|From: Jon Koplik||11/4/2021 8:31:44 PM|
|WSJ -- AT&T, Verizon to Delay 5G Rollout Over FAA’s Airplane Safety Concerns ........................|
Nov. 4, 2021
5:50 pm ET
AT&T, Verizon to Delay 5G Rollout Over FAA’s Airplane Safety Concerns
Wireless carriers postpone planned Dec. 5 launch of new spectrum to address concerns about potential interference with cockpit safety systems
By Andrew Tangel and Drew FitzGerald
AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. agreed to delay their planned Dec. 5 rollout of a new 5G frequency band so they can work with the Federal Aviation Administration to address concerns about potential interference with key cockpit safety systems.
The cellphone carriers said Thursday they would delay their planned 5G deployments until Jan. 5, responding to the aviation regulator’s warnings while disputing claims that the proposed cellular signals would represent a danger.
The FAA, a unit of the U.S. Transportation Department, had been planning to issue official mandates as soon as this week that would limit pilots’ use of certain automated cockpit systems, such as those that help planes land in poor weather, according to government and industry officials familiar with the planned orders. Those limits would aim to avoid potential interference from wireless towers on the ground transmitting new 5G signals.
Such limits for pilots could disrupt passenger and cargo flights in the 46 metropolitan areas where the towers are located, aviation industry officials have said.
Telecom industry officials have disputed the need for more safeguards, saying that available evidence doesn’t show that the proposed 5G signals will interfere with flight equipment. Cellphone carriers in some other countries already use the wireless frequencies in question.
The Federal Communications Commission, which oversees telecom regulations, issued a statement with the FAA later Thursday confirming the voluntary pause. “Aviation safety and technology leadership are national priorities, and with today’s announcement these companies have demonstrated their commitment to both,” the federal agencies said, naming both carriers. The agencies said they would continue working closely together to ensure the U.S. keeps pace with the rest of the world regarding the latest communications technologies, without undue delay.
Verizon, the country’s largest wireless company by subscribers, said it postponed its rollout “in the spirit of good faith” but remained on track to bring 5G services over the frequency range in question, known as C-band, to 100 million Americans in early 2022.
“We appreciate the FCC’s work in its discussions with the FAA and others to ensure a data-driven analysis that will again demonstrate that 5G operations in this band pose no risk to flight safety,” a Verizon spokesman said in a statement.
AT&T said it would continue to work with the FCC and the FAA to understand the FAA’s concerns. “It is critical that these discussions be informed by the science and the data,” AT&T said. “That is the only path to enabling experts and engineers to assess whether any legitimate coexistence issues exist.”
Shares of Verizon fell 2.1% and AT&T declined 1.5% Thursday while broader U.S. stock indexes were mixed.
C-band spectrum covers a swath of radio frequencies measured between 3.7 and 4.2 gigahertz. The spectrum is considered highly suitable for 5G networks and already serves cellphones in other countries. The technology, short for fifth-generation wireless, offers internet speeds much faster than today’s 4G service.
AT&T and Verizon spent tens of billions of dollars to buy the licenses for the 5G-friendly airwaves, with billions more reserved to compensate the band’s previous satellite users and install new equipment. The two carriers and rival T-Mobile US Inc. also won licenses for C-band spectrum that would be activated in late 2023. Only a portion of the band was scheduled for cellular use in December.
The gradual pace of 5G infrastructure upgrades means AT&T and Verizon’s one-month delay isn’t likely to significantly alter their bottom lines, according to industry executives. But a longer pause could pressure the carriers. Verizon, which recently said more than a quarter of its users had upgraded to a 5G-capable smartphone, is counting on C-band frequencies to address the mounting demands from its customers’ appetite for app downloads, games and streaming video.
“A month doesn’t make that much of a difference,” said Harold Feld, a telecom industry specialist at Public Knowledge, a Washington-based tech advocacy group. “What makes a difference is when it starts to look indefinite. Then you get to a situation where a whole investment cycle gets blown up.”
Aviation industry groups have been warning federal officials about what they believe are potential safety implications from the new 5G service and potential economic fallout, according to people familiar with the matter.
A presentation by a coalition of aviation groups to White House officials was expected this week to warn that the potential FAA restrictions could result in airports or even regions being shut down as passengers and shippers experience flight cancellations, delays and diversions, according to a draft of the presentation seen by The Wall Street Journal.
