The Federal Communication Commission rules the airwaves in the U.S., making decisions regarding radio frequency allocations and the way that the spectrum can be used. These administrative decisions are often highly technical but sometimes get caught up in lobbying interests fraught with emotions, politics and financial considerations.
Let's consider two FCC proceedings impacting the all-important automotive space. Recently, the agency has played a unique role in the auto industry regarding connected cars and a proposed innovation for FM radio in the vehicle and elsewhere.
The first matter regards sharing a slice of the 5.9-GHz spectrum with in-auto Wi-Fi applications for competing technologies connecting the vehicle to everything, or C-V2X, and dedicated short-range communication, or DSRC.
C-V2X and DSRC were contending for control of the emerging vehicle-to-vehicle communications marketplace dependent on access to a substantial portion of that wireless spectrum band. In short, the technology allows vehicles to communicate with each other and everything around them, critical for in-vehicle road safety emergency alerting.
The second is whether to allow FM stations to use innovative technology to deliver content that would enable listeners to hear geotargeted news, traffic, weather alerts, programming and ads on their radios to enhance in-car listening. This decision, too, has automotive relevance since most radio listening in the U.S. occurs in cars.