The FCC adopted new rules for the 5.9 GHz band (5.850-5.925 GHz) to make new spectrum available for unlicensed uses, such as Wi-Fi, and improve automotive safety. Specifically, the new band plan designates the lower 45 megahertz (5.850-5.895 GHz) for unlicensed uses and the upper 30 megahertz (5.895-5.925 GHz) for enhanced automobile safety using Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology.
The FCC said the spectrum’s impact will be further amplified by the fact that it is adjacent to an existing Wi-Fi band which, when combined with the 45 megahertz made available today, will support cutting-edge broadband applications. These high-throughput channels—up to 160 megahertz wide—will enable gigabit Wi-Fi connectivity for schools, hospitals, small businesses, and other consumers. The Report and Order adopts technical rules to enable full-power indoor unlicensed operations in the lower 45 megahertz portion of the band immediately, as well as opportunities for outdoor unlicensed use on a coordinated basis under certain circumstances. Under the new rules, ITS services will be required to vacate the lower 45 megahertz of the band within one year.
The new rules also will improve automotive safety by reserving the upper 30 megahertz of the band for Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) services and designating C-V2X as the technology standard for safety-related transportation and vehicular communications. C-V2X uses cellular protocols to provide direct communications between vehicles and obstacles like other vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians, and road workers, and to receive safety information from roadside transmitters.