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19 Jan, 2022 12:21

5G rollout in US downscaled over flight safety concerns

US mobile networks yield to pressure from airlines after they suspend flights
5G rollout in US downscaled over flight safety concerns

Wednesday’s rollout of a next-generation high-speed internet service in the US has been forced to downscale. Telecoms firm AT&T said it was “temporarily” postponing the launch of 5G at a “limited number of towers around certain airport runways.” Verizon announced it has also decided to limit its 5G network around airports.

Airlines have been pushing to delay the launch of the service in the US over fears that the 5G signals could hamper the work of airplane navigation systems, especially those used in bad weather. Major aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing also voiced their concerns last month and called on the US government to delay the rollout.

The decision comes as several major airlines have suspended flights to the US. Emirates, Air India, Japan Airlines, and All Nippon Airways announced that some flights scheduled this week to New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Seattle, and other US cities have been canceled over “concerns associated with the planned deployment of 5G mobile network services in the US.”

This is the third postponement of the service in the US, as the government and aviation authorities try to work out a solution. In a recent letter to regulators, a group of 10 largest US airlines suggested that 5G signals be excluded from approximately “two miles of airport runways at affected airports,” which in their opinion would ensure safety and help avoid disruption.

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