What just happened? AT&T is now activating 5G C-band networks in limited portions of eight metropolitan areas across the United States after following a six-week voluntary pause to give the Federal Aviation Administration and the aviation industry more time to complete deployment assessments.
Clients in Austin, Chicago, Dallas Ft. Worth, Detroit, Jacksonville, Houston, Orlando and parts of South Florida should soon have access to AT&T’s new 5G+ service.
The C-band is a median spectrum which sits between AT&T’s low-band (long-range) 5G service and high-band (mmWave) offering, the latter being blazingly fast but has limited range. As such, it is typically deployed in densely populated areas like entertainment districts, sports stadiums, and other venues.
Wireless carriers, including AT&T and Verizon, have not been very happy with the FAA’s response to the 5G rollout. In one declaration released on January 18, 2022, AT&T noted that the administration had not used the two years it had to responsibly plan for the rollout.
“We are frustrated with the FAA’s failure to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to safely deploy 5G technology without disrupting air services, and we urge it to do so in a timely manner.” –AT&T
The FAA and airlines are concerned that C-band waves could interfere with sensitive equipment on some aircraft like the altimeter, which is used to help land the craft in low visibility. According to The New York Times, airlines canceled about 240 flights on Wednesday in response to carrier moves.
AT&T said it already has 17 devices available online and in stores compatible with its new C-Band service.
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