AT&T and Verizon said Tuesday they will voluntarily limit 5G network around airports amid fears of flights disruptions.
Verizon joins AT&T in delaying some 5G deployments near airports when it turns on its newest version of 5G service tomorrow as both companies work with the FAA and airlines on concerns over possible interference. pic.twitter.com/Dtdm7wJ0qa
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) January 18, 2022
#Breaking: Both @ATT and @Verizon will halt 5G deployment near airports following concerns from the aviation industry about potential impacts on air travel. Verizon statement: pic.twitter.com/cjKArAkFMH
— Kara Kenney (@KaraKenney6) January 18, 2022
The chief executives of major airlines in America Monday sent a letter to the White House warning of a potential “catastrophic” aviation crisis on Wednesday when AT&T and Verizon are scheduled to switch-on the new 5G services.
The CEOs reportedly said the 5G deployment “could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas.”
“Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially be grounded,” the leaders of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and others wrote in a letter, according to Reuters. “This means that on a day like yesterday, more than 1,100 flights and 100,000 passengers would be subjected to cancellations, diversions or delays.”
President Joe Biden issued a statement thanking the cell carriers for their delay near airports: “I want to thank Verizon and AT&T for agreeing to delay 5G deployment around key airports and to continue working with the Department of Transportation on safe 5G deployment at this limited set of locations.”
“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. 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. Expanding 5G and promoting competition in internet service are critical priorities of mine, and tomorrow will be a massive step in the right direction. My team has been engaging non-stop with the wireless carriers, airlines, and aviation equipment manufacturers to chart a path forward for 5G deployment and aviation to safely co-exist – and, at my direction, they will continue to do so until we close the remaining gap and reach a permanent, workable solution around these key airports.”
— Reuters U.S. News (@ReutersUS) January 17, 2022
According to the report from Reuters, the letter was sent to White House National Economic Council director Brian Deese, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Steve Dickson and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.