April 30, 2020

NBAA is urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to continue its 20-year commitment to dedicated short-range communications (DRSC) by maintaining the 5.9 GHz band for intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and ensuring that emerging technologies like unmanned aircraft systems and urban and advanced air mobility are guaranteed uninterrupted connectivity.

The FCC in 1999 dedicated the use of 5.850-5.925 GHz for technologies that support connected and autonomous transportation. Dubbed the “safety band” by the U.S. DOT, the 5.9 GHz band has been critical to the development of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) devices that have improved transportation safety and mobility. Access to a dedicated 5.9 GHz band is also vital to NASA’s research of emerging aviation safety technologies.

The FCC is now considering a reallocation of the 5.9 GHz band that would assign more than half of the bandwidth to Wi-Fi and other unlicensed uses. Just 30 MHz of the bandwidth would be retained for use by ITS technologies.

View the FCC’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on use of the 5.850-5.925 GHz band.

DOT Secretary Elaine Chao and the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure have questioned the FCC’s plan for the 5.9 GHz band, citing the importance of a dedicated 5.9 GHz spectrum to the creation of DRSC devices and the development of cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology that would also utilize the 5.9 GHz band.

Read the committee’s letter questioning the FCC’s plan for the 5.9 GHz band. (PDF)

NBAA is concerned that a reduction in dedicated bandwidth could adversely impact the development of new aviation technologies.

“As the commission considers the use of the 5.9 GHz band, it remains important that aircraft have dedicated spectrum for V2V and V2I use. If this cannot be achieved through 5.9 GHz, an alternative band should be identified for V2V and V2I functionality,” said the NBAA in comments to the FCC’s NPRM.

“In looking at the future state of multi-modal transportation, to include emerging technologies such as unmanned aircraft systems, urban and advanced air mobility, it is important to evaluate and support the need for how connected vehicles on both the ground and in the air will communicate. Based on this need, we urge the commission, in collaboration with the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration, to ensure the continued use of the 5.9 GHz band for transportation-related communications for V2V and V2I functions for vehicles on the ground and in the air,” NBAA added.

Review NBAA’s April 27 comments to the FCC on the NPRM. (PDF)