The FAA has arrived at a deal with Verizon and AT&T for C-Band 5G at airports

The FAA has arrived at a deal with Verizon and AT&T for C-Band 5G at airports


The Federal Aviation Administration says it has agreed with AT&T and Verizon in regards to the rollout of their C-Band 5G networks at and around airports. The agency said the three sides have figured out something worth agreeing “on steps that will enable more aircraft to safely use key airports while also enabling more towers to deploy 5G service.”

As per the FAA, the providers offered “more precise data about the exact location of wireless transmitters and supported more thorough analysis of how 5G C-Band signals interact with sensitive aircraft instruments.” The agency said it used the data to “determine 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. This will enable the wireless providers to safely turn on more towers as they deploy new 5G service in major markets across the United States.”

The agreement follows a months-long tussle between airlines and wireless providers over C-Band 5G. AT&T and Verizon deliberately postponed the rollout for six weeks to address worries that their services could interfere with aircraft systems and electronics, because of C-Band frequencies being near ones used by altimeters.

Earlier this month, the CEOs of airlines including Delta, United and Southwest guaranteed in a letter to the federal government that the organizations could influence their planes’ instruments and lead to a “catastrophic” event.

AT&T and Verizon initiated their C-Band 5G networks last week in the wake of consenting to make temporary buffer zones around many airports – they haven’t turned on C-Band 5G towers within two miles of certain runways. They likewise contended that comparative networks have been conveyed in 40 different nations without issue.

It’s not clear when AT&T and Verizon plan to turn on C-Band 5G towers nearer to airports following the FAA agreement. The suppliers declined to comment.

The CTIA, a trade association for the wireless industry, was bullish with regards to the news. “This is a positive development that highlights the considerable progress the wireless industry, aviation industry, FAA and FCC are making to ensure robust 5G service and safe flights,” CTIA chief communications officer Nick Ludlum told Engadget in a statement.

In the interim, the FAA said it would proceed with conversations with helicopter operators and different stakeholders in the aviation industry “to ensure they can safely operate in areas of current and planned 5G deployment.”