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ATSSA endorses Auto Alliance’s commitment to preserve bands of spectrum for transportation safety

ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner sent letters to Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao this week strongly endorsing the Alliance for Automotive Innovation’s letter committing to fully utilize the bands of spectrum allocated for transportation safety.

“The commitment undertaken by the Auto Innovators reflects a watershed moment for roadway safety. This letter demonstrates a unified industry committing substantial resources and support for Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X). This approach should dispel any notion that the industry will not deploy V2X or that the Safety Spectrum will not be used,” Tetschner wrote.

“The bands of spectrum allocated for transportation safety has and will continue to make an impact on roadway safety. Some studies suggest that up to 94% of the vehicle crashes occur because of human behavior, which includes speeding and distracted driving. In the future, as automated vehicles penetrate the marketplace, these vehicles will also communicate utilizing the spectrum to save even more lives.  The deployment of these types of technologies takes time, and more time is needed to allow these technologies to fully utilize the Safety Spectrum to save lives."

In December, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously to look at reallocating the 5.9 GHz band of spectrum—a wireless band commonly referred to as the “safety spectrum,” which was set aside in 1999 for traffic-safety-related purposes.

The FCC’s proposal would open 45 out of 75 megahertz of this spectrum to “unlicensed uses” such as WiFi hotspots and other expansions of wireless broadband services. The upper 30 megahertz would remain reserved for transportation safety uses.

ATSSA, AASHTO, the Defense Department and the Alliance for Automotive Innovation (Auto Alliance) are among the groups opposing the FCC’s plan.

“Vehicle-to-everything (“V2X”) communication technologies promise to deliver significant safety and societal benefits to the American public, including reducing automotive crashes and fatalities and producing economic, environmental, and transportation efficiencies,” Auto Alliance President & CEO John Bozella said in a letter Thursday to Pai and Chao. “Recognizing the opportunity for these benefits, automotive manufacturers have already deployed or announced deployments utilizing the 5.9 GHz Safety Spectrum band in the United States (U.S.) and around the world.”

The Auto Alliance also issued a statement on Thursday outlining its position.

In his letter, Tetschner a highlighted the “significant investment by both the private industry as well as taxpayer dollars. According to the USDOT, there is currently over $1.5 billion in taxpayer-funded investments in over 25 states with substantial V2X deployments. This fact, combined with the Auto Innovators’ commitment to deploying 5 million radios, ensures that the network will realize the maximum safety benefits of V2X if the FCC assures that all 75MHz of Safety Spectrum will be maintained for transportation safety and takes action to permit cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X).”

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