Verizon and AT&T offer to temporarily lower 5G’s power to avoid aircraft interference

As the Federal Aviation Administration continues analyzing whether mid-band 5G spectrum might present a threat to aircraft security systems, Verizon and AT&T have offered to call back the power coming from 5G cell towers for a period of 6 months to alleviate any industry concerns. Both providers are preparing to release essential upgrades to their respective 5G networks using spectrum obtained in the C-band auction. This will result in more robust 5G connectivity and faster speeds compared to the base-level 5G experience that Verizon and AT&T presently use today.
In early November, both companies agreed to push back the rollout by an extra month to January 2022. In a letter sent to the FCC today, they made clear that theyll be progressing with the planned mid-band 5G launch at that time. “This spectrum will be the foundation of our 5G networks for several years to come,” the companies said in the letter, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
In support of the innovation, Verizon and AT&T point to years of research about prospective disturbance and note that mid-band 5G hasnt wreaked havoc for flights in other countries where mid-band 5G is already in location. “While we remain confident that 5G poses no risk to air security, we are also delicate to the Federal Aviation Administrations desire for extra analysis of this issue.”
To help avoid a drawn-out conflict with the FAA, the two providers state theyll voluntarily take additional preventative measures through July 2022 “to decrease energy coming from 5G base stations– both across the country and to an even greater degree around public airports and heliports.” That should suffice to “allay issues about radio altimeter efficiency,” the business stated, while also preserving strong performance for cordless clients. Altimeters can assist aircraft operators throughout landings, specifically when dealing with bad exposure conditions.
Its not yet clear whether the proposal will be accepted by the FAA, which has warned pilots of the possibility that “disturbance from 5G transmitters and other innovation might cause particular safety devices to malfunction, needing them to take mitigating action that might impact flight operations.” After July 6th, both carriers state theyll set everything back to normal “unless reliable evidence exists that real-world disturbance would happen if the mitigations were unwinded.”
“Our use of this spectrum will dramatically expand the reach and capabilities of the countrys next-generation 5G networks, advancing United States management, and bringing enormous benefits to customers and the US economy,” Verizon and AT&T declared in their joint letter sent out to FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel.

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