WiFi Battles Auto Safety Over 5.9 GHz

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FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Michael O’Rielly support a renewed push from WiFi advocates and the cable industry to persuade the agency to reallocate some of the spectrum originally meant for car crash-avoidance technology. Both favor exploring the use of the 5.9 GHz band for WiFi use.

In response to NCTA’s push last week, asking the FCC to explore new uses in the 5.9 GHz band, Rosenworcel said, “In the nearly twenty years since the FCC allocated this spectrum, autonomous and connected vehicles have largely moved beyond dedicated short range communications technology to newer, market driven alternatives. It is time to take a fresh look at this band to allow a broader range of uses.”

O’Rielly called it “pure folly” to believe Dedicated Short Range Communications will ever work as envisioned decades ago. Once a reexamination is concluded, he believes “at least 45 megahertz can be reallocated for unlicensed services without jeopardizing automobile safety.”

But the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, which counts GM and Toyota among its members, said it’s premature to give up on 5.9 GHz for automotive use, reports Politico. “Without the 5.9 GHz band, we lose many of the life-saving benefits of connected vehicles,” ITSA President Shailen Bhatt stated earlier this month. “In fact, USDOT just affirmed the importance of the spectrum band in its new automated vehicle policy by noting it would improve safety and enhance the benefits of vehicle automation.”

October 22, 2018