Last week, the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to take over airwaves previously slated for use for auto safety and allocate it for WiFi use.
The 75 MHz swath of airwaves was set aside 20 years ago for a vehicle safety communication system that never came to fruition. Despite this, the takeover of the spectrum was met by objections from the Department of Transportation, Ford, and the 5G Automotive Association, which wanted to preserve it to use for vehicle-to-vehicle communications for preventing crashes, and traffic management once self-driving and semi-autonomous vehicles become more common on America’s roads.
A Department of Transportation spokesperson said that it has “significant concerns”, and believe the spectrum should be kept for auto-safety uses, and allow the market to determine what kind of technology will eventually provide the communication services.
The FCC plans to divide up the 75 MHz of spectrum, with the possibility that while 45 MHz may be used for WiFi, the remaining 30 MHz could still be set aside for vehicle safety initiatives like the ones initially intended.
Though nothing has been officially decided yet, there is also a chance that the FCC may designate all 75 MHz to a new type of “cellular-vehicle-to-everything” technology.