President Joe Biden praised Verizon and AT&T for agreeing to delay the deployment of their 5G networks to avoid disruptions to the aviation industry Tuesday.
The Biden administration came to the agreement with the two telecom companies on Monday evening, bumping back the rollout of 5G networks to Jan. 19. Airlines had warned that the deployment of c-band networks could significantly disrupt flights without preparation, and the White House believes the two-week window will suffice. (RELATED: Conspiracy Theorists Worried About 5G Are Wearing Necklaces That Could Damage DNA, Nuclear Experts Warn)
“Last night’s agreement is a significant step in the right direction, and we’re grateful to all parties for their cooperation and good faith. This agreement ensures that there will be no disruptions to air operations over the next two weeks and puts us on track to substantially reduce disruptions to air operations when AT&T and Verizon launch 5G on January 19,” Biden said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller.
“My administration has been convening technical experts at the FAA, the FCC, and from the wireless and aviation industries to discuss a solution that allows the expansion of 5G and aviation to safely co-exist, and I am pleased those efforts helped produce yesterday’s agreement,” Biden added.
The agreement contradicts reports from CNN earlier Tuesday that Verizon and AT&T had no plans to push back the Jan. 5 start date. The companies had previously pushed back from an original Dec. 5 start date. Biden’s calling the most recent delay only a “significant step” may indicate that the White House plans to push for further delays.
Deploying 5G networks across the U.S. has been a major goal for U.S. telecom companies for years, especially when it comes to competition with China. China’s Huawei was contracted to build parts of the U.K.’s 5G network under former President Donald Trump’s administration, leading to a diplomatic standoff that ended with the U.K. canceling the contract.