FCC to vote to split key spectrum block between autos, Wi-Fi

FILE PHOTO: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) logo is seen before the FCC Net Neutrality hearing in Washington February 26, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Communications Commision will vote on Nov. 18 to split a key spectrum block set aside for auto safety to accommodate the burgeoning number of wireless devices, even as the Transportation Secretary warned that doing so could lead to “thousands more deaths” in traffic accidents.

The FCC will vote to finalize a plan announced last year to divide a block of the 5.9 GHz spectrum band that was reserved in 1999 for automakers to develop technology to allow vehicles to talk to each other, but has so far gone largely unused.

Automakers have opposed the split on safety grounds, while many internet providers say the spectrum is essential to accommodate growing wireless use.

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