Verizon has offered some analysts and media a spike for its planned rollout of 5G in the C-band spectrum ?? the first test results showed speeds of up to 1 Gbit / s ?? but the carrier’s efforts have been overshadowed by increasingly heated rhetoric from airline executives.
According to ReutersUnited Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said this week that Verizon’s rollout of 5G in the C-band spectrum would represent a “catastrophic failure” of government regulations. He also suggested that 5G operations in the C and C spectrum could ultimately delay, divert or cancel around 4% of daily flights across the United States, affecting thousands of passengers.
Additionally, the Airlines for America (A4A) business group has said 5G in C-band could cost air cargo operators up to $ 400 million per year.
Verizon officials, meanwhile, maintained a positive stance on the matter this week during their C-Band media event in Los Angeles. âI couldn’t be happier with the mix we have of the low, mid and C band spectrum,â Verizon’s Adam Koeppe told reporters who attended the Verizon event, according to tom’s guide.
Fast, yet controlled test results
Shallow testing of a Verizon C-band network in downtown LA by Tom’s Guide and Cnet has shown connection speeds of up to 1 Gbps in relatively large areas and indoors. However, the operator’s network in the city is not yet commercially available and therefore has excess capacity, and Verizon has supplied outlets with Samsung phones for limited testing.
Nonetheless, it’s clear that Verizon is expanding its C-band spectrum in markets across the country. For example, according to a new report from research and consulting firm Signals Research Group, Verizon already operates dozens of C-band transmission sites in Las Vegas. The operator said it hopes to cover up to 100 million people with C-band connections by March.
But Verizon’s C-band deployment plans, and those of AT&T, have been called into question by some in the airline industry. A large number of airline officials say 5G operations in the newly released C-band spectrum will interfere with some aircraft radio altimeters. Indeed, United Airlines’ Kirby suggested the company would not be able to use radio altimeters at around 40 of the country’s largest airports. And that, he said, would jeopardize landings in bad weather, cloud cover or significant smog where visual landings are not possible.
“It is a certainty. It is not a debate,” he said.
Debate the debate
Wireless industry officials believe this is a debate. “5G networks using a set of radio waves called ‘C-band spectrum’ operate safely and without causing harmful interference to aircraft equipment,” CTIA wireless industry trade group wrote on an advocacy website for the issue.
Other lobbyists agree.
“If United looks for someone to blame for their canceled flights,” Jonathan Adelstein, CEO of WIA says Inside Towers, “they will have to look elsewhere than in the wireless industry. The ability of 5G to operate safely in the C-band is already confirmed by real-world experience around the world. If wireless were a legitimate reason, it would already be canceling all United flights to Europe where they use the same frequencies. ”
Despite this, Verizon and AT&T have agreed to delays and changes to C-band deployment due to concerns from the airline industry.
The real problem, according to some wireless technology experts, is government mismanagement, especially by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). âThe FAA knew 5G was coming and should have worked on altimeter upgrades at least 2, if not more than 5 years ago. But the FAA, like several other agencies, believes it has ‘a veto over national spectrum issues to protect its regulated companies from unwanted charges,’ said Michael Marcus in Forbes comments. Marcus is a former FCC official who is now an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University.
Marcus added that the NTIA “has been unable to fulfill its statutory responsibilities … which are to lead federal efforts on spectrum.”
Citing anonymous sources, Reuters reported that White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese met with FCC Chief Jessica Rosenworcel and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on the matter this week in hopes of finding a quick fix.