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Talks continue near deadline over U.S. 5G aviation safety dispute

Intensive talks were continuing on Monday to address a situation of inequity between the wireless industry and the aviation sector beginning on Wednesday as the industry grapples with threatening flights.

On Sunday, AT&T and Verizon Communications chief executives rejected the request to delay the planned Jan. 5 introduction of new 5G wireless service due to aviation safety concerns, but they offered to temporarily adopt new security measures.

The aviation industry and FAA have expressed concern over possible interference of 5G with sensitive aircraft electronics such as radio altimeters that could disrupt flights.

Sara Nelson, president of AFA-CWA, who represents 50,000 flight attendants in 17 airlines, urged wireless carriers to agree to a 10-day deployment delay to finalize precautions.

Nelson said on MSNBC that “We’re expecting that the telecom firms come to their senses today.” “We are simply not going to take off if those flights are in danger,” he stated on Monday.

The carriers declined to comment on Monday, as discussions with federal agencies continued.

The US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson had asked AT&T CEO John Stankey and Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg for a delay of up to two weeks Friday.

The White House issued an email on Sunday calling both carriers to accept a brief delay. A White House spokeswoman refused to comment.

The wireless companies said on Sunday that they will not be deploying 5G around airports for six months, but did not extend the C-Band spectrum restriction if the FAA wants it to.

The Federal Communications Commission had asked the Trade Group Airlines for America (FCC) to stop deployment in several airports, a warning that thousands of flights could be slowed daily.

Due to potential interference, the FAA is preparing to issue notices detailing restrictions on flights and airports.

“We’ll adversely impact airline passengers and the shipping public when the FAA safety restrictions are introduced to the airline group,” the airline group stated.

The wireless carriers, which won the spectrum in a $80 billion government auction, previously agreed to a six month period of precautionary measures to protect interference. List23

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