5G Paused After Airlines Warn of ‘Catastrophic’ Consequences
AT&T and Verizon agreed to delay their 5G wireless service rollouts near certain airports after airline executives raised concerns of “catastrophic” disruptions.
In a letter to federal officials, the executives urged them to prevent 5G from being implemented within 2 miles of affected airports until the FAA figures out a way for planes to fly safely or risk a “catastrophic disruption” to passenger flights and the global supply chain.
“To be blunt, the nation’s commerce will grind to a halt,” the executives wrote.
“When deployed next to runways, the 5G signals could interfere with the key safety equipment that pilots rely on to take off and land in inclement weather,” United Airlines said in a statement.
On Tuesday, “AT&T said it would delay turning on new cell towers around runways at some airports — it did not say how many or for how long — and work with federal regulators to settle the dispute,” the AP reported.
Not long after, Verizon said they “voluntarily decided to limit” their 5G network near airports.
“We are frustrated by the FAA’s inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to safely deploy 5G technology without disrupting aviation services, and we urge it do so in a timely manner,” an AT&T spokesperson said in a statement.
President Joe Biden commended both companies for agreeing to delay their rollouts.
“This agreement will avoid potentially devastating disruptions to passenger travel, cargo operations, and our economic recovery, while allowing more than 90 percent of wireless tower deployment to occur as scheduled,” Biden said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
“This agreement protects flight safety and allows aviation operations to continue without significant disruption and will bring more high-speed internet options to millions of Americans.”