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US regulator delays review of bandwidth assigned to vehicle communications

16 May 2019 Stephanie Brinley, MBA


US regulatory agency the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has delayed a review of the bandwidth currently reserved for vehicles which enable vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications. According to a Reuters report, FCC chairman Ajit Pai has delayed a planned review of the 5.9 GHz band which was scheduled to begin in June. The band has been held for automotive use in dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) and is expected to be valuable in supporting vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications. According to the Reuters report, the delay is the result of a request from Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao for more time. The delay to the review also ensures a delay to the final decision on whether to continue reserving the band for automobiles or to release part of it for other uses.

Significance: The frequency band is in demand from television companies, cable companies, wireless carriers, and WiFi providers. While the band has been held for automobiles for 20 years, progress towards using it has been slow and concern over bandwidth availability was also a factor in Toyota recently deciding to halt plans for DSRC-based V2X deployment . In 2016, US regulatory agency the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed making V2V technology standard on all vehicles, although the proposal has not moved forward . The radar frequency allocation is managed by the US government for this market, to ensure that there is frequency dedicated to certain functions and that overlap does not cause errors in transmission through overuse of the bandwidth. The FCC allocated a block of spectrum frequencies in 1999 dedicated to V2V communications that has so far largely gone unused. V2V and V2X technology is being deployed slowly and will not have a notable impact on the auto industry until more cars have it, enabling them to share information. In the United States, radio frequency is regulated by the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

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