President Biden has released a statement after major cell phone companies made the decision to delay portions of 5G deployment. AT&T and Verizon both agreed to temporarily limit 5G-C deployment on towers around certain airports. The decision comes after officials expressed concerns over aviation interference. The service was scheduled to be rolled out on Wednesday, and the deployment will continue as scheduled. However, it will now exclude towers near airports that require pilots to rely on radio frequency equipment to safely land.
In a statement released Tuesday, President Biden said the agreement to delay certain activation is a good thing. He says the 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.” He added that the technology will “bring more high-speed internet options to millions of Americans.”
The statement also adds, “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… 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.”
5G Technology Raising Concerns With FAA
The planned rollout has already faced several delays due to concerns from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The concerns primarily revolve around the technology’s ability to interfere with radar altimeters. These instruments provide essential information to pilots when they are flying through or landing in low-visibility areas.
Earlier this week, airline and cargo company executives drafted a joint letter to the heads of several authoritative agencies. The letter warns that the technology rollout could cause problems. It presents the possibility of a dangerously high amount of flights, both commercial and cargo, to be grounded. The result could cause chaos. The letter was sent to the FAA, the Federal Communications Commission, National Economic Council, and the Department of Transportation.
“The ripple effects across both passenger and cargo operations, our workforce and the broader economy are simply incalculable,” the executives wrote. “Every one of the passenger and cargo carriers will be struggling to get people, shipments, planes and crews where they need to be. To be blunt, the nation’s commerce will grind to a halt.”
The letter asked for cell companies to continue their implementation of 5G technology, with one modification. Executives request that they exclude areas within two miles of airport runways at affected airports. The FAA will define which airports.
Implementation Continues, With Restrictions
“We recognize the economic importance of expanding 5G…We appreciate the wireless companies working with us to protect the flying public and the country’s supply chain,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “The complex U.S. airspace leads the world in safety because of our high standards for aviation… We will maintain this commitment as wireless companies deploy 5G.”
The FAA has released a list of 50 airports that will be a part of exclusion zones for the technology. This guideline will remain in effect until July 5th.