President Joe Biden said the agreement reached this week will help avoid further disrupting flights that bad weather and the surging coronavirus have already delayed and canceled by the thousands over the past several days.
The telecom giants agreed to delay Wednesday’s planned launch of the new C-Band strand of 5G, which promises faster speeds for customers, in order to implement changes around airports. They still dismiss concerns that it could negatively affect aviation equipment.
The companies already postponed the C-Band rollout by a month when, over the weekend, they rejected a request by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the head of the Federal Aviation Administration to delay the launch again.
Under Monday’s agreement, the companies also agreed to reduce the power of their new networks near major airports for six months. That will give the FAA more time to study potential interference with aviation.
“This agreement ensures that there will be no disruptions to air operations over the next two weeks and puts us on track to substantially reduce disruptions to air operations when AT&T and Verizon launch 5G on January 19th,” Biden said in a statement.
Here’s a look at what happened and what comes next for wireless customers and air travelers.
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So far, 5G service from AT&T and Verizon has not been very different from existing 4G service for most customers. The new segment of radio frequencies called C-Band, a “mid-brand” spectrum, could mean faster signals over wide areas for many customers. T-Mobile already has huge swaths of mid-band spectrum.
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