WASHINGTON — Two prominent transportation advocacy groups on Wednesday challenged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s November decision to relocate much of a key spectrum block reserved for automotive safety to house the burgeoning number of wireless devices.
The Intelligent Transportation Society of America and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia over the FCC’s reallocation of 60% of the spectrum block of the 5.9 GHz spectrum. undo tape.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation said the FCC plan was “a particularly dangerous regulatory approach when public safety is at stake.”
The spectrum block was reserved in 1999 for automakers to develop technology that allows vehicles to talk to each other to prevent crashes, but has remained largely unused until now.
The FCC, not immediately commenting, voted to shift 30 megahertz of the 75 megahertz reserved for Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) to another automotive communications technology called Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything, or C-V2X, while the other 45 megahertz to wifi usage.
Automakers oppose the split for safety reasons, while major cable, telecom and content companies say the spectrum is essential to support growing Wi-Fi use.
DSRC was previously offered on just one General Motors Co. vehicle. Government studies have suggested that the technology, if widely adopted in U.S. vehicles, could prevent at least 600,000 accidents annually.
Talking cars and trucks would use special short-range communications to transmit data up to 300 meters, such as location, direction and speed, to nearby vehicles. That data would be updated and broadcast up to 10 times per second to nearby vehicles, which could identify hazards and warn drivers to prevent imminent accidents.
In December 2016, the Obama administration proposed to eventually equip all new cars and trucks with DSRC, but the Trump administration never finalized the rules.