An anonymous reader quotes a report from Are Technica: The Federal Communications Commission today voted to add 45MHz of spectrum to Wi-Fi in a slightly controversial decision that takes the spectrum away from a little-used automobile-safety technology. The spectrum from 5.850GHz to 5.925GHz has, for about 20 years, been set aside for Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC), a vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications service that’s supposed to warn drivers of dangers on the road. But as FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today said, “99.9943 percent of the 274 million registered vehicles on the road in the United States still don’t have DSRC on-board units.” Only 15,506 vehicles have been equipped with the technology, he said. In today’s decision, the FCC split the spectrum band and reallocated part of it to Wi-Fi and part of it to a newer vehicle technology. The lower 45MHz from 5.850GHz to 5.895GHz will be allocated to Wi-Fi and other unlicensed services. “This 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 45MHz made available today, will support cutting-edge broadband applications,” the FCC said. “These high-throughput channels — up to 160 megahertz wide — will enable gigabit Wi-Fi connectivity for schools, hospitals, small businesses, and other consumers.” “Full-power indoor unlicensed operations” are authorized immediately, while “outdoor unlicensed use” will be allowed “on a coordinated basis under certain circumstances,” the FCC said. The FCC ordered DSRC services to vacate the lower 45MHz within one year. The other 30MHz currently allocated to DSRC is being set aside for a newer vehicle-safety technology called Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X). “Today’s action therefore begins the transition away from DSRC services — which are incompatible with C-V2X — to hasten the actual deployment of ITS [Intelligent Transportation Systems] services that will improve automotive safety,” the FCC said. The FCC still has to finalize technical rules for outdoor unlicensed operations on the lower 45MHz and for how to transition the upper 30MHz from DSRC to C-V2X. Freeing up 45MHz “will supersize Wi-Fi, a technology so many of us are relying on like never before,” said FCC Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel. Meanwhile, FCC Democrat Geoffrey Starks called the spectrum reassignment an important step toward reducing congestion “and ensuring that we realize the full potential of our broadband connections.” In addition to improving home Wi-Fi, the extra 45MHz will benefit public Wi-Fi networks that are relied upon by many people without good Internet access at home, he said.

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