Wi-Fi Advocates Raise Concerns on NHTSA Proposal for 5.9 GHz Band

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Media Outlet: Communications Daily

Industry groups and companies, eager to gain access to the 5.9 GHz band for Wi-Fi, raised concerns about a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rulemaking notice on dedicated short-range com­munications (DSRC) technology and other vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications. But auto industry commenters said the technologies that would be allowed as a result of new rules are critical to public safety. Public interest and free-market groups were on the same page on the 5.9 GHz issue. There was speculation early in the Trump administration the White House might kill the rulemaking (see 1612130050), released in December in the late days of the Obama presidency. Comments were posted in docket NHTSA-2016-0126.

“The Department of Transportation should quickly determine how many DSRC channels are needed for V2V and other time-sensitive safety communications and then let the FCC do its job to facilitate sharing of the remainder of the band with Wi-Fi users for commercial and safety-related but not time-critical appli­cations,” said Michael Calabrese, director of the Wireless Future Program at New America. “Our comments conclude that separating the two or three DSRC channels needed for real-time safety signaling, while shar­ing the remaining channels with Wi-Fi, strikes the best balance between the public’s interest in both crash avoidance and faster, more affordable broadband connectivity.” Calabrese also told us NHTSA’s proposed plan would require all V2V signaling to occur on a single, dedicated DSRC channel of 10 MHz. Calabrese said FCC action is unlikely before the Office of Engineering and Technology wraps up the current round of interference tests.