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5G antennas: airlines and operators find a compromise in the USA

The United States Aviation Authority (FAA) has announced that operators AT&T and Verizon and airlines have reached an agreement for the gradual deployment of additional 5G antennas around airports.

“We believe we have identified a path that will continue to allow aviation and 5G wireless to coexist safely”Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said in a statement.

Friction between the two sectors came to light at the end of 2021, when the FAA was concerned about possible interference between the altimeters of certain aircraft, important instruments for landing in certain weather conditions, and the deployment of 5G frequencies for which AT&T and Verizon shelled out tens of billions of dollars. AT&T and Verizon had finally agreed in January to postpone, by six months, the activation of antennas around certain airport runways.

As the end of this voluntary moratorium approaches, companies have agreed to a phased approach. The regional companies most exposed to possible interference have agreed to modify their radio altimeters by the end of the year.

Operators have at the same time agreed to further delay the activation of 5G antennas located around the airports most likely to be affected for another 12 months, with a gradual lifting of restrictions.

For its part, AT&T says it has chosen to act ” in good faith “ by agreeing not to deploy all its antennas immediately “to give airlines more time to modify their equipment”.

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