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Longstanding disagreements between federal agencies over potential risks to aircraft remained unresolved in the days leading to the 5G debut

The Biden and Trump administrations had years of warnings. But the government failed this week to avoid a collision between U.S. telecom companies and airlines over the rollout of new 5G cellular networks.

That failure, rooted in longstanding disagreements over potential risk and a lack of cooperation by U.S. regulators, led to a last-minute scramble that threatened the cancellation of thousands of flights and raised tensions between two powerful industries.

Since 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration has questioned whether decades-old aviation equipment would be disrupted by new cellular signals. The risk to aircraft from new 5G services has been dismissed by the telecom industry and its regulator.

Yet the FAA, still sifting through a flood of wireless-company data, was altering flight-safety instructions in the days leading up to the 5G rollout. Boeing Co. , meanwhile, began talking last weekend with users of its 777 jets about possibly halting flights into major U.S. airports ahead of the 5G debut. Along with questions about shifting FAA restrictions, that set off days of panicked calls among airline chiefs and White House officials, people familiar with the matter said.

Excerpt from WSJ
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