U.S. aviation regulator in talks with telecom industry over 5G dispute

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WASHINGTON, Nov 16 (Businesshala) – The Federal Aviation Administration said on Tuesday that it is in direct talks with the telecommunications industry about its aviation safety concerns related to the planned use of spectrum for 5G wireless communications.

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“We’re having very fruitful discussions and we’ll figure it out,” FAA Administrator Steve Dixon said at an event in Washington. “It remains to be seen whether mitigations – whether it is adjustments to deployment or actions that we need to take within the aviation sector – will be what they will look like.”

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Earlier this month, AT&T (TN) and Verizon Communications (VZ.N) agreed to delay the commercial launch of the C-band wireless service from December 5 to early January.

The FAA issued a November 2 bulletin warning manufacturers, operators and pilots that action may be needed to address potential interference caused by 5G deployments with sensitive aircraft electronics such as radio altimeters.

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The FAA bulletin said operators should “be prepared for the possibility that interference from 5G transmitters and other technology may damage certain safety equipment.”

In about 40 other countries, “C-band 5G spectrum has been deployed and aircraft land safely every day without harmful interference,” wireless trade group CTIA said in a letter to the White House.

CTIA asked the Biden administration to “reject further calls to delay C-band 5G services. Aviation safety is critically important. It is also not at risk because of C-band 5G operations.”

The FAA is considering issuing an airworthiness directive. Dixon said airlines need at least 30 days’ notice.

“The industry needs some time to adjust to whatever requirements are going to be imposed on them,” he said. “If they have to change their flight planning system or how they’re getting the information to the pilots … whatever it is, we’re going to have to put in the time to put all of those things in place.”

The Boeing Company (BA.N), Airbus SE (AIR.PA), US airlines, pilots and others have urged the administration to “help the aviation and telecommunications industries reach acceptable mitigation.” He said it would take “a significant amount of time … to make sure they meet the FAA’s strong safety requirements.”

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Dan Grebler

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