CES 2016: Uber Introduces Free Wi-Fi to Cars

This week, during the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Uber and Vinli teamed up to introduce Wi-Fi enabled vehicles to some of the world’s most influential industry leaders in technology. Wi-Fi is already a critical technology for a range of everyday uses; it has the potential to revolutionize the automobile by helping to reduce both crashes and fuel consumption.

While it seems like the magical powers of Wi-Fi are infinite, it could be limited by network congestion as