A new 5G service being rolled out near key US airports has been delayed after companies raised fears over it interfering with aircraft technology.
AT&T and Verizon were set to implement the new C-Band 5G Service on Wednesday, January 20, but have chosen to delay the project after the Biden administration pushed for the companies to make an agreement.
US Airlines is one company which has raised concerns and wants the new service to be banned within two miles of airport runways.
After initially rejecting the request, the companies have now agreed to delay turning on some of the wireless towers near the airports but have not yet revealed how long for.
Japanese airline ANA said it was acting in response to a notice to airlines from Boeing over restrictions on the use of its 777 long-haul airliner amid industry concerns about radio interference.
Boeing had no immediate comment to make on this.
Mr Biden said the agreements by the two companies “will void potentially devastating disruptions to passenger travel, cargo operations, and our economic recovery, while allowing more than 90% of wireless tower deployment to occur as scheduled”.
He added his government would keep working with both sides to find a permanent solution to the problem around key airports.
The airline industry itself has issued dire warnings about 5G and its effect on flights.
The chief executives of 10 passenger and cargo airlines including Delta, United, American and Southwest say the problem will be more disruptive than first thought.
This is because dozens of large airports in the US that were to have 5G buffer zones will still be subject to flight restrictions announced last week by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The restrictions could “potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas” and cause “chaos” for US flights, they said.
A statement said: “Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the travelling and shipping public will essentially be grounded.
“This means that on a day like yesterday, more than 1,100 flights and 100,000 passengers would be subjected to cancellations, diversions or delays.”
The new high-speed wireless service use a part of the radio spectrum, C-Band, that is similar to that used by altimeters, which are devices that measure the height of aircraft above the ground.
The altimeters are used to help pilots land when visibility is poor, and they link to other systems on planes.
AT&T and Verizon say their equipment will not interfere with aircraft electronics, and that the technology is being safely used in many other countries.
Source: Sky News