The Road to Gigabit Wi-Fi

Can we Share the 5.9 GHz ‘Car Band’?

When

January 12, 2016

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Where

New America

740 15th Street NW, Suite 900

Washington, DC 20005

The auto and high-tech industries are on a collision course over more than the future of driverless cars: A more immediate battle is being waged over access to the public airwaves, sparked by a FCC proposal to pave the road for super-fast Wi-Fi by allowing unlicensed devices to share the large but mostly-unused Intelligent Transportation Services (ITS) band at 5.9 GHz.

A key concern is auto safety. The Department of Transportation has tentatively decided it will mandate the implementation of vehicle-to-vehicle communication in all new cars using a wireless technology that operates on the 5.9 GHz ITS band. Although this safety signaling technology (DSRC) will use only a portion of the band – and take 20-to-30 years to fully implement – auto companies want priority use of the entire 75 megahertz of spectrum for a host of other wireless applications and services.

Wi-Fi already carries more than 60% of all mobile device data traffic, making wireless Internet access far more available, fast and affordable. But as unlicensed bands grow more congested and users demand more high-bandwidth apps, such as video chat and streaming, opening large tracts of unlicensed spectrum 5.9 GHz is key to creating the “wider pipe” required for gigabit Wi-Fi networks.

Keynoting this event, a bipartisan duo of FCC Commissioners – Jessica Rosenworcel and Michael O’Rielly – will talk about the importance and prospects of sharing the band. High-tech equipment companies Qualcomm and Cisco will describe their competing proposals. And New America’s Open Technology Institute will release and describe a major report that recommends a ‘win-win’ resolution.

The event also aired on C-SPAN. You can watch it here.

Follow the conversation online using #GigabitWifi and following @OTI.

Keynote Speakers:

Jessica Rosenworcel 
Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
@JRosenworcel  

Michael O’Rielly 
Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
@mikeofcc  

Participants:

Blair Anderson
Deputy Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
@NHTSAgov  

Michael Calabrese 
Director, Wireless Future Program at New America
Author, Spectrum Silos to Gigabit Wi-Fi
@MCalabreseNAF  

Dean Brenner 
Senior Vice President—Government Affairs, Qualcomm Inc.
@deanrbrenner  

Mary Brown 
Senior Director—Government Affairs, Cisco
@CiscoPubPolicy  

Harold Feld 
Senior Vice President, Public Knowledge
@haroldfeld  

William Maguire 
Campaign Manager, WifiForward
@WifiForward  

Moderator:

Sarah Morris 
Senior Policy Counsel, Open Technology Institute at New America
@sarmorris  

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