We love it when a listener can give us some expert insight to a story that confuses us.
That happened Tuesday morning when Riley shared a story about the United States Department of Transportation asking Verizon and T-Mobile to delay the launch of the next phase in the 5G tower rollout.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is concerned that these towers will interfere with planes and wanted more time to study the situation before the towers go live.
You might be surprised to find out that the cellular giants weren't very receptive to delay a project they had already sunk over $50 billion and several years into developing. They jointly sent a letter back to the government detailing why they would not be delaying it. They essentially told the government to pound sand in quasi-respectful legalese language.
Here's an excerpt, I encourage you to read the whole thing though.
At its core, your proposed framework asks that we agree to transfer oversight of our companies' multi-billion dollar investment in 50 unnamed metropolitan areas representing the lion's share of the U.S. population to the FAA for an undetermined number of months or years. Even worse, the proposal is directed to only two companies, regardless of the terms of licenses auctioned and granted, and to the exception of every other company and industry within the purview of the FCC. Agreeing to your proposal would not only be an unprecedented and unwarranted circumvention of the due process and checks and balances carefully crafted in the structure of our democracy, but an irresponsible abdication of the operating control required to deploy world-class and globally competitive communications networks that are every bit as essential to our country's economic vitality, public safety and national interests as the airline industry.
Those are 3 very pointed sentences from the cell phone behemoths.
There is a LOT to unpack in this story and honestly I still don't completely understand all of it. Why is the government waiting till the last minute to tell them to pause their program? Why haven't they done all the testing yet? Is this going on in other countries? All valid questions, but we still had one major one.
What can a cell phone tower do to an airplane?
Fortunately, listener Jared called in to let us know that he was a pilot and could fill us in on what the main problem might be. Full disclosure, I did not check out Jared's credentials but he sounded like he knew what he was talking about. Riley's and my full discussion is in the link below, fast forward about 7 minutes in to hear from the pilot.
So basically, Jared explains that the new bandwidth taken up by these 5G towers could mess with the radar that helps pilots land their planes, especially in bad weather. Without this reading being accurate, pilots would essentially be landing blind in bad weather.
This is an interesting fight that we will keep an eye on. Thanks to Jared for the insight and stay tuned to Riley and Joe in the Morning, every morning from 5-9, for further updates.
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