WASHINGTON (Nexstar) – The launch of 5G networks by telecom providers in the United States has led to flight cancellations around the world due to security concerns, and lawmakers have declared the rollout a disaster that threatens the air safety.
“It’s embarrassing,” said Rep. Garrett Graves (R-LA) “And I’ll say it again, it’s ridiculous and inexcusable.”
5G networks can interfere with the equipment used by aircraft to land, especially in low visibility.
“Having a dropped call is far less serious than having a plane jettisoned out of the sky,” Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) said.
Republicans and Democrats chastised the FAA and FCC, saying the two federal agencies had failed to work together and plan ahead, even though they had known about the potential problems for years.
Defazio said telecom companies have complicated the issue by trying to keep the locations of their 5G towers secret.
“It can’t be proprietary data,” DeFazio said. “You can’t just drop one next to a critical approach at an airport.”
In late December 2020, telecom providers reached an agreement to share data with the FAA, then launched their services with restrictions near low-visibility airports.
“While we have avoided significant disruption to commercial aviation, we recognize that some communities and operations have been affected,” said Stephen Dickson, an FAA administrator.
While serious problems have been avoided, lawmakers remain worried about the future as the agreement between the telecommunications companies and the FAA is only in effect until July.