All five FCC commissioners spoke about the vast economic potential of more airwaves dedicated to WiFi, and said not enough had happened with the V2X technology to continue to set aside so much spectrum for its exclusive use.

Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly said some opponents of the FCC plan might say the move puts vehicle safety in jeopardy or will lead to increased fatalities.

“That is pure gibberish,” O’Rielly said at the hearing. “Everyone on this dais wants our families, friends, neighbors, countrymen, and countrywomen to be safe when traveling in motor vehicles. DSRC hasn’t come anywhere close to fruition.”

Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said other countries were dedicating less than 75 MHz to V2X applications, and the 10 MHz that could be available for DSRC in the FCC plan matches what Japan is doing.

The economic value of WiFi is expected to double by 2023 to more than $1 trillion, said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican. DSRC hasn’t developed as planned, while WiFi is an economic driver that is running out of bandwidth, he said.

“WiFi is a staple of everyday life,” Pai said. “It’s the fabric that ties together all of our devices. Having more spectrum here is essential.”  

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