ITS America and AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) have sent a letter to US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and NEC Director Brian Deese expressing “significant concern with efforts underway at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reallocate spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band.”
The move follows the shock news late last year that the FCC would be breaking up 5.9 GHz band, and allowing unlicensed Wi-Fi to operate within the spectrum, leaving less than half of it available for transportation V2X (vehicle to everything) safety communications. While many viewed the ruling as final, it has yet to be fully enshrined into law, and now AASHTO and ITS America are continuing the fight, as was reported would happen in the December 2020 edition of TTI magazine.
The letter which is signed by ITS America President and CEO Shailen Bhatt and Jim Tymon, executive director of AASHTO (both pictured above) asks the government leaders to intervene by submitting “a proposal to Congress preserving the full 75 MHz of spectrum within the 5.9 GHz band for transportation safety and to work with the FCC to ensure that all spectrum allocated for V2X services is protected from harmful interference.”
It goes on to point out the many critical safety benefits of V2X, citing: “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) predicts that the safety applications enabled by V2X technology could eliminate or mitigate the severity of up to 80% of non-impaired crashes, significantly reducing the nearly 37,000 lives lost and three million injuries that occur annually on US roadways.”
“Some of the most promising V2X applications [such as advanced Vehicle-to-Pedestrian (V2P) applications] will be unlikely to fit within the 30 MHz remaining under the FCC’s proposed spectrum reallocation,” the letter continues, “Threatening to eliminate these applications as tools to make roads safer for all users and to increase transportation equity within the United States at a time when the status quo has allowed fatalities in these groups to dramatically increase over the last decade.”
“Preserving the spectrum for V2X would provide greater economic and environmental benefit for the American people than reallocating the spectrum for unlicensed devices.
“The US has led the world in creating V2X technology and in developing the standards that enable and support V2X technology. The FCC’s proposal would cede American leadership as countries around the world are building out their V2X networks. There is no doubt that, if implemented, the NPRM would undercut the public and private investments that have been made in the United States, stifle further innovation, and challenge American global competitiveness. This approach is in direct conflict with efforts underway in other parts of the world. At precisely the same time that other countries are reiterating their commitment to V2X technology and, in many cases, looking to increase the amount of spectrum that is available to support V2X technology, the FCC is poised to take action that would all but ensure that the technology would not realize its full potential in the United States.
“The comments and reply comments submitted to the FCC in response to the NPRM overwhelmingly opposed repurposing spectrum away from transportation safety. In fact, more than 85 percent of the commenters opposed the FCC’s proposal, including State and city departments of transportation, automakers, vehicle suppliers, technology companies, law enforcement, first responders, safety advocates, engineers, telecommunications companies, the drone industry, and many others. These groups asked the FCC to heed the warnings of USDOT that this plan would not allow sufficient spectrum for V2X to function, threatening the significant safety benefits this technology provides.”