Rare Bipartisan Letter should make the FCC realize the safety significance of the 5.9 GHz radio frequency band

Letter from T&I Democrats & Republicans OPPOSE
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Chair DeFazio, Ranking Member Graves, joined by 36 Members of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Question FCC Plans that Undermine the Development and Deployment of Safety Critical Technology

FCC proposes to use part of the 5.9 GHz(Safety spectrum) for WiFi

Secretary Chao objected to FCC that the spectrum is needed for SAFETY- FCC moved forward

Unusual Coalition of Democrats and Republicans send letter to FCC in opposition 

Chair DeFazio and Ranking Member Graves

Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Sam Graves (R-MO), and 36 Members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to raise serious concerns with the FCC’s plan to redirect more than half the 5.9 GHz spectrum band.

5.8 GHz graph

In December, the FCC proposed to reallocate more than half of the 5.9 GHz radio frequency band (or Safety Band) to unlicensed operations, such as Wi-Fi. The FCC disregarded the Secretary of Transportation (DOT) Elaine Chao’s letter to Chairman Pai, which stated,DOT has significant concerns with the Commission’s proposal, which represents a major shift in the FCC’s regulation of the 5.9 GHz Band and jeopardizes the significant transportation safety benefits that the allocation of this Band was meant to foster.” In today’s letter, Members are asking the FCC to reconsider their plan.

“The FCC’s proposal undercuts the potential to prevent many of the 37,000 traffic fatalities each year by impeding the development and deployment of safety-critical technologies,” the Members wrote in their letter to the FCC.FCC Chair Pai


It is rare in today’s politically contentious atmosphere to see such bipartisan agreement. Thirty-six Members on opposite sides of the aisle can agree with VERY little. Their collective action of writing to the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (R),  Michael O’Rielly (R), Brendan Carr (R),  Jessica Rosenworcel (D) and Geoffrey Starks  (D) signals a strong objection on safety grounds.





One would have thought that Chairman Pai might have been more attentive to the Letter from Secretary Chao. Pai was nominated by President Obama for a Republican seat on the recommendation of Sen. Mitch McConnell. Go figure? Maybe with the Senate Majority Leader’s 2020 reelection campaign in full swing, Chairman Pai will be more responsive?

Sen. McConnell and Sec. Chao







The Journal saw the merits of preserving this band of the spectrum since November 6, 2017 when Jerry Markey wrote Auctioning Aeronautical Radionavigation Spectrum Is A Major Mistake, when he wrote:


Jerry MarkeyFAA is the World leader in aviation (both commercial and general aviation) and without access to exclusive spectrum will be unable to meet worldwide, ICAO, safety standards.

SENSR is not good for the FAA nor NAS users and neither was the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1993 which took the 1390-1400 MHz band away and gave it to the unending appetite of the non-government world of instant communication.


Here is the impressive list of Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Members who signed the letter.

Bipartisan 36 signatures







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