Back in November the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously to divide a Wi-Fi spectrum originally reserved for auto safety technology, splitting the band to provide greater bandwidth for other onboard connected services, including web connections for wireless devices. Now, two groups have challenged that decision.
According to a report from Reuters, the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, as well as the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, filed a legal challenge to the U.S. Count of Appeals for the District of Columbia opposing the FCC’s November ruling.
Back in 1999, the 5.9 GHz spectrum block was reserved for automakers to develop new tech for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) crash avoidance systems. So far, automakers have largely failed to utilize the spectrum.
In November, the FCC voted to shift 30 megahertz of the 75 megahertz reserved for short-range V2V DSRC systems to Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) systems, with the other 45 megahertz slated for Wi-Fi use. While automakers and auto groups say the decision will hurt auto safety, telecom companies, cable companies, and other content companies say the shift is necessary for greater in-vehicle Wi-Fi usage.
V2V DSRC systems were previously offered in just one General Motors vehicle, namely the Cadillac CTS. However, some studies suggest that widespread implementation could prevent up to 600,000 crashes annually. The tech would enable vehicle communication with data transfer at distances up to 300 meters, identifying risks and issuing warnings prior to a crash.
The auto safety tech was previously set for greater implementation following a U.S. government mandate issued under the Obama administration. However, the mandate stalled under the Trump administration.
Following the FCC vote in November, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said that there was a “pressing need” for the government to allocate additional Wi-Fi bandwidth to “be able to engage in telework, remote learning, telehealth, and other broadband-related services.”