FAA, wireless companies agree on steps to deploy 5G towers near airports

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday announced that it worked out a solution with Verizon and AT&T to deploy additional 5G C-Band towers near airports without disrupting flights.

The agency said that the telecoms provided more precise data about the exact location of their wireless transmitters and “supported more thorough analysis of how 5G C-band signals interact with sensitive aircraft instruments.”

“The FAA used this 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,” an FAA spokesperson said.

“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 FAA and airlines have expressed concerns that the 5G frequencies could disrupt critical aircraft instruments that are susceptible to radio interference. Just before 5G C-Band went into effect, the FAA blocked some airplanes from making low-visibility landings at airports where 5G is deployed.

Earlier this month, the FAA worked out a deal with Verizon and AT&T to temporarily not turn on about 500 towers near airports, or less than 10 percent of 5G deployment, over interference concerns. 

The agency’s most recent statement indicates that it is getting closer to resolving the 5G standoff that pitted airlines and the FAA against wireless carriers and the Federal Communications Commission. 

The FAA announced this week that it approved 90 percent of commercial aircraft to perform most low-visibility landings at airports where 5G is deployed, up from 78 percent last week.

Tags 5G Airlines Airport AT&T FAA FCC Federal Aviation Administration Verizon
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