FAA clears Verizon and AT&T to turn on more 5G cell towers

FILE - A passenger uses a laptop aboard a commercial airline flight from Boston to Atlanta on July 1, 2017. Concern about new high-speed wireless service interfering with airplanes appears to be easing. Federal safety regulators said Friday, Jan. 28, 2022 they have cleared the way for Verizon and AT&T to turn on more 5G towers. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes, File)

Federal safety regulators say they have cleared the way for Verizon and AT&T to power up more towers for new 5G service without causing radio interference with airplanes.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday that it took the steps after receiving details from the telecommunications companies about the location of wireless transmitters.

The FAA said the data helped it to better map areas around airports where new new high-speed 5G service won't hinder the ability of planes to land during poor weather.

Verizon and AT&T declined to comment. Nick Ludlum, a spokesman for the telecommunications trade group CTIA, called it a "positive development that highlights the considerable progress the wireless industry, aviation industry, FAA and FCC are making to ensure robust 5G service and safe flights."

Aviation groups and the FAA had warned that the companies' 5G service, which uses part of the radio spectrum called C-Band, was too close to the spectrum range used by instruments that measure the height of planes above the ground - crucial information for landing in low visibility.