On April 27, 2020, Next Century Cities, New America’s Open Technology Institute, Public Knowledge, the American Library Association, and the Benton Foundation submitted reply comments supporting the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposal to reallocate 45Mhz of spectrum in the 5.9GHz band for unlicensed use. The filing highlighted the following points. 

  1. Allocating additional unlicensed spectrum for unlicensed use is crucial. It creates the first unencumbered 160Mhz channel, which is necessary to support the next generation of Wi-Fi technology. 
  2. There is no specific technical reason that vehicle to everything (V2X) technology needs to operate in the 5.9 GHz band. It can be moved to the underutilized 4.9 GHz band. 
  3. There is not sufficient unlicensed spectrum available in other spectrum bands. Automakers do not require more than 30 Mhz of spectrum to successfully deploy. 
  4. The Commission has authority under Section 316 of the Communications Act to reallocate unused 5.9 GHz spectrum capacity to another service. 

As more essential services move online the demand and reliance on Wi-Fi has increased exponentially and unlicensed spectrum can support those Wi-Fi networks. Next Century Cities will continue to urge the Commission to take steps to increase capacity for both fixed and mobile applications. Opening the 5.9 GHz band for unlicensed use would allow schools, libraries, homes, business, and health care providers new opportunities to maintain gigabit-capable Wi-Fi 6 channels. That would improve speeds for consumers as well as providing platforms for innovators and entrepreneurs to develop new technologies that take advantage of the improved capabilities. 

Click here to review the filing.