AT&T and Verizon agree to 5G power limits to resolve FAA safety concerns

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AT&T and Verizon Communications have voluntarily agreed to take further precautions to ensure that cell towers transmitting 5G signals using newly acquired mid-band spectrum will not interfere with aircraft signals. The companies laid out their plans in a move to reduce conflict between the wireless and aviation industries in a letter sent to the Federal Communications Commission Wednesday afternoon.

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In a letter addressed to FCC Acting Chair Jessica Rosenworcel, the companies said they plan to reduce power levels nationwide on their cell towers that will transmit 5G signals on the so-called C-band of wireless spectrum. Additionally, he said he would impose even stricter power limits on the use of this spectrum near regional airports and public helipads, according to the letter, which was reviewed by Nerdshala. AT&T said in a separate statement “the companies propose to take action for a period of six months” while evaluating additional evidence from radio altimeter manufacturers.

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“While we believe that 5G poses no threat to air security, we are also sensitive to the Federal Aviation Administration’s willingness to conduct additional analysis of this issue,” the companies said in the letter.

Earlier this month AT&T and Verizon agreed to temporarily halt 5G service on mid-band spectrum until January 5. The move came in response to a Federal Aviation Administration move. Warning about possible interference Transmitting 5G signals between main cockpit security devices and cell towers on the ground. The FAA claims that towers on the ground that transmit 5G over the C-band of the wireless spectrum can interfere with automated cockpit systems such as those that help planes land in bad weather.

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The dispute between the FAA and the wireless industry has raised questions about whether the 5G deployment plans of companies such as AT&T and Verizon will slow down. The wireless industry spent more than $80 billion on this wireless spectrum, which can transmit 5G signals further than the ultra high frequency millimeter wave spectrum, but still maintain the fast download speeds of the low frequency spectrum. But telecommunications experts, such as Blair Levine, a former FCC official who turned equity analyst, said Wednesday’s developments make it more likely that the issues will be resolved with little impact on the carrier’s 5G plans.

“From what we can tell, none of the commitments will have a long-term impact on the economics of a carrier’s 5G economic performance,” he said in a research note to investors. “We believe that the carriers think these efforts are more than justified and, therefore, they plan to roll out the service, as currently planned on January 5. We think the letter is at odds with that outcome. enhances it.”

The companies said in their letter that they would continue to comply with the FCC’s C-band regulations, which were “carefully designed to allow C-band 5G use to safely coexist with aviation.” They said they were taking precautionary measures “despite the absence of any credible evidence that the deployment of 5G in the C-band would adversely affect radio altimeters in aircraft, as confirmed by real-world experience around the world.”

The telecommunications industry has argued because the FAA has made public its concerns that there is no evidence of interference issues with respect to C-band spectrum and flight equipment. Wireless industry lobby group CTIA said filing the fcc Earlier this month “nearly 40 countries have already adopted the regulations and have deployed hundreds of thousands of 5G base stations at similar frequencies and similar power levels in the C-band – and in some instances, close to aviation operations – of 5G”. than would be in America”

Nevertheless, the issue has caught the attention of members of Congress. Last week, Representatives Peter DeFazio, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Rick Larson, chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee sent a letter to the FCC, accusing the agency of a “deploy now, fix later” strategy to “roll the dice(s) with safety.” He has asked the FCC to provide more data to the FAA and also asked the FCC to prohibit any 5G broadband transmissions on the C-band spectrum until the FAA has concluded a risk assessment.

But there are signs that a deal is being worked out. At her confirmation hearing in the Senate last week, FCC Chairman Rosenworcel said that discussions were ongoing in response to a question about the controversy, “You asked if I had confidence in our ability to resolve these issues with mitigation.” The answer to that is yes.”

Levine also noted in a research note earlier this week that the White House is hosting meetings between stakeholders, which he believes increases the chances of the two sides coming to an agreement.

Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler agrees a solution is at hand, he said Blog post for the Brookings Institution on Monday, He said the Biden administration’s involvement in combination with the work done by the FCC’s Office of Engineering to investigate the technical issues should be enough to quell the issue. He said the FCC has a history of effectively dealing with interference concerns from older applications when allocating new areas of spectrum for commercial use.

“The physics involved in this situation is well known,” he said. “The mitigation technology is well known. The standard-setting process is well known. The importance of getting 5G up and running while protecting passengers is well known.”

He continued, “The science here is very clear—the laws of physics are hard to repeal. The real politics of this comes at the cost of fixing altimeters, just as wheelchairs, hearing aids, and pacemakers were fixed.”

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