The Alliance for Automotive Innovation is calling on the Federal Communications Commission to abandon a proposal that would split portions of a spectrum long assigned to automakers for vehicle safety.
In December 2019, the FCC voted unanimously on a proposal that would shift 45 megahertz of the 5.9 GHz band to unlicensed uses such as Wi-Fi.
Under the proposed rule, the remaining 30 megahertz would be kept for use by transportation and vehicle safety-related communication services. Of the 30 megahertz, the rule would provide "cellular vehicle-to-everything" — aka C-V2X, a new cellular vehicle technology — exclusive access to the upper 20 megahertz. The commission sought comment through Monday on whether to retain the remaining 10 megahertz for use by dedicated short-range communications or assign it to C-V2X.
The alliance, which represents 36 automakers, suppliers and tech companies, urged the commission to preserve the entire 75 megahertz for transportation safety, citing the "significant risk of harmful interference" if most of the auto-safety airwaves were reallocated for broadband uses, according to comments submitted to the FCC.
The alliance did not take a position on which technology — DSRC or the emerging C-V2X — should operate within the spectrum for transportation safety.
"Repurposing over half of the safety spectrum to allow for unlicensed and wireless uses could cause harmful interference, which would affect the integrity of safety-critical V2X communications and cost lives. DSRC and C-V2X are lifesaving technologies, and there's no room for error here — delays of even thousandths of a single second matter for transportation safety," the alliance said in a statement.
Securing America's Future Energy, an advocacy group dedicated to reducing the country's oil dependence, also raised concern with the proposal and urged the FCC to maintain the spectrum for vehicle connectivity.
"Safety — not faster streaming — must be a national priority," the group's CEO, Robbie Diamond, said in a statement. "In a world where more than 36,000 Americans lose their lives in traffic collisions every year, it is unconscionable to think that the FCC would choose to thwart the deployment of this lifesaving technology rather than striving to enable it."