FCC Considers Taking Away Spectrum Used by Transportation Industry

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai wants to slash, or even end, public- and private-sector transportation interests’ exclusive access to a slice of spectrum known as Dedicated Short Range Communications.

In 1999, the FCC set aside 75 MHz of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band for applications intended to improve highway safety and efficiency, placing it under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s then-emerging intelligent transportation systems program.

“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,” Pai said. “DSRC has evolved slowly. It’s not widely deployed. And in the meantime, a wave of new transportation communication technologies has emerged.”

Pai wants to make available the lower 45 MHz of the band for unlicensed uses like Wi-Fi and allocate the upper 20 MHz for a new automotive communications technology, Cellular Vehicle to Everything, or C-V2X.