US airlines warn 5G C-band could cause ‘catastrophic disruption’

Deepak Gupta January 17, 2022
Updated 2022/01/17 at 10:25 PM

The airline industry says a “catastrophic” event could happen on Wednesday when AT&T and Verizon activate their new 5G C-Band networks. In a letter obtained by , the CEOs of several prominent passenger and cargo airlines, including Delta, United and Southwest, warn that interference from 5G cell towers could affect sensitive safety equipment on their planes.

“Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the travel and transportation public will essentially be on the ground,” they state in the letter, which was sent to the heads of the White House Economic Council, Federal Aviation Administration and Federal Communications. . Commission, as well as Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Immediate intervention is needed to avoid significant operational disruptions to air passengers, carriers, the supply chain and delivery of needed medical supplies.”

The airlines have asked AT&T and Verizon not to offer 5G service within 2 miles of some of the country’s busiest and most vital airports. They are also calling on the federal government to ensure that “5G is deployed, except when the towers are very close to airport runways, until the FAA can determine how this can be safely accomplished without catastrophic disruption.” 7th

The letter is the latest development in the ongoing back and forth between the airline and wireless industries. AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon spent early 2021 to secure the repurposed C-band spectrum that the FCC had put up for auction. In November, AT&T and Verizon agreed to release the C-band by January 5th to help the FAA resolve any interference concerns. They later proposed limiting power near airports and agreed to more on January 4.

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