5G

By Prince Osuagwu, with Agency reports

Telecoms operators in Nigeria yesterday allayed fears over alarm raised by airline operators in the United States of possible disruption in aircraft  operations by the rollout of 5G network.

Recall that Chief Executive Officers of some of the largest airlines in the United States’ had raised the alarm over what they described as potential catastrophic disruption in the aviation industry if telecoms companies rolled out 5G services today in the US.

But the Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecom Operators in Nigeria, ALTON, Engr Gbenga Adebayo, said concerns raised by major airlines in US against 5G were not new and still formed part of the conspiracy theories.

However, in a letter sent to senior officials in the Biden administration on Monday, the airline operators warned that thousands of aircraft could be grounded, causing commerce to “grind to a halt” with Americans stranded overseas if 5G is switched on near airport runways.

The airlines urged US officials to delay deployment of the service within two miles of affected airport runways.

AT&T and Verizon have already twice delayed the launch of their new C-Band 5G service due to warnings from airlines and aeroplane manufacturers concerned that the new system might interfere with their ability to gauge altitude.

“We are writing with urgency to request that 5G be implemented everywhere in the country except within the approximate two miles of airport runways as defined by the FAA on January 19, 2022,” the letter reads.

The letter was signed by the chief executives of American Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, FedEx Express, UPS Airlines, among others.

It was addressed to Brian Deese, director of national economic council; Jessica Rosenworcel, chairwoman, Federal Communications Commission; Pete Buttigieg, transportation secretary and Steve Dickson, Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, administrator.

The CEOs highlighted the risk of “economic calamity” should Verizon and AT&T proceed as planned with implementing the technology before the necessary upgrades and changes have been made to aviation equipment.

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They warned that disruptions to aeroplanes’ instruments could ground “huge swaths” of the US fleet, subjecting more than 1,100 flights and 100,000 passengers to cancellations, diversions or delays.

“The ripple effects across both passenger and cargo operations, our workforce and the broader economy are incalculable. Every one of the passenger and cargo carriers will be struggling to get people, shipments, planes and crews where they need to be. To be blunt, the nation’s commerce will grind to a halt,” they added.

On Sunday, the FAA said it had cleared an estimated 45 percent of the U.S. commercial fleet to perform low-visibility landings at airports where the new 5G service would be deployed.

But the airlines are concerned that remaining limitations at those airports, as well as a large amount of uncertified equipment, could lead to the grounding of thousands of flights.

However, telecom operators in Nigeria are seeing the situation differently, as the Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecom Operators in Nigeria, ALTON, Engr Gbenga Adebayo, said such alarms were not new as they formed part of the conspiracy theories against the 5G network.

He said the concerns in US were in conflict with developments in many parts of Europe where 5G was fully operational and might not also hold any effect in Nigeria, where several studies were conducted before licences were given out to operators who will deploy the services.

“I am aware of concerns in US against the effects of 5G deployments within some miles of the airport runways. These are not new developments but similar reports in Europe are in conflict with their position.

”Even in Germany, there has not been any report that the deployment of 5G has any effect to signals in their airports. Of course the World Health Organisation, WHO has repeatedly assured there are no health hazards from 5G to anybody or institutions that come in contact with it.

“For us as operators in Nigeria, we are not expecting any issues because before we were granted licenses, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC carried out several studies and must have had series of collaborations with regulator counterparts in the airline operation before concluding plans on 5G license auctioning,” he said.

All efforts to get the NCC to respond to the development proved abortive as the Director Public Affairs,  Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, neither picked his calls nor responded to the text message sent to him.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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