Recently, the Wi-Fi Alliance said that they created Wi-Fi 6E as a standard to ensure that when the FCC opens up airwaves in the 6 gigahertz spectrum, Wi-Fi will be ready for prime time. The apportionment of additional spectrum would ensure that there would be enough Wi-Fi available to meet the demands of the ongoing avalanche of connected devices. The issue is that many legislators are concerned that an effort to supply approximately 40% of the available 6 GHz spectrum for unlicensed services could create safety issues down the road. Their point was that this spectrum should be protected to accommodate short-range, vehicle-to-vehicle use cases. The article that follows provides the details surrounding the lawmakers’ argument.
Lawmakers sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Wednesday saying they’re “alarmed” by the FCC’s proposal to reallocate more than half of the 5.9 GHz band to unlicensed operations such as Wi-Fi.
The 38 lawmakers, who are members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, say the proposal undercuts the potential to prevent many of the 37,000 traffic fatalities each year by “impeding the development and deployment of safety-critical technologies.”
The letter (PDF) notes that U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) Secretary Elaine Chao wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on November 20, 2019, outlining the DoT’s opposition to the FCC’s 5.9 GHz Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), saying the DoT has “significant concerns with the commission’s proposal, which represents a shift in the FCC’s regulation of the 5.9 GHz band and jeopardizes the significant transportation safety benefits that the allocation of this band was meant to foster.” The lawmakers said they concur with that statement.