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Developing: AT&T, Verizon refuse FAA request to delay 5G rollout

AT&T and Verizon have refused a request by federal officials to delay the launch of their new 5G wireless systems. Response from AT&T & Verizon leaves room for compromise. The 2 company CEOs made a limited counterproposal. As per Wall Street Journal, they offer to reduce power of 5G service for 6 months to levels authorized in France (one of several countries where 5G is active). ( More...

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[This poster has been suspended.]

Doug Haviland 4
For heavens sake, one Government agency actually talking too another, That’s outrageous. To think they might actually get something constructive accomplished it won’t happen.
Brian Freeman 9
C'mon, everyone knows it way more critical that I have constant, uninterrupted access to TikTok videos on my phone than it is that airplanes land safely....
While politics got most of the spotlight, this remains a technical problem to resolve with technical solutions. The report from the “aviation side” by RTCA engineers is the only thorough analysis of the technical aspects of this publicly available (see below). It would be easier to take credibly the telecom side if they engaged in a technical response to these concerns.
ADXbear 8
So any approach accidents can be blamed on these companies and the governments agencies.. this was completely avoidable..
How about these guys pay for the avionics upgrade to these aircraft radar altimiters.. thexairlines should Not be punished for this.
Randy Reynard 4
There are 3 issues here:
1. Technical - with the frequency separation between the 5G signals and Radar Altimeter signals, there SHOULDN'T be an interference issue - unless RadAlts are HORRIBLY non-selective. If that's the case, they need to be fixed.
2. Regulatory - This should have been hashed out between FAA and FCC long before the first license was issued for 5G.
3. Political/Rhetorical - 5G has been in use world-wide (and near airports) for quite some time and I can find NO reports of interference with RadAlts. SO Politicians and the MEDIA have stirred up the 'stinkpot' to convince the electorate they're doing something (politicians) and to sell more advertising (media).

In the end, this may truly be a non-issue.
Tony Smith 8
Out of band interference is a real things. I worked on radar systems and observed it myself. The radio altimeters existed long before 5G came along, so it should be up to the cell carriers to pay for aircraft retrofits/redesign. They may cry about it, but it's small peanuts compared to what they make on their internet activities.
Peter Fuller 5
I’m thinking this issue is all about the money, specifically who will pay for new/upgraded radio altimeters. Everyone involved wants someone else to pay, so stay tuned for more arguing, posturing in the media, and litigation.
Michael Hope 5
It is all about money. The FCC sold the spectrum for billions of dollars, and does not want to give the money back.
21voyageur 4
by selling the bandwidths, the FCC is now complicit. Any college graduate would have suggested that they , , , uhm, , ,maybe check with the FAA? Dysfunctional government agencies.
Altimeters were given a band to operate in but their design made them sensitive to activity in adjacent bands not "owned" by them.

So who's problem is this?
avionik99 -4
Why give the money back? 5G is deployed in 40 other countries with no issues. It is proven safe already. This is now purely political and the FAA does not want to be caught with its pants down once again.
Muchits 3
Not using the SAME frequencies as radar altimeters.
Calvin Carter 2
Large corporations direct many political agendas, not our government
scott moore 6
I am so glad I do not use either carrier, do to the fact they are willing to put peoples lives far below their Profits!
linbb 0
They are going to degrade there signal strength until this all can be put to rest one way or the other. So dont pat yourself too hard might hurt in the long run.
Regis dAstous 2
There are two possible causes:
1) excessive out of band emission from the 5G base station
2) inadequate filtration in the radio-altimeter receiver chain

If 1), additional filtration at the 5G base stations located near airports should be sufficient, at a cost of approx $1K a piece.
If 2), additional filtration on the radio-altimeter receiver antenna should make it, at a cost of about $500 a piece.

So, it is not a question of money, one just need to figure out who is causing the issue and this one should solve it on his side. If you get enough money to fly a plane, you get enough money to put $1K in your dashboard.
jrollf 1
Unfortunately the cost of adding filtration to the radio=altimeter receiver antenna won't be $500, it will be multiple thousands of dollars per affected aircraft. The cost of obtaining required STCs/approval's from the FAA for every make/type model of affected aircraft will be insane, and the labor itself will likely be more than $500. Then throw in a FAA "tested and certified" band pass filter, the parts are likely to be over a thousand dollars per aircraft.

This would likely cost airlines millions to 10's of millions of dollars to institute. The price for small operators could likely be more than they could afford.
Regis dAstous 2
Personally, I don't know if it is option 1 or option 2 which is causing the issue, but you seem to lean toward option 2. Then it should be to the radio-altimeter manufacturer to resolve it with a retrofit at their own expense.

