ATSSA 'steadfastly opposed' to FCC reallocation of 5.9 GHz band

Association files statement with Federal Register outlining its safety concerns

ATSSA is "steadfastly opposed" to the Federal Communication Commission's plan to reallocate a portion of the 5.9 GHz band of spectrum to other uses out of concerns for "safety and security," President & CEO Roger Wentz said in a statement filed this week with the Federal Register.

People have until March 9 to submit comments and until April 6 to post replies to the proposal, first announced by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai at a Nov. 20 meeting with Citizens Against Government Waste, New America’s Open Technology Institute, and WifiForward.

"In 2018, more than 36,000 men, women, and children died on U.S. roadways and tens of thousands more were seriously injured," Wentz said in his statement. "By and large, these fatalities and injuries are preventable through proven lifesaving roadway safety infrastructure countermeasures as well as developing vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure technologies. While fully connected and automated vehicles are still some time away from full deployment in the U.S. vehicle fleet, it certainly is the future of American transportation. And that future relies on a safe, secure communications system among vehicles and between vehicles and the surrounding roadway infrastructure. This decision by the FCC undermines that commitment to safety and security. The Commission risks putting American motorists’, passengers’, pedestrians’, bicyclists’, motorcyclists’, and road construction workers’ lives at risk."

As previously reported, many organizations such as the the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) have opposed the proposal.

The FCC’s five-member commission voted unanimously on Dec. 12 to “take a fresh and comprehensive look at the 5.9 GHz (5.850-5.925 GHz) band, proposing rule changes to ensure that this spectrum supports its highest and best use for the American people,” according to an FCC press release. The proposal is to reallocate a portion of the band to uses such as WiFi.

Since then, the period for official response to the "proposed rulemaking" was announced.

"For the sake of the safety and security of the traveling public, ATSSA strongly encourages the Federal Communications Commission to revise its NPRM and preserve the 75 MHz allocated within the 5.850-5.925 GHz spectrum for transportation safety communication purposes," Wentz wrote.

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