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News   December 4, 2019   by Allan Janssen

FCC to vote on expanding use of 5.9GHz spectrum

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced it will vote on Dec. 12 on a proposal to split the 5.9 GHz spectrum between automotive safety use and Wi-Fi use.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai said a lot of people are wondering whether the Vehicle Safety Spectrum, which has long been reserved for intelligent transportation systems communications, is currently being put to its best use.

“In my view, it clearly is not,” he said. “After 20 years of seeing these prime airwaves go largely unused, the time has come for the FCC to take a fresh look at the 5.9 GHz band. And I’m pleased to announce that today, I shared with my FCC colleagues a proposal to end the uncertainty around the 5.9 GHz band and set a path for the deployment of new services.”

The FCC has published a copy of the draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that the Commission will consider.

The Motor Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) opposes the proposal, saying it could compromise motor vehicle safety.

It said the spectrum is critical to the development of vehicle safety technologies, including Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and automation. Sharing or dividing the spectrum raises concerns as it will require the development of new testing protocols to confirm that allowing unlicensed devices does not compromise the safety as intended when the Vehicle Safety Spectrum was first envisioned.

The House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will be holding an FCC Oversight hearing on Dec. 5. It is expected that many members of the Subcommittee will raise this proposal with the Commissioners during the hearing. MEMA will continue advocating in support of keeping the spectrum available for vehicle safety and keep members updated with those efforts.



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