(PresidentialWire.com)- President Joe Biden’s secretary of transportation has convinced two major wireless carriers to delay their rollout of 5G wireless service.
This week, both AT&T and Verizon announced they wouldn’t roll out their 5G service this month as initially planned, following discussions with the White House’s Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg.
Buttigieg and Steve Dickson, the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, sent letters to both of the wireless network carriers last week asking them to delay rolling out 5G services. They are worried that airline flights could be disrupted by the service.
Initially, both Hans Vestberg, the CEO of Verizon, and John Stankey, the CEO of AT&T, pushed back on the appeal made by the FAA and Transportation. They claimed that previous instances of 5G and aviation working at the same time proved there should be no issues at all.
At first, the CEOs said they would remain on track to limit 5G services during the first half of this year.
On Monday, though, the companies’ leaders relented to the request made by the federal government.
In a statement that was emailed to media outlet The Hill, a spokesperson for Verizon said:
“We’ve agreed to a two-week delay which promises the certainty of bringing this nation our game-changing 5G network in January, delivered over America’s best and most reliable wireless network.”
A spokesperson for AT&T also issues a statement that said:
“At Secretary Buttigieg’s request, we have voluntarily agreed to one additional two-week delay of our deployment of C-Band 5G services. We also remain committed to the six-month protection zone mitigations we outlined in our letter. We know aviation safety and 5G can co-exist and we are confident further collaboration and technical assessment will allay any issues.”
The two companies’ rollout of their 5G services was scheduled to originally begin on January 5.
The letter that Dickson and Buttigieg sent to the companies said “barring unforeseen technical challenges or new safety concerns,” they would be permitted to launch their 5G services by the end of March.
The White House, unions representing the aviation industry, and various airlines were pushing for this delay over concerns that the 5G service could potential interfere with sensitive electronics on aircraft such as radio altimeters. If that were to happen, the airlines said there could be significant disruptions to flights, as they worked to divert aircraft on other routes.
With this agreement, Verizon said the new date for deployment of its 5G service would be January 19.
The wireless companies, airlines and regulators will take the two weeks in the delayed rollout to figure out ways that would minimize any potential impact that 5G could cause in terms of interference with flight operations.
In a statement, the Federal Aviation Administration thanked the wireless companies for agreeing to the delay. They said:
“We look forward to using the additional time and space to reduce flight disruptions associated with this 5G deployment.”