The FAA had been expected to issue official mandates, known as airworthiness directives, that would restrict flights in U.S. airspace that require gauges known as radio altimeters that measure the distance between aircraft and the ground, according to a recent draft of a directive viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The FAA and FCC have been tussling over the issue for months, though the plan to use the spectrum for cellular networks goes back several years. The FAA has sought specific data about 5G towers’ locations, power and angles to determine whether they could interfere with planes’ glide paths on final approach.
“At this time, the FAA has no way of determining which airports or areas within the U.S. have or will have 5G base stations or other devices that could provide interference with airplane systems,” according to the FAA directive draft. The draft added that such interference “could lead to loss of continued safe flight and landing.”
Earlier this week the FAA issued a special bulletin to pilots, airlines and aerospace manufacturers warning of the potential for 5G interference.
The FCC set its rules for use of the spectrum in early 2020 after reviewing the potential impact on aviation, creating a “guard band” as a buffer between the two uses. Some airplane equipment operates in nearby frequencies, between 4.2 and 4.4 GHz.
The FCC reviewed various industry studies about the safety risks and said in its March 2020 order that “well-designed equipment should not ordinarily receive any significant interference (let alone harmful interference).” The commission later issued new licenses that allowed wireless companies to start operating in parts of the C-band on Dec. 5 of this year, in addition to other frequencies already in use for 5G.
Write to Andrew Tangel at Andrew.Tangel@wsj.com and Drew FitzGerald at email@example.com
Copyright © 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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|From: Ms. Baby Boomer||1/2/2022 6:23:10 PM|
|AT&T, Verizon CEOs reject U.S. request|
for 5G deployment delay...
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The chief executives of AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) rejected a request to delay the planned Jan. 5 introduction of new 5G wireless service over aviation safety concerns but offered to temporarily adopt new safeguards.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson had asked AT&T CEO John Stankey and Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg late Friday for a commercial deployment delay of no more than two weeks.
The wireless companies in a joint letter on Sunday said they would not deploy 5G around airports for six months but rejected any broader limitation on using C-Band spectrum. They said the Transportation Department proposal would be "an irresponsible abdication of the operating control required to deploy world-class and globally competitive communications networks."
The aviation industry and FAA have raised concerns about potential interference of 5G with sensitive aircraft electronics like radio altimeters that could disrupt flights.
The exclusion zone AT&T and Verizon propose is currently in use in France, the carriers said, "with slight adaption" reflecting "modest technical differences in how C-band is being deployed."
"The laws of physics are the same in the United States and France," the CEOs wrote. "If U.S. airlines are permitted to operate flights every day in France, then the same operating conditions should allow them to do so in the United States."
The FAA said in a statement on Sunday that it was "reviewing the latest letter from the wireless companies on how to mitigate interference from 5G C-band transmissions. U.S. aviation safety standards will guide our next actions."
FAA officials said France uses spectrum for 5G that sits further away from spectrum used for radio altimeters and uses lower power levels for 5G than those authorized in the United States.
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), representing 50,000 workers at 17 airlines, on Sunday said pilots, airlines, manufacturers and others "have NO incentive to delay 5G, other than SAFETY. What do they think … we’re raising these issues over the holidays for, kicks?"
Officials said the exclusion zones proposed by the wireless carriers is not as large as what has been sought by the FAA.
The FAA and Buttigieg on Friday proposed identifying priority airports "where a buffer zone would permit aviation operations to continue safely while the FAA completes its assessments of the interference potential."
The government would work to identify "mitigations for all priority airports" to enable most "large commercial aircraft to operate safely in all conditions."
The wireless carriers, which won the C-Band spectrum in an $80 billion government auction, previously agreed to precautionary measures for six months to limit interference.
Trade group Airlines for America, representing American Airlines (NASDAQ: AAL), FedEx Corp (NYSE: FDX) and other carriers, on Thursday asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to halt the deployment around many airports, warning that thousands of flights could be disrupted daily.
The airline group has said it may go to court on Monday if the FCC does not act.
Former FCC Commissioner Mike O'Rielly praised the wireless carriers for moving ahead.
"We can have safe wireless and safe flights. Reasoned people should accept US wireless industry not have more C-Band limitations than France," he said on Sunday.
