Court upholds FCC decision to reallocate part of 5.9 GHz band for unlicensed use, including Wi-Fi

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The DC Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday upheld the FCC’s decision to reallocate part of the 5.9 GHz band for unlicensed use — rather than the dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) for which it was originally intended. “This is part of the spectrum that in 1999 was set aside exclusively for the automotive industry to use for DSCR to improve automotive safety,” notes Fierce Wireless. “At that time, the total amount set aside was 75 megahertz.” From the report: After about 20 years, nothing ever really came out of the DSRC, and in 2020 the FCC split the 75 megahertz, making 45 megahertz available for unlicensed use with the remaining 30 megahertz for automotive safety. Specifically, the automotive security spectrum has been reallocated to Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology, a more modern technology than DSRC. The Intelligent Transportation Society of America and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials did not like the FCC’s decision and appealed, arguing that it violated the Transportation Equity Act. They also said the FCC unlawfully revoked or amended FCC licenses. But Circuit Court Judge Justin Walker said he did not violate the law and said the court disagreed with the transportation officials’ arguments ‘on all fronts’ .

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