AASHTO Gains Comment Period Extension from FCC

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials requested a 90-day comment period extension from the Federal Communications Commission in regards to its notice of proposed rulemaking, which seeks to reallocate significant portions of the 5.9 gigahertz (GHz) wireless communication spectrum due to the impact of the Coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak.

[Above photo of cell tower via Wikipedia.]

“The United States is currently dealing with an extraordinary situation in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic [and] state departments of transportation are on the front lines trying to maintain current operations as well as respond to nearly hourly and daily requests from governors and other leaders for changes and exemptions to current regulations,” AASHTO said in its March 20 letter.

The FCC did grant an extension on March 25, but only for three weeks.

“We conclude that a limited 21-day extension of the reply comment deadline is warranted in order to develop the record to the fullest extent possible in this proceeding,” the agency said in its response.

AASHTO and its membership have argued repeatedly in previous letters that permitting unlicensed devices to operate within the 5.9 GHz spectrum is “wrong and misguided” and will “put future safety and mobility improvements” at risk.

“AASHTO and its member departments are very concerned about the FCC proposal to reallocate portions of the 5.9 GHz spectrum. Our members believe the decision that FCC is making will severely affect the health and safety of millions of Americans,” the organization emphasized in its latest missive to the commission.

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