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Aviation concerns have grounded a planned 5G expansion—again

AT&T and Verizon announced Monday they are pushing back their planned 5G expansions due to concerns about how the wireless service change might impact flights. It’s the latest development in a months-long back-and-forth between the communications companies and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), with the telecom companies insisting as recently as Sunday that they would move forward with a January 5 rollout of the new signals. Then, the following evening, both AT&T and Verizon agreed to wait two weeks to give aviation regulators some leeway to address potential safety problems at airports, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The FAA has been warning of potential issues with the 5G change since November, explaining that the expansion into what’s known as the C-Band spectrum could potentially interfere with some aircraft systems. More specifically, it could affect an instrument called the radio altimeter, which is used to measure a plane’s height above the ground and helps guide pilots during landings. At the time, AT&T and Verizon agreed to hold their plans until the first week of January, though both have maintained that the expansion does not pose a threat to airlines operations.

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