Telecoms delay 5G launch near airports, but some airlines are canceling flights

Wireless carriers Verizon and AT&T say they will go ahead with plans to switch on high speed 5G service nationwide Wednesday, except near airports and runways, due to worries that high tech radio signals could interfere with navigational systems on some aircraft.

Emirates and other long-haul international airlines have canceled or rerouted flights into the U.S. in response. Carriers that use the Boeing 777, a long-haul aircraft, were particularly concerned, with two Japanese airlines citing the aircraft’s vulnerability to 5G signals as reasons behind their schedule changes.

The push for 5G

The wireless industry calls 5G a game changer. It provides stronger connectivity and faster download speeds on cellphones and other wireless devices, making streaming, gaming and other uses better than ever.

Ted Rappaport, an electrical engineering professor at NYU and director of the research center NYU Wireless, says cellphone technology has gone through big upgrades about every 10 years, starting with those big old brick phones in the 1980s and with the latest upgrade marking a huge jump.

“The internet came in spades and 4G with the smartphone around 2010,” says Rappaport, who adds that 5G will be exponentially better.

“5G is so much faster in terms of data rate, in terms of capability, in terms of radio spectrum,” he says. “It basically brings a fiber optic cable wirelessly to the pocket of every human. So, 5G truly is revolutionary.”

Read the full article on NPR.