AT&T and Verizon have reportedly agreed to delay their planned Dec. 5 rollout of a new 5G frequency band after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a special information bulletin on Tuesday alerting manufacturers, operators, and pilots, that action may be needed to address potential interference with sensitive aircraft electronics caused by the use of 5G telecommunications technology.
AT&T said in a statement it had agreed to delay its planned 5G deployment until Jan. 5 at the request of the Transportation Department.
AT&T said the company would “continue to work in good faith with the FCC and the FAA to understand the FAA’s asserted coexistence concerns.”
“It is critical that these discussions be informed by the science and the data,” AT&T said.
“That is the only path to enabling experts and engineers to assess whether any legitimate coexistence issues exist.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that Verizon Communications also agreed to postpone its launch of the new 5G wireless spectrum by about a month, people familiar with the matter said.
FAA Deputy Administrator Bradley Mims in a letter first reported by Reuters last Friday said the agency shares “the deep concern about the potential impact to aviation safety resulting from interference to radar altimeter performance from 5G network operations in the C band.”
As Reuters reported earlier in the week, the FAA has been in discussion with the Federal Communications Commission about its air safety concerns over the plan to begin using some additional spectrum for 5G wireless networks starting Dec. 5.
The FAA said on Tuesday operators “should be prepared for the possibility that interference from 5G transmitters and other technology could cause certain safety equipment to malfunction, requiring them to take mitigating action that could affect flight operations.”
The bulletin said “there have not yet been proven reports of harmful interference due to wireless broadband operations internationally.”
It also recommends pilots remind passengers that all portable electronic devices equipped with 5G be should be turned off or switched to airplane mode during flight.
The FAA warned of the potential of the “degradation to the capabilities of safety systems and other equipment that depend on radio altimeters, particularly during low-altitude operations.”
The FAA said equipment manufacturers should also continue their testing to determine the susceptibility of specific radio altimeters to 5G interference and should explore design changes that could mitigate the effects of interference.
The aviation industry has voiced alarm about the plan to use C-Band spectrum for more than a year.
We can only imagine what this decision to delay the 5G rollout will do for the 'conspiracy' theorists.