Congress Asked To Rein in DOT on V2V

Cars on the freeway in a traffic jam
(Image credit: MCCAIG/Getty Images)

Unlicensed wireless fans are pushing Congress to get the Department of Transportation to back off what they said are the agency's efforts to delay or roll back the reclamation of some of the 5.9 GHz band from vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications to unlicensed use like Wi-Fi hotspots.

The band had been reserved exclusively for V2V, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, but app-based communications appear to be superseding that technology and its need for the spectrum that has essentially lain fallow for two decades.

In a letter to some top members of the Senate Commerce and House Energy & Commerce Committees, the groups, which include Public Knowledge, Next Century Cities and the Benton Foundation, pointed out that the FCC has already voted to make the lower 45 Megahertz of the band available for unlicensed use, including Wi-Fi, while reserving the upper 30 MHz for V2V.

Also: Crowding the 5.9 GHz Lane

Now, they say, an announced DOT study is meant to undermine that decision "'spurred by interests' intent on re-asserting a claim that the automotive industry should control the entire band."

They said that the study, which has not been released, is being undertaken without public comment on relying on "improper technical assumptions and methodologies."

"[W]e are concerned that DOT will attempt to use a study that is both procedurally and technically flawed to pressure the FCC to roll back its bipartisan decision on the 5.9 GHz band. This would be another instance of government agency dysfunction run amok," they told the legislators. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.