FCC Wifi expansion sees slight Auto Industry hold-up

Chris Burns - Feb 13, 2013
FCC Wifi expansion sees slight Auto Industry hold-up

This week the FCC’s proposal for opening up a new large bit of spectrum in the USA reserved for wifi internet having some car trouble. The auto industry – via the Transportation Society of America (ITSA) has sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission asking them to to heed their warning. Their warning, in this case, was that these new wifi networks could potentially interfere with vehicle-to-vehicle communications networks coming in the near future.

This call to action (or call to stop action, as it were), comes after FCC Chairman Julius Genachoski spoke up at CES 2013 about cracking open unlicensed spectrum for a speed boost in wireless internet across the USA. It was then that Genachowski let it be known that this move would “free up a substantial amount of spectrum for wifi to relieve wifi congestion and improve wifi speeds” across the country – conferences, airports, and homes included.

Image above via SlashGear Chevrolet Sonic post about Siri integration and other wireless-related technologies therein. Slightly different from what the future holds with car-to-car communications.

The FCC’s plan includes a clearing of 195 MHz of spectrum in the 5GHz band to be used by wifi networks exclusively. The ITSA has spoken up this week with a note that their future plans for a highly secure wireless technology connecting network-ready cars could be interfered with by the FCC’s new move. This technology would allow cars to get information about their speed, acceleration, breaking, trajectories, and destinations to allow them better knowledge on how they’ll be getting where they’re going.

Instead of asking that this wifi expansion be stopped before its started, the auto group has asked that the FCC put safeguards in place to guarantee their future networks would not be hindered in any way. If the two sets of wireless technology did cross over in one way or another, the auto industry would be on the short end of the stick. Any sign of safety being at risk in vehicles using this up and coming short-range technology would be a big boon for the whole collection of auto makers hoping to make usage widespread.

The Intelligent Transportation Society of America is made up of members such as Chrysler, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz – not to mention AAA. This should be an interesting battle (or kind, gentle, measured talk between friends) that you’ll want to follow!

[via GigaOM]

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