Recently, presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg called on telecommunications giants AT&T and Verizon to delay their 5G deployments over aviation concerns.
AT&T and Verizon responded to this call differently, each with a unique stance.
This article will explain how AT&T and Verizon responded to Buttigieg’s request and the potential implications of their actions.
Buttigieg Asks AT&T and Verizon to Delay 5G Over Aviation Concerns
In April 2020, presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg called for a national ban on deploying fifth-generation (5G) cellular network technology. The request followed concerns raised by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that suggest that 5G technology could interfere with weather forecasting technology used by the National Weather Service.
In response, AT&T and Verizon Wireless have committed to voluntarily delaying deployments of their 5G networks in certain parts of the country as requested. In a statement, Verizon said they “are on track to meet or exceed the target set by Secretary Buttigieg.” AT&T told Wired Magazine that it would abide by the requested delay and factor any potential delays into its scheduled timelines for different regions in the U.S.
The two companies have also offered to work directly with government agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and other relevant stakeholders to avoid any interference with surveillance aircraft deploying 5G hardware in different locations.
On Wednesday, May 20th, Democrat presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg requested that AT&T and Verizon delay their 5G rollout over aviation concerns.
In a statement to CNN, AT&T replied that it is looking into the request and will consider any safety concerns. However, the telecom giant stressed that it was committed to providing the best possible service to its customers.
Moreover, AT&T stated it had already taken safety precautions to deploy its 5G technology.
Statement from AT&T
In response to South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s request for AT&T, Verizon and other telecommunication companies to delay modem 5G deployment, AT&T issued a statement expressing their stance. The statement read, “AT&T respects the wishes of local officials seeking to have some influence in the placement of our wireless infrastructure. However, we hope Mayor Buttigieg will recognize the tremendous benefits of 5G technology and allow us to continue modernising our network infrastructure in South Bend and its environs.”
AT&T went on to explain the potential benefits of the technology, pointing out how it could revolutionise the way people work remotely and help bridge the digital divide by bringing faster internet access to rural areas.
AT&T’s Position on 5G Deployment
In response to the request from Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, AT&T released a statement outlining their commitment to 5G mobility deployment. They reiterated their goal of providing the most advanced and secure 5G-enabled networks in 2020.
In addition, they said they are firmly committed to working with local and state governments to do their part towards connecting all Americans with the latest and most reliable form of wireless technology.
AT&T also committed that by 2025, they plan to continue deploying their 5G network across forty million U.S. citizens living in rural parts of the country which cannot access high-speed internet service or modern mobile communication networks at this time. They also promised that equipped with 5G technology, there would be significant improvements in connectivity for American families and businesses across rural areas as speed and coverage increases dramatically—allowing them better access to telehealth services, eCommerce opportunities, decent job opportunities, along with increased safety and emergency response capabilities in real-time.
The company further stated that they’re willing to work closely with regulators and collaborate with other industry stakeholders like Verizon (and other providers) while striving towards a competitive landscape that puts customers first when expanding rural internet access nationwide.
After Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg asked AT&T and Verizon to delay the rollout of a 5G network due to concerns over the aviation industry, Verizon responded with a statement.
The company said it had signed an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure that the 5G network would be deployed safely and without disruption to the aviation industry.
Statement from Verizon
On February 27th, 2020, a spokesperson from Verizon issued the following statement in response to Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s request to delay the rollout of 5G:
“Verizon has been pursuing 5G development with urgency since 2016 and continues to work diligently toward its nationwide rollout. In response to Mr. At Buttigieg’s request, we are committed to continuing our efforts in a way that meets existing timelines while also honouring calls for greater access and equity in deploying new technologies. In addition, we support thoughtful regulation encouraging responsible investment and adoption without burdening consumers and small businesses with unnecessary costs and delays.”
Verizon’s Position on 5G Deployment
Verizon initially declined to comment on the proposed delay of 5G deployment, while AT&T quickly voiced its support. However, in a later statement, Verizon agreed with the importance of safety and supported “responsible deployment” of 5G technology. In addition, the company noted that they follow all local laws, city ordinances, and industry standards recommended by reliable third-party entities such as the FCC or UL.
The telecommunications giant also underscored their commitment to rolling out 5G technology responsibly and announced plans to continue working with Mayor Pete Buttigieg and other cities nationwide. The statement further noted that their teams have worked diligently over the past several weeks with key stakeholders in South Bend to ensure a smooth transition from 4G LTE to 5G. According to Verizon, this work includes ongoing regular dialogues with South Bend City leaders about network planning and deployment, public education about infrastructure deployments for customers in South Bend neighbourhoods and public input sessions with local councils addressing any issues or concerns related to 5G infrastructure.