U.S. outlines cope with AT&T, Verizon over 5G delay -letter By Reuters
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, Nov. 10, 2021. REUTERS / Yves Herman
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US traffic officials told cellular operators that the government will not seek further delays in delivering 5G radio service beyond Jan. 19 unless “unforeseen flight safety issues” arise, according to a previously unreported letter .
US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and the head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Steve Dickson, announced details in a joint letter to AT&T (NYSE 🙂 late Monday Verizon Communications (NYSE 🙂 and outlined the agreement to postpone C-band wireless implementation for two weeks, which was due to begin on Wednesday.
The agreement “will give us additional time and space to reduce the impact on commercial flights,” they wrote. “We are confident that your voluntary steps will support the safe coexistence of 5G C-band implementation and aviation activities and help maintain America’s economic strength and leadership around the world.”
The attached “last term sheet” states that the US authorities will not seek or demand “any further delays in the use of C-band, in whole or in part, including a delay in the return to routine operation”, unless it occurs “ unforeseen problems of flight safety ”.
An industry official told Reuters the deal gives them the confidence they can start deploying this month.
The aviation industry and the FAA have raised concerns about possible interference from 5G with sensitive aircraft electronics, such as radio altimeters, that could disrupt flights.
AT&T and Verizon agreed on Sunday to introduce six-month restricted areas at some airports to reflect the security measures adopted by France.
The letter said that by Friday regulators will provide airlines with “a list of no more than 50 priority airports that they would propose to C-band exclusion zones,” proposed by AT&T and Verizon on Sunday .
Additional requests for “voluntary surgical mitigation measures at each individual airport” may be made, but AT&T and Verizon “have sole discretion to determine whether any requested mitigation, adjustments, or changes are made”.
AT&T and Verizon won almost the entire C-band spectrum in an $ 80 billion auction last year. In total, Verizon paid $ 52.9 billion for the spectrum, including incentive payments and clearing costs.
AT&T and Verizon agreed in November to postpone operations for 30 days until January 5 after the FAA raised safety concerns and took voluntary precautions for six months.
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