FCC delays review of the spectrum assigned to vehicle communication

FILE PHOTO: Chairman Ajit Pai speaks before the vote on the repeal of the so-called net neutrality rules of the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, USA, December 14, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – the Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on Wednesday delayed plans to start in June a comprehensive review of a valuable band of spectrum to be reserved for vehicles to communicate with one another.

Pai on Tuesday had called for the FCC to take a fresh look” on the largely unused 75 megahertz of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band. This was reserved in 1999 for car manufacturers to develop technology for vehicles to exchange data about their location, speed and direction to help avoid accidents, among other things.

The delay fulfilled a request from the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao more time before the commission takes the 5.9 GHz case, FCC spokesman Brian Hart said.

A spokesman for the Chao declined to comment, but the ministry has previously said it is essential for the public safety that the spectrum be reserved for the car industry. A so-called Dedicated Short Range Communications (CHANNELS), the technology could eliminate hundreds of thousands of annual car crashes, automakers and regulators say.

NCTA the Internet & Television Association, which represents major cable and content companies such as Comcast Corp had praised Pai’s call for a review. The group has urged the FCC to open the spectrum band for Wi-Fi use, saying that it is “too valuable to our country’s economic future to go unused any longer.”

On April 26, Toyota Motor Corp announced the stop of the plans to install CHANNELS technology on U.S. vehicles, saying that it is necessary to add additional “federal government support of preserving the 5.9 GHz spectrum for CHANNELS.”

Car manufacturers have been distributed in the United States over the question of whether you want to continue with the CHANNELS system or the use of a 4G or 5G-based system, with General Motors Co and the move of CHANNELS.

CHANNELS transfer can vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication and broadcast precise vehicle information to a maximum of 10 times per second.

In December 2016, the U.S. Transportation Department proposed to the mandate of CHANNELS in all new vehicles, but the Trump board has not taken a decision on the proposal.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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