FCC Votes to Reallocate Large Portion of Transportation ‘Safety Band’ Spectrum

On November 18, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) finalized its intention to release more than half of the 5.9 GHz ‘Safety Band’ spectrum. This portion of spectrum has been reserved since 1999 for Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) to enable transportation and vehicle safety related communications. The release will provide frequency for unlicensed use such as WiFi, and Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology over the DSRC.

APWA, the U.S. Department of Transportation, bipartisan members of Congress, and many other state and local government organizations have been weighing in over recent months in opposition of this proposal. Citing safety, evolving technology, and cybersecurity and data protection as reasons for opposing the FCC proposal, APWA leadership stated, "… to continue progress already made, and to do so responsibly with the overriding goal being safety, the dedication of the 5.9 GHz spectrum must remain as it was intended." The full APWA letter is available by clicking here.

Both House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) immediately released a statement following the FCC decision to express disappointment, and in their view the FCC will undermine decades of transportation technology development. In the statement, DeFazio and Graves vow to "keep fighting this decision with all the tools at our disposal."