Court Won't Stay FCC 5.9 GHz Decision

Prettyman Court of Appeals
(Image credit: Future)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit won't stay the FCC's decision to free up spectrum that had been licensed for vehicle-to-vehicle communications for unlicensed Wi-Fi.

The FCC voted unanimously in the waning days of Pai's to free up the lower 45 MHz of the 5.9 GHz band for wireless broadband while transitioning the remaining upper 30 MHz to the latest iteration of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, and cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology.

Automotive interests had sought the motion for an emergency stay of the decision--ITS America did not seek a stay, but instead backed the stay request and appealed the report and order directly--pending the court's hearing of the underlying appeal. The groups argue that the spectrum is needed for v2v communications, including collision avoidance, and that allowing the FCC decision to divvy up and share the band to go into effect while the court considers the underlying challenge risked interference to life-saving technologies.
Also Read: NCTA Says Stay on Road to Wi-Fi Sharing

"Petitioners have not satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay pending court review," the court said flatly, but will allow the groups to intervene in the case.

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation and the 5G Automotive Association petitioned the FCC to reconsider all or parts of its decision, in part citing the change in administration. The 5.9 GHz  band reorganization was approved under the previous chairmanship of Republican Ajit Pai, but with support from Democrats including the current acting chair, Jessica Rosenworcel.

Cable operators want the FCC and the courts to reject auto companies' challenge to the FCC's decision to free up more spectrum for Wi-Fi, which remains cable broadband operators' primary mobile broadband play.

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.