion will threaten flight safety. The new generation of 5G services, which provide much faster internet access, use so-called C-band frequencies, close to the part of the wave used by safety-critical equipment.

The day before last week’s planned expansion, AT&T and Verizon have agreed to compromise: They will continue to roll out, but will not enable 5G within two miles of some airport runways, as required by the airline industry. Friday’s FAA announcement shows all parties are moving toward a more permanent 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. wire and has assisted in further analysis of how 5G signals interact with sensitive aircraft. tool.

“The FAA has used this data to determine that it is possible to more safely and accurately map the size and shape of areas around the airport where 5G signals are degraded,” the agency said. , narrowing down the areas where wireless operators are delaying activating their antennas.” “This will allow wireless carriers to safely pop more towers as they roll out new 5G service in major markets across the US.”

Verizon and AT&T declined to comment on the FAA’s statement. Airlines for America, an airline trade group representing the nation’s largest airlines, welcomed the development.

“While much remains to be done, the ongoing partnership between the FAA, the airline industry and telecommunications companies is helping to minimize disruptions to air travel and transport safely as 5G towers plugins are enabled,” it said. “We look forward to achieving a more effective long-term 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 on airwaves for their 5G services, reflecting the importance of next-generation networks to their business ambitions. The rollout was slated to begin in late December but has been delayed several times due to concerns from the aviation industry.

Airlines and the FAA are particularly concerned that 5G could interfere with readings from radio altimeters, which determine the distance between an aircraft and the ground. Such measurements are especially important for pilots when visibility is low and are also used in other critical systems on some aircraft.

President Biden commended AT&T and Verizon last week for agreeing to delay the rollout near major airports and said the compromise would still allow more than 90% of the planned service expansion to proceed. Since then, the FAA has dispatched about 90% of the US commercial aircraft fleet to safely land where the new generation of 5G is deployed.

David McCabe contribution report.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/technology/faa-5g-verizon-att.html FAA says it has reached agreement on 5G service at airports

Fry Electronics Team

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