US carriers AT&T and Verizon Communication do not want to delay the start of new 5G services in the C-band spectrum indefinitely. Both telecom operators are responding to a request from US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Authority Chairman Steve Dixon to delay use for further safety research.
Recently, several airlines have asked the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to require both carriers to delay the operation of 5G networks in the C-band frequency. This is especially true in areas near airports.
Airlines fear that select 5G networks will interfere with avionics, such as radio-based altimeters. This can lead to numerous flight delays.
Minister Buttigieg and FAA Chairman Dixon have asked AT&T and Verizon Communications to delay activation of 5G networks selected in the C-band frequency by up to two weeks. This is for further investigation. In fact, the responsible minister also wants to create 5G-free buffer zones around airports to ensure aviation safety.
AT&T Suggestion and Verizon Communications
In response, the two carriers indicated, as Reuters reports, that they want to continue the planned activation of 5G in the C-band frequency on January 5. However, they want to take new security measures. For example, they suggest turning off 5G at this frequency near airports for six months. According to carriers, this is already happening in France, for example, and apart from the technical details, it is easy to implement in the United States.
Verizon initially wants to use only a limited portion of the spectrum for this. Only at a later stage, when more is known about potential interference, does the telecom operator plan to use more spectrum for the 5G service in the C band.
However, completely stopping the use of the C-band for 5G services is not an option for both operators. According to AT&T and Verizon Communications, discontinuing 5G in the C-band spectrum will lead to several disadvantages for the United States. Among other things, the country will lag behind developments in other countries, such as China, in the field of 5G.
The two carriers see the potential abandonment of the C-band in exchange for 5G as a huge financial loss. Last year, they spent a lot of money on spectrum auctioning at that particular frequency. Shutting down 5G means destroying capital.
FAA . response
In an initial response to the telecom operators’ proposal, the FAA indicates that it does not believe in the proposal at all. According to the aviation authority, a comparison with France on the same terms is not entirely correct. In France, lower signal strengths will be used than those AT&T and Verizon Communications are willing to use in the United States. Also, the frequencies used in France are said to be too far from the airports that operators would like to use in the US.
Airlines maintain their former position and want to not deploy 5G networks around airports. If the Biden administration does not take appropriate action today, it will go to court to enforce the ban.
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