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FAA Sets Timeline for Long-Term Solution to 5G Interference at Airports

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Jan 10, 2023, 5:47 PM   by Rich Brome   @rbrome

The FAA has set June 30, 2023 as the date that planes must have certified 5G-safe radio altimeters to perform low-visibility landings in US airspace. This will allow AT&T and Verizon to operate their new mid-band 5G networks with "minimal restrictions" starting July 2023 in (mostly urban) areas near airports. By February 1, 2024, all planes operating in US airspace must have 5G-safe radio altimeters. The issue is specific to the mid-band (C Band) 5G that was deployed recently by both Verizon and AT&T. Those companies have voluntarily agreed to restrict their mid-band 5G deployments near airports to address the issue temporarily. As airlines and air cargo companies meet these new FAA deadlines, those restrictions can be removed. While many US planes are already 5G-safe — by design or thanks to recent retrofits — the FAA estimates that approximately 820 US-registered aircraft still need new radio filters to become compliant, while 180 will require a full radio altimeter replacement. Even after February 1, 2024, there will still be a list of specific airports where the rules are slightly different. The FAA is also working on a new, even stricter standard for radio altimeter performance, which may replace these complex "interim" rules.

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