It’s hard to tell which is messier these days — air freight, or the Biden Administration. As another case, consider the conflict between airlines and wireless service providers over 5G.
said on Tuesday that it would delay a planned 5G rollout on Wednesday after airlines complained it would disrupt flights around the country. President Biden is credited for stopping anarchy in the skies, even though his Administration created mayhem.
The problem is the C-band spectrum that carriers plan to use to cover metro areas with 5G. Carriers have paid the US government $80 billion for this valuable spectrum, but the Federal Aviation Administration currently doesn’t allow them to use it. The agency says the signals can interfere with altimeters that measure distances to the ground.
The Federal Communications Commission considered these concerns during the announcement and comment on C-band reuse plans from satellite operators. In March 2020, it adopted a 258-page decision that included a secure buffer between the bands used by altimeters and 5G — larger than many other countries required.
About 20 months later, however, the FAA asked to overturn the FCC’s decision and take airlines and carriers hostage. If Verizon and AT&T don’t pause 5G rollout, the FAA will require flights to ground or divert. AT&T and Verizon don’t want to be blamed for that, so they twice agreed to scale back and delay the rollout.
Two weeks ago, it signed an agreement with the Department of Transportation to limit C-band signals to within one mile of airport runways for six months and delay the rollout of 5G until January 19. FAA said they would not request a further delay. And if you believe that. . .
On Sunday, the FAA said it would only allow 45% of US commercial aircraft to land in low visibility conditions at 48 of the 88 airports it considers most at risk from 5G interference. This does not include
wide-body 777 and 787 models, are flying in countries around the world with fewer restrictions on 5G.
This means airlines will have to reroute or cancel thousands of flights. The disruption will cause immediate havoc while Americans will not feel 5G service. Wireless carriers will be blamed for the chaos, which is likely why they gave in to more “voluntary” and “temporary” restrictions on Tuesday.
“In our sole discretion, we have voluntarily agreed to temporarily postpone the switching on of a limited number of towers around certain airport runways as we continue to work with the airline industry and the FAA to provide more information on our 5G rollout, since they haven’t been in use for two years they’ve had to responsibly plan for this rollout,” AT&T said.
That’s too charitable for the FAA and the Department of Transportation. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg sent FCC Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel, who helped support carriers’ 5G rollout behind the scenes. And now he and Mr. Biden are portraying their mistake as a diplomatic victory. This administration needs less political twists and more competent governance.
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Appears in print January 19, 2022.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-mess-up-a-5g-rollout-att-verizon-airports-biden-administration-pete-buttigieg-11642547756 How to introduce 5G