Auto industry outlines proposal for safety spectrum band

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The auto industry has reached consensus on a proposal to the Federal Communications Commission outlining how it would use a spectrum band long assigned to automakers for vehicle safety.

In a letter sent Tuesday to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation outlined the industry’s plan for how the 5.9 GHz safety spectrum band will be used by so-called vehicle-to-everything, or V2X, technologies.

The proposal comes after the auto industry said last week it would deploy at least 5 million vehicle-to-everything radios on vehicles and roadway infrastructure within the next five years — if the FCC maintains the entire 75 megahertz of safety spectrum for transportation safety.

“We’re on the cusp of widespread V2X deployment,” said John Bozzella, CEO of the alliance, which represents most major automakers in the United States. “Vehicle connectivity will play a crucial role in optimizing road safety, bolstering our global competitiveness and providing considerable economic and societal benefits to the traveling public everywhere.”

Under the group’s proposed band plan, all 75 megahertz of the spectrum within the 5.9 GHz band will be preserved for connected-vehicle technologies such as cellular V2X and dedicated short-range communications. After five years, a single technology will be selected to use the safety band and a 10-year phaseout period will begin for the technology that does not prevail, the alliance said.

In December, 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. The commission sought comments on the proposal through March 9, and reply comments were accepted through Monday, April 27.

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Saurabh Shukla

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