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'Catastrophic Disruption', AT&T, Verizon Delay 5G Rollout Near Some Airports After Airlines Warning

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Verizon and AT&T have agreed to delay the rollout of 5G deployment near some airports. This comes after airline executives had warned of "catastrophic disruption" to travel, beginning Wednesday.

In a strongly-worded warning sent Monday to U.S. government officials, chief executives of the country's largest airlines predicted "economic calamity" and said "the nation's commerce will grind to a halt" if 5G were deployed close to the nation's airports. The concern is the chance of interference with altitude measurement devices called altimeters.

"The radio altimeter is tied to other systems of the airplane. They're very important and critical. Can't take that risk," said Richard Levy, a flight instructor and retired airline captain.

The companies have said the technology will increase speed, reliability, and power for more than 90 million Americans. AT&T said it is frustrated by the FAA's "inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to safely deploy 5G technology without disrupting aviation services, and we urge it do so in a timely manner."

This is the third delay of the 5G launch. But Captain Levy said more testing is necessary before the upgrades near the airports should happen - for the sake of the public and public safety.

"There has to be a solution, and there will be one. And at the expense of diversions and the inconvenience to the traveling public is unacceptable."

More than 90% of wireless tower deployment will go on as planned Wednesday The original rollout was scheduled for early December.

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