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Consumer Reports reply comments to FCC on proposal to use auto safety airwaves for WiFi

In formal reply comments filed at the Federal Communications Commission, Consumer Reports writes that it continues to have serious concerns about the agency’s proposal to take a portion of the airwaves reserved for auto safety and repurpose it for WiFi.

Much has changed—indeed the world has changed—since CR’s initial comments were filed on March 9, 2020. As for this proceeding, two major developments have occurred in the intervening time. One, the FCC voted in favor of opening up 1200 MHz of spectrum in the 6 GHz band for unlicensed use, a massive boon for WiFi users and telecommunications equipment manufacturers. Two, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation pledged to deploy 5 million devices in cars and infrastructure within five years to enable the use of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications technologies, provided that the FCC maintains the full 5.9 GHz band for transportation safety and allows the use of cellular V2X within the band.

These recent developments further call into question the wisdom of the FCC’s proposal to divvy up the 5.9 GHz band to serve both auto safety and unlicensed spectrum use interests alike. Fundamentally, expanding consumer access to the internet through access to affordable WiFi is important, but that goal must come after auto safety needs are appropriately addressed. CR continues to urge the FCC not to move forward with its proceeding on the 5.9 GHz band unless and until it can, jointly with the Department of Transportation, demonstrate that its proposal or an alternative approach is sufficient to ensure the secure and effective application of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications for transportation safety purposes.

For the full comments, click here.