February 12, 2013

Transportation leaders call for bandwidth protection

The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America), along with major automakers, safety advocates and transportation officials from across the country, are joining together to urge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to protect the 5.9 GHz band of spectrum set aside for connected vehicle technology, which is expected to save thousands of lives each year, from potentially harmful interference that could result from allowing unlicensed Wi-Fi-based devices to operate in the band.

The Wi-Fi expansion plan, announced by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski at the Consumer Electronics Show last month, will be the topic of a February 20 Commission meeting in which the FCC plans to consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to substantially increase the amount of unlicensed spectrum available for unlicensed devices in the 5 GHz band.

The 5.9 GHz band — one of two bands under consideration — was allocated by the FCC for development of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications technology, which the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) estimates could potentially address 80% of all unimpaired crash scenarios, saving thousands of lives each year.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Genachowski, the transportation leaders ask the FCC to allow for due diligence by ensuring that any timelines contained in a proposed rulemaking relating to the 5.9 GHz band are consistent with the NTIA schedule for completing its quantitative evaluation and issuing final recommendations, and do not precede a decision by the U.S. DOT regarding implementation of a connected vehicle network which has the potential to greatly reduce the six million crashes and more than 30,000 deaths that occur on U.S. roads annually.

“We stand ready to work with NTIA, the wireless industry, and other federal and non-federal stakeholders to evaluate the feasibility of existing, modified, proposed and new spectrum-sharing technologies and approaches,” according to the transportation leaders. “However, this process should be allowed to proceed without a predetermination by the FCC that spectrum sharing in the 5.9 GHz should be the ultimate outcome.”

ITS America was joined on the letter by AAA, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Association of Global Automakers, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, American Highway Users Alliance, American Public Transportation Association, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, American Traffic Safety Services Association, Transportation for America, and numerous other public and private sector leaders.

To view the letter, click here.

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