Wireless industry group CTIA said 5G is safe and spectrum is being used in about 40 other countries....
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|From: Ms. Baby Boomer||1/4/2022 10:20:22 AM|
|BlackBerry pulls life support for once-indispensable|
Jan 4 (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd is pulling the plug on service for its once ubiquitous business smartphones, which were toted by executives, politicians and legions of fans in the early 2000s.
The move marks the end of an era as the phones, which sported a tiny QWERTY physical keyboard, pioneered push email and the BBM instant messaging service.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama, one of its most celebrated users, made headlines in 2016 when he was asked to give up his BlackBerry and replace it with an unnamed smartphone.
Blackberry lost favor with users with the advent of Apple's touchscreen iPhones and rival Android devices. In recent years, the company pivoted to making cybersecurity software and embedded operating systems for cars.
Social media was alight with tributes. One Twitter user reminisced it was a "fabulous machine" bit.ly and hoped the company's phones would be resurrected.
In a document published in 2020, the company said blck.by it would take steps to decommission legacy services for BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry OS operating systems and added devices running on them would no longer be supported and may not be able to receive or send data, make phone calls or send messages reliably.
A U.S. judge on Monday rejected the company's bid to dismiss a lawsuit claiming it defrauded shareholders by inflating the success and profitability of smartphones using BlackBerry 10 OS, and said the class-action case could go to trial this fall....
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|From: Ms. Baby Boomer||1/15/2022 4:07:46 PM|
|FAA Sets Rules For Some Boeing 787|
Landings Near 5G Service...
Federal safety officials are directing operators of some Boeing planes to adopt extra procedures when landing on wet or snowy runways near impending 5G service because, they say, interference from the wireless networks could mean that the planes need more room to land.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday that interference could delay systems like thrust reversers on Boeing 787s from kicking in, leaving only the brakes to slow the plane.
That “could prevent an aircraft from stopping on the runway,” the FAA said.
Similar orders could be issued in the coming days for other planes. The FAA has asked Boeing and Airbus for information about many models. Boeing said it is working with its suppliers, airlines, telecom companies and regulators "to ensure that every commercial airplane model can safely and confidently operate when 5G is implemented in the United States.”
The order for the Boeing jets comes a day after the FAA began issuing restrictions that airlines and other aircraft operators will face at many airports when AT&T and Verizon launch new, faster 5G wireless service Wednesday.
The agency is still studying whether those wireless networks will interfere with altimeters, which measure an aircraft’s height above the ground. Data from altimeters is used to help pilots land when visibility is poor.
The devices operate on a portion of the radio spectrum that is close to the range used by the new 5G service, called C-Band.
This week's FAA actions are part of a larger fight between the aviation regulator and the telecom industry. The telecom companies and the Federal Communications Commission say 5G networks do not pose a threat to aviation. The FAA says more study is needed.
The FAA is conducting tests to learn how many commercial planes have altimeters that might be vulnerable to spectrum interference. The agency said this week it expects to estimate the percentage of those planes soon, but didn't put a date on it.
“Aircraft with untested altimeters or that need retrofitting or replacement will be unable to perform low-visibility landings where 5G is deployed,” the agency said in a statement.
The order regarding Boeing 787s covers 137 planes in the U.S. and 1,010 worldwide. The 787 is a two-aisle plane that is popular on longer routes, including many international flights.
The FAA said that based on information from Boeing, the 787s might not shift properly from flying to landing mode if there is interference, which could delay the activation of systems that help slow the plane.
AT&T and Verizon have twice agreed to postpone activating their new networks because of concerns raised by aviation groups and the FAA, most recently after the FAA and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg weighed in on the aviation industry’s side. Buttigieg and FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson warned that flights could be canceled or diverted to avoid potential safety risks.
Under an agreement with the telecom companies, the FAA designated 50 airports that will have buffer zones in which the companies will turn off 5G transmitters or make other changes to limit potential interference through early July.
The 50 include the three major airports in the New York City area — LaGuardia, JFK and Newark Liberty — O’Hare and Midway in Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth International, Bush Intercontinental in Houston, Los Angeles International and San Francisco.
That concession by the telecoms was modeled after an approach used in France, although the FAA said last week that France requires more dramatic reductions in cell-tower reach around airports....
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