WASHINGTON D.C. — Today, the FCC announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the 5.9 GHz band that would split the band into two uses: 45 MHz for unlicensed use, and 30 MHz for vehicle-to-vehicle use. TechFreedom’s Ian Adams issued the following statement:

Chairman Pai’s proposal would turn a failed experiment into a win-win for all Americans. 

Twenty years after the FCC allocated 75 MHz in the 5.9 GHz band to Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC), the auto industry has failed to find a use for the spectrum that produces real safety gains on the roads — and the 5.9 band remains largely unused. Meanwhile, the economic benefits of allowing unlicensed use of this spectrum could run into the tens of billions.

We applaud the FCC’s willingness to reconsider this twenty-year-old experiment in favor of paths that have more immediate consumer benefits. Releasing 45 MHz for unlicensed use, while retaining 30 MHz for vehicle communication technologies will accommodate the public interests in both innovation and safety. 

As we said earlier this year, “the FCC could craft a win-win solution in which the purpose of the ITS band (intra and inter-vehicle safety communications) is preserved and liberated from its uncertainty-producing relationship to DSRC, while still freeing up mid-band spectrum for 5G or other ubiquitous wireless networks that need additional spectrum.”


We can be reached for comment at media@techfreedom.org.

Relevant background:

  • RealClearMarkets op-ed discussing the history of the 5.9 band and potential improvements to its use.
  • Coalition letter to the FCC supporting an FCC review of the current and future uses of the 5.9GHz mid-band spectrum.
  • Panel conversation with Ian Adams, Brad Templeton, and Austin Bonner about spectrum allocation, generally, and need for spectrum in the automotive context.