FCC to Vote to on Repurposing the 5.9 GHz Spectrum for expanded WiFi Operations and Automotive Safety

By Katie McAuliffe

WASHINGTON – Yesterday FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the Commission will vote on new rules at their November meeting to repurpose 5.9 GHz spectrum to allocate additional spectrum for use by unlicensed devices like WiFi.  

If the rules were approved by the Commission, the lower 45 MHz (5.850–5.925 GHz) of the spectrum would made available for unlicensed uses such as WiFi and the transitioning the upper 30 MHz portion (5.895 GHz – 5.925 GHz) from outdated dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) to more modern Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X). 

In an online event today hosted by the Open Technology Institute, The International Center for Law and Economics, and WIFIFORWARD, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai stressed the need for increased WiFi capacity stating that: 

WiFi is incredibly important to the student studying and to the patient who is receiving telehealth services from their homes. 

Earlier this year the FCC gave wireless ISP’s temporary access to the 5.9 spectrum to meet the increase of demand for broadband in rural areas. This temporary deployment was seen as a success which has led to the action that the Commission will be taking in November.  

Repurposing the 5.9 GHz for WiFi technologies could give consumers gigabit speeds that would enable quality connections for devices and reduce crowding on existing WiFI signal overcrowding.