Mobile carriers agree to delay rollout of some 5G services near airports by a year, FAA says

Mobile carriers agree to delay rollout of some 5G services near airports by a year, FAA says


The FAA said the delay, by an additional year, will allow more time for the permanent solution: replacing or filtering out the devices that measure a plane’s distance from the ground, called radar altimeters. Promises of the new technology include faster speeds, but aviation officials say radio waves can be picked up in some cases by the radar altimeter.

The new schedule has raised concerns among major airlines and regional jet operators, with the latter facing an even more aggressive end-2022 deadline. The Regional Airline Association said the FAA “is pressuring airlines to meet unbelievable deadlines.”

“Airlines are being asked to take responsibility for a process that should have been in place years ago before telecommunications extended to the spectrum used by aviation,” said RAA CEO Faye. Malarkey Black. “Our government partners should not divert gaps in interagency coordination to the airline industry.”


Airlines for America, a trade group that represents major airlines, wrote in a letter that “changes affecting avionics performance have always been based on well-thought-out industry consensus standards, extensive testing and oversight. criticism of FAA certification, often measured in years”.

“We are seriously concerned that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has placed the burden on the aviation industry to act in a manner that would previously be considered, by the FAA itself, to be reckless in the context of the design changes to safety-critical systems. avionics,” the letter read.

The letter said safety would be “compromised by the rushed approach to avionics modifications under pressure from telecommunications companies.”

Spokesman Dan Stohr of the National Air Carriers Association, whose members include low-cost airlines, said he would continue to “raise our concerns and find a way to equip planes in the way that works best.” more secure we need to operate safely. “

The FAA said the mobile carriers voluntarily offered the one-year extension. The schedule calls for the modernization of smaller regional jets “by the end of 2022” and larger jets by the summer of 2023.

An AT&T spokesperson told CNN that work over the past few months has allowed it to develop “a more tailored approach to controlling signal strength around tracks” for C-band, the part of the radio spectrum used for 5G.

“While our FCC licenses allow us to fully deploy much-needed C-band spectrum right now, we have chosen in good faith to implement these more tailored precautionary measures so that airlines have more time to upgrade equipment,” the AT&T spokesperson said. “We appreciate the FAA’s support for this approach, and we will continue to work with the aviation community as we move toward expiring all of these voluntary measures by next summer.”

Verizon Executive Vice President Craig Silliman told CNN it will “lift voluntary limitations on rolling out our 5G network around airports in a phased approach over the next few months, which means that even more consumers and businesses will benefit from the tremendous capabilities of 5G technology.”

“Today’s announcement identifies a path forward that will allow Verizon to fully utilize our C-band spectrum for 5G around airports on an accelerated and defined schedule,” Silliman said.

Industry and government officials have held a series of meetings on the issue this year, the most recent on Friday.

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