Movers and SHAKERS
Image Credit: Quinton Gellar (Pexels)
Telecommunication Giants Send 5G Rejection Letter to Buttigieg asking, Can You Hear Me Now?
5G is the latest intense challenge to airlines. Between fuel costs, pandemic restrictions, governmental mandates, and employee negotiations, the industry has had a tough 24 months. As we enter 2022, it seems the challenges will continue, as AT&T and Verizon have rejected a request that may cause disruption of some flights.
In a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation in mid-December top executives at Boeing (BA) and Airbus (EADSY) warned that 5G technology could have "an enormous negative impact on the aviation industry." Previously concerns had also been raised that C-Band spectrum 5G wireless could interfere with aircraft electronics. The letter cited research by the trade group Airlines for America which found that if the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) 5G rules had been in effect in 2019, about 345,000 passenger flights and 5,400 cargo flights would have faced delay, diversion, or cancellation. Airlines for America represents airlines and freight carriers including American (ticker: AAL), Delta (DAL), FedEx (FDX) and United Parcel Service (UPS).
This concern is now at a fever pitch as U.S. telecom companies AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) are due to deploy 5G services on January 5, 2022.
On Sunday (January 2nd) Verizon and AT&T rejected a request by the U.S. government to delay the rollout of 5G wireless technology. In a joint letter from the two telecommunications giants to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, Steve Dickson, tried to dismiss concerns that the new 5G wireless service could disrupt aviation.
Buttigieg and Dickson sent a letter on New Year’s Eve to the CEOs of AT&T and Verizon proposing a delay in activating 5G service near an undetermined number of “priority airports” to give the FAA time to study the potential for interference with aircraft operations. The two telecom companies had previously agreed to a one-month delay and now fear any further delays would disrupt their customer service. Part of their response letter on Sunday read, ”Agreeing to your proposal would not only be an unprecedented and unwarranted circumvention of the due process and checks and balances carefully crafted in the structure of our democracy but an irresponsible abdication of the operating control required to deploy world-class and globally competitive communications networks that are every bit as essential to our country’s economic vitality, public safety and national interests as the airline industry."
The affected 5G sites are those around commercial airports. This is a case where one industry could be impacting the growth and timely rollout of a new product of an entirely different industry. The concern of the airlines of course is safety, the telecommunication giants believe this has already been settled and currently plan on flipping the switch on January 5th.
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