FCC Delays Review on Spectrum for V2V Communications

May 16, 2019 at 5:56 PM

U.S. regulators are delaying a review of broadcast spectrum set aside but so-far unused that would enable vehicles to communicate with their surroundings, Reuters reports.

The decision came in response to a request from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation. DOT wants more time in which to test so-called dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) technologies, which carmakers say could reduce crashes, save lives and improve traffic flow.

The Federal Communications Commission set aside 75 megahertz of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band 20 years ago for safety-related vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication.

But the auto industry is just beginning to develop DSRC systems, claiming that the computing power required to make them work has been too expensive until now. Meanwhile, promoters of new wi-fi services have been eager to expropriate the unused 75 MHz of capacity for services that are less demanding but commercially ready to launch.

The FCC has mulled proposed spectrum sharing by the two camps. Carmakers oppose the plan, citing the potential risk of disrupting safety-critical communication. At the same time, manufacturers are split about whether to embrace DSRC to move to an alternate platform that would use 5G cellular connectivity.