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Verizon and AT&T forced to delay 5G expansion once more

The failure of US aviation authorities to get their act together has ensured their battle of wills with the country’s biggest mobile operators carried over into 2022.

On New Year’s Eve the Federal Aviation Administration decided it needed the help of Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, to impose its will on Verizon and AT&T over the imminent launch of 5G on their C-band spectrum. While the band was auctioned a year ago, it wasn’t until the beginning of November that the FAA expressed concerns that telecoms using that band may interfere with airplane cockpit safety systems.

The operators were asked to delay the 5 December launch of 5G on C-band for a month, but that clearly wasn’t enough time for the FAA to get its act together. So just days before the new launch date it got Buttigieg to send a letter to them to delay it further. Having recovered from their hangovers, the CEOs of Verizon and AT&T initially declined the opportunity to voluntarily comply in a joint letter dated 2 January, the publication of which was outsourced to the WSJ, for some reason.

This apparently elicited much behind-the-scenes kerfuffle, resulting in the FAA yesterday publishing a short ‘statement on 5G’. “The FAA thanks AT&T and Verizon for agreeing to a voluntary delay and for their proposed mitigations,” it said. “We look forward to using the additional time and space to reduce flight disruptions associated with this 5G deployment.”

The use of the term ‘voluntary’ is a borderline piss-take at this stage, since the concession was clearly coerced. “At Secretary Buttigieg’s request, we have voluntarily agreed to one additional two-week delay of our deployment of C-Band 5G services,” said a statement emailed by AT&T to Cnet. The equivalent Verizon statement indicated it expects the delay to be absolutely the last. Let’s see.

The US operators are in a tight spot over this matter, with the threat of legal action from various aviation stakeholder groups adding to government pressure to delay its C-band rollout for as long as is necessary for the airplane safety issue to be resolved. While it’s absurd that they have been put in this position by incompetent government agencies, if they had ignored the pleas, gone ahead with the rollout and an aviation accident had happened, their liability would appear to be almost limitless.

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3 comments

  1. Avatar Kris 04/01/2022 @ 4:37 pm

    Telecom companies are one the lost corrupt entities operating in America. I know that because I am in the Telecom industry. While many other industries go through proper protocols when it comes to engineering and construction, Telecom companies are notorious to strong arm contactors for faster and faster solutions that results in poor quality, lack of oversight and often times dangerous implementations. Because these carriers are so big and so rich, they can practically get away with anything and everything and our elected officials are too much into their pockets with all the money bring funneled in from these carriers. Take 5G UWB for example. The technology needs a 5G tower literally every 1000 ft and even then a tree or a truck in the line of sight can disrupt reception. Get somehow they get permits from jurisdictions and government officials for building these environmentally disastrous infrastructure every thousand feet. The sheer amount of waste is incredible. And yet it’s the common man who is usually shamed into being more economical and frugal in order to save the environment. That’s why I’m out we are more than happy to ignore the fact that apple and other companies will gladly remove the charging brick in The name of being environmentally conscious while the very same companies spend enormous amount of money into wasteful products that literally rape the environment. The sheer amount of hypocrisy is staggering.

  2. Avatar vod kanockers 04/01/2022 @ 6:24 pm

    good assessment and generally true. sadly, however, that is the state of most of US companies, today. Don’t expect any changes

  3. Avatar Joe Blied 10/01/2022 @ 7:18 am

    If it makes you feel any better, the purchase and rollout of millimeter wave frequencies have proven to be a complete joke and a huge embarrassment for the telcos. As you mentioned, it just doesn’t work. Their massive egos are what led them into the blunder. It’s a wonder that investors and the media haven’t held them to account for such a monumental failure.

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