If they made a poor design originally, they should replace the device with a better one.

I guess that both sides are meeting their applicable design standard, but nobody ever figured out the issue at priori.
WhiteKnight77 1
Why would number 2 ever be an issue. Radalts were around long before 5g was a thing, hell, before cell phones ever became a thing. Even the C?H-46E I crewed in the mid 80s had one and cell phones just did not exist. Are you inferring that they have inadequate filtration due to not having to compete with other radio signals? Some of those birds still fly, especially doing logging.
avionik99 2
Is not 5G being used elsewhere in the world without any issues to the aircraft world!!
mbrews 2
You seem to repeat the same claim of safety, with an incorrect assumption that 5G frequencies are all exactly the same all over the globe. They are NOT all the same frequencies.

Check out the web article below about 5G frequencies on USA telecoms

It lists 7 different freq bands used for Verizon 5G. Two other bands for AT&T 5G, and Five freg bands used for 5G by T-mobile/Sprint.

The article is a year old, but shows that USA 5G employs VARIOUS SWATHS of spectrum for 5G comms. Similarly, global telecoms are licensed to specific parts of spectrum as per country or region telecom regulators.

So, 5G is NOT MERELY THE SAME BAND GLOBALLY. The current controversy is more narrowly focused - on C-band signals that might interfere with poorly-filtered radar altimeters.
avionik99 -4
Over 60 countries are using 5G. I have found nothing that states they are not using any bands you listed for airlines sake. Korea is using 5G extensively with no issues. 5G is 5G the bands used are the same bands used worldwide. Countries are not picking and choosing bands based on Airport worries anywhere.
jrollf 4
Apparently the US implementation is not the same as the rest of the world. Per the first website below, the US is one of the few that use the 3700 - 4200 MHz bands for 5G, which are the ones in question. And per the FAA, (2nd web link) compared to the example of France that everyone is using, France limits their transmission power (631 watts in France, vs 1,585 watts in the US) and requires the antenna's to point toward the ground while the antennas in the US are not pointed toward the ground. As a result the "Planned buffer zones" for landing in France cover 96 seconds of flight, while the US implementation only covers the last 20 seconds.

The real issue is these concerns were raised years ago and were ignored by industry and the FCC.
Juan Jimenez 1
Oh yes, they are. In France, for example, mobile operators are currently providing 5G services through three frequency bands: 700 MHz, 2.1 GHz and 3.5 GHz. They also recently auction bandwidth at 3.4-3.8 GHz and 26.5-27.5 GHz. That is COMPLETELY different than in the US.
Juan Jimenez 1
The size of the lawsuit on the first crash will take a chunk of both AT&T and Verizon's rear end so big it will take them decades to recover.
21voyageur 1
However, they will pull in the FCC as culpable and the case will go on for decades. Remember it was the FCC that granted the licenses. Next?
Juan Jimenez 1
It was AT&T and Verizon who refused to wait. They will hold the brunt of the responsibility, and will pay for it.

[This poster has been suspended.]

Juan Jimenez 1
Bad idea. It will come back to bite them. You can't get out of a liability lawsuit by claiming someone else told you it was ok to do it when you already knew it could have deadly consequences.
China and other countries has had 5g for ages. No planes have fallen out the sky.
Jim Allen 1
Maybe companies like Boeing shouldn’t have tried their damndest to get around regulations. As it said in the book “An airplane is a commodity just like everything eise”. Who else would charge separately for software/hardware that ensure the AOA sensors agree? Sorry it but you in the ass pal…
Jim Allen 0
*bit you in the ass..
gayle minard 1
They agreed to delay two days ago.
John FAHY 0
Someone from a foreign 5G phone manufacture a few years ago pointed out we have a rural commune phone service?
Could it be that the administration is a contributor to this situation?
Peter Fuller 1
Since much of this process of 5G frequency allocation and auctioning happened before 20 January 2021, could it be that two administrations are contributors to this situation? Assign blame as you will, assigning blame doesn’t fix the problem.
aurodoc -1
Are our government agencies so inept that they couldn't test the systems and figure it out ahead of time? Perhaps this is a rhetorical question.

Hopefully this will be a non issue like Y2K was in 1999 when everyone was freaking out about computers crashing and planes falling out of the sky
Eric Halfaby 6
Y2K would have been an issue if hundreds of thousands of coders had not worked their proverbial arses off making sure it was not. That you think otherwise is testament to their hard work and skill.


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