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NCTA to FCC: Stay on Road to Wi-Fi 5.9 GHz Sharing

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(Image credit: NCTA)

Cable operators are telling the FCC to dismiss or deny auto companies' challenge to the FCC's decision to allow the 5.9 GHz band to be divided up between incumbent intelligent auto communications systems and the Wi-Fi that remains cable broadband operators primary mobile broadband play.

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation and the 5G Automotive Association have petitioned the FCC to reconsider all or parts of its decision, in part siting the change in administration.

Also Read: FCC Votes to Drive Wi-Fi Expansion

The FCC voted unanimously in the waning days of the tenure of FCC chairman Ajit Pai, 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.

In a formal opposition to that auto company appeal, NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, said the FCC's "unanimous bipartisan" decision to divvy up the band, a compromise proposal that was years in the making, reinvigorated a band that had gone virtually unused.

And while auto makers said sharing threatened auto safety, NCTA said the FCC order advances that goal "by enabling new innovations promised by proponents of Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology—and by enacting conservative technical rules designed to protect Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) users from adjacent-channel unlicensed operations."

NCTA also argues that freeing up the band for Wi-Fi use can help close the rural digital divide, a big priority of the FCC and the Biden Administration, which is putting tens of billions of dollars into a broadband deployment effort.

"Importantly, providers can use 5.9 GHz spectrum to bring the benefits of cost-effective, next-generation wireless connectivity to consumers in rural communities across the country where next-generation mobile connectivity may not be immediately available," NCTA said.

In addition to asking the FCC to reverse its decision, Intelligent auto tech makers and highway officials last month appealed the decision to a federal appeals court.

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.