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AT&T volunteers to partially suspend 5G rollout to ease friction between US airlines and carriers

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AT&T volunteers to partially suspend 5G rollout to ease friction between US airlines and carriers

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US President Joe Biden;s administration said it was "actively engaged" with wireless carriers, airlines, airplane manufacturers and key federal agencies to address the aviation crisis, which was sparked by a standoff between airlines and wireless carriers over the rollout of 5G services near airports across the country.

AT&T volunteers to partially suspend 5G rollout to ease friction between US airlines and carriers
Amid an intensifying standoff between various wireless carriers over the rollout of 5G near key airports across the United States, telecom major AT&T became the first to being and said it took a decision to voluntarily defer turning on a limited number of towers around certain airport runways, in a bid to ease tensions.
The company expressed its frustration at the inability of the Federal Aviation Administration's "inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to safely deploy 5G technology without disrupting aviation services".
At&T added, "We are launching our advanced 5G services everywhere else as planned with the temporary exception of this limited number of towers."


Earlier in the day, the Biden administration said it was "actively engaged" with wireless carriers, airlines, airplane manufacturers and key federal agencies to address the aviation crisis, a senior administration official told Reuters.
Airlines are preparing to cancel a significant number of passenger and cargo flights in the coming hours to prepare for AT&T and Verizon's new 5G C-Band service that starts on Wednesday, after warning on Monday of "catastrophic" impacts.
Airlines want wireless carriers to not turn on some wireless towers near airport runways in a bid to avoid most of the flight disruptions.
CEOs of the nations largest airlines say that interference from the wireless service on a key instrument on planes is worse than they originally thought.


The airline industry and the FAA say that they have tried to raise alarms about potential interference from 5G C-Band but the FCC has ignored them.
The telecoms, the FCC and their supporters argue that C-Band and aircraft altimeters operate far enough apart on the radio spectrum to avoid interference. They also say that the aviation industry has known about C-Band technology for several years but did nothing to prepare airlines chose not to upgrade altimeters that might be subject to interference, and the FAA failed to begin surveying equipment on planes until the last few weeks.
AT&T and Verizon spent billions of dollars for C-Band spectrum in a government auction run by the FCC, then spent billions more to build out new networks. In response to concern by the airlines, they agreed to delay launching the service from early December until early January.
Late on New Years Eve, US transport secretary Pete Buttigieg and FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson asked the companies for another delay, warning of unacceptable disruption to air service.
AT&T CEO John Stankey and Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg rejected the request in a letter that had a scolding, even mocking tone. But they had second thoughts after intervention that reached the White House. They agreed to the second, shorter delay but implied that there would be no more compromises.


That was followed by a deal in which the telecoms agreed to reduce the power of their networks near 50 airports for six months. In exchange, the FAA and the Transportation Department promised not to further oppose the rollout of 5G C-Band.
President Joe Biden praised the deal, but the airlines weren't satisfied with the agreement, regarding it as a victory for the telecoms that didn't adequately address their concerns about trying to land planes at airports where the new service would be active.
With agency inputs
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