AT&T and Verizon Reject US Govt’s Request to Delay New 5G Services

"AT&T and Verizon on Sunday rejected the U.S. Department of Transportation's request that they delay this week's scheduled launch of a new round of 5G wireless service," reports Politico, adding that the carriers "instead pledged to take enhanced measures to avoid warned disruptions of air travel..." U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and FAA Administrator Steve Dickson had asked the companies on New Year's Eve to put off Wednesday's launch of the new wireless service for two additional weeks while their agencies address concerns that the new signals could interfere with some types of aircraft equipment. Unless those issues are resolved, air travelers will face "widespread and unacceptable disruption as airplanes divert to other cities or flights are canceled, causing ripple effects throughout the U.S. air transportation," Buttigieg and Dickson wrote in their letter, reported last week by POLITICO. The wireless carriers' rebuff is the latest step in weeks of an escalating standoff between the aviation and telecommunication sectors — a year after the mobile phone companies spent more than $80 billion to buy licenses for the 5G-friendly C-band airwaves at a Federal Communications Commission auction. The fight over the Trump-era initiative has drawn in multiple agencies and the White House, with airlines pushing for an emergency stay even after the FCC insisted that the wireless companies can safely use the airwaves... The FAA on Sunday said it's reviewing the carriers' letter but added, "U.S. aviation safety standards will guide our next actions." Verizon and AT&T told DOT on Sunday that they will embrace even more extensive mitigation measures through July 5. But they outright rejected the idea of postponing the launch of the new 5G service. "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 two companies' CEOs wrote. They said they want to keep working with the federal government to avoid "escalating" grievances from the airline industry "in other venues."

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