FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel says the agency should move quickly to auction unused 2.5 GHz licenses. Combining such spectrum would provide new, flexible-use mid-band airwaves for 5G services, she said at a conference in Boulder, CO, on Thursday.
Any money leftover from funds needed to run the auction and pay for spectrum contributions from existing licensees could be turned into a Homework Gap initiative, she suggests. The project could help fund the connectivity needs of 12 million students who lack broadband at home. “That way, the Commission can honor what President Kennedy and his allies tried to do decades ago when they sought to spark educational use in the 2.5 GHz band.”
The 5.9 GHz band, too, is an “ideal” place to explore WiFi expansion, because it’s adjacent to an existing unlicensed band, she said. “That means we have the opportunity to introduce new wideband channels — channels that will be able to take advantage of new standards and deliver speeds even faster than 1 gigabit per second. In other words, this is where we can develop next generation Gigabit WiFi,” said Rosenworcel.
In 2016, the FCC developed a test plan in close coordination with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Department of Transportation to determine the feasibility of Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) and WiFi sharing. DSRC is a two-way short-to-medium-range wireless communications capability that permits very high data transmission critical in communications-based active safety applications. It was designed for cars to talk to each other in real time to help reduce accidents.
But today, autonomous vehicles have moved beyond DSRC to get around and communicate — whether that’s with radar, LIDAR, cameras, sensors, on-board mapping tools, or cellular and WiFi networks. The first test phase — FCC lab trials — is complete, according to the Commissioner. She called on the agency to make the work public and replace its co-channel sharing scheme with newer solutions that would instead segment the 5.9 GHz band, putting it to fuller use.
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September 10, 2018