Verizon and AT&T Agree to Delay Rollout of 5G Near Airports

Global Communication Network
Verizon and AT&T to delay 5G rollout. | image by imaginima

Wireless providers Verizon and AT&T announced on January 18 that they have agreed to delay 5G deployment around major airports in the United States, avoiding what a group of airline CEOs said the day before could cause an impending “catastrophic” aviation crisis 

AT&T released a statement on January 18 stating they had agreed to the delay at their “sole discretion,” The Hill reports.   

“We have voluntarily agreed to temporarily defer turning on a limited number of towers around certain airport runways as we continue to work with the aviation industry and the FAA to provide further information about our 5G deployment,” AT&T said in a statement Tuesday. 

Verizon followed suit, announcing that on Wednesday, January 19, the company will launch its 5G Ultra-Wideband network and that “as the nation’s leading wireless provider, we have voluntarily decided to limit our 5G network around airports.”  

“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and our nation’s airlines have not been able to fully resolve navigating 5G around airports, despite it being safe and fully operational in more than 40 other countries,” Verizon said in a press release.  

U.S. President Joe Biden thanked the two businesses in a press release for agreeing to delay 5G deployment near airports and for continuing to work with the Department of Transportation on safe 5G deployment. He said the agreement will prevent potentially disastrous disruptions to passenger travel, cargo operations, and economic recovery while allowing for the deployment of more than 90% of wireless towers to proceed as planned.  

President Biden said the agreement ensures flight safety and allows aviation operations to continue without significant disruption while providing millions of Americans with more high-speed internet options. Expanding 5G and promoting competition in internet service are two critical priorities for the President, according to the press release.  

“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,” Biden said. 

This latest agreement follows a plea from several major airlines explaining their concerns and requesting government officials restrict 5G service near airports. The letter was signed by eleven CEOs from major American aviation companies.

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