FAA Allowing AT&T, Verizon To Add More 5G Towers Near Airports

by Victoria Santiago
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After finishing some safety tests, federal officials will let companies like Verizon and AT&T put up more 5G towers close to airports. According to tests done by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), these towers do not pose any harm to planes.

In recent months, the network providers had slowed the construction of 5G towers because of flight industry concerns. There were worries that the signal would interfere with some plane equipment. 5G towers use a network called the C-band spectrum. This is also used by planes. So, many people were worried about possible interference between the two.

FAA On Towers and Airplane Interference

The FAA stated that “it is possible to safely and more precisely map the size and shape of the areas around airports where 5G signals are mitigated, shrinking the areas where wireless operators are deferring their antenna activations.” The FAA went on to say that the data from their safety tests “will enable wireless providers to safely turn on more towers as they deploy new 5G service in major markets across the United States.”

The FAA announced their safety test findings only a day after they cleared most aircraft for flight around 5G towers. Currently, around 90% of commercial planes are cleared to land in low-visibility areas where the towers are present. This is a win for network providers and plane companies alike. It was thought that the towers would specifically mess with something used to measure altitude. Thus, in areas with low visibility, it would be dangerous for planes to try to land.

In fact, some companies were so worried about the potential effects the towers would have, that they canceled many of their U.S. flights. For example, Emirates and Lufthansa both canceled some of their flights.

5G Towers Aren’t as Big of a Risk as They Were Originally Thought To Be

For the most part, many thought that 5G towers would be disastrous for airlines. Thankfully, that’s not the case. A lot of airlines were worried about one type of plane in particular: the Boeing 777. The airlines that canceled some of their flights mainly use Boeing 777s. As a result of all of the complaints and worries, Verizon and AT&T agreed to delay the towers. During that time, the FAA studied how exactly the towers would affect planes.

According to the New York Post, many airlines were relieved when Verizon and AT&T stopped putting up the towers. One spokesperson even said that by doing so, they stopped a lot of potentially dangerous accidents from happening. After research and accommodation on all sides, there are workarounds for most planes. There are some lingering worries that there won’t be quick fixes for other, smaller planes. Verizon and AT&T have both pledged to help airlines figure it out.

Outsider.com