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MEMA Responds to FCC Plans to Split the Spectrum

Date: November 20, 2019
MEMA is concerned that the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has announced plans for the Commission to vote on a proposal allowing other wireless uses on the 5.9 GHz spectrum. Traditionally, this band has been reserved for the transportation industry to allow for the implementation of new critical safety technologies. Allowing other wireless uses on the spectrum could compromise motor vehicle safety.  

This spectrum, dubbed by the industry as the Vehicle Safety Spectrum, has long been reserved for intelligent transportation systems communications, including vehicle-to-everything (V2X) and other related communications. It is critical that it remain so. The reservation of this spectrum is indispensable for future safety systems and the development of automated driving.

MEMA has long advocated that this spectrum be preserved as intended and maintained in its entirety. Vehicle safety technologies, including Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and eventually automation, are being developed to reduce fatalities. Over the long term, splitting the spectrum will severely hinder those efforts. Once the Vehicle Safety Spectrum is lost, it will be impossible to reclaim for vehicle safety purposes.

MEMA requests that the FCC refrain from finalizing any action until testing validates no harmful interference. Sharing or dividing the spectrum raises concerns as it will require the development of new testing protocols to confirm that allowing unlicensed devices does not compromise the safety as intended when the Vehicle Safety Spectrum was first envisioned. We cannot risk losing this critical capability. Additionally, reducing and narrowing the Vehicle Safety Spectrum limits future safety feature growth and capability. Interference between bands is a concern, which is why a wider band is safer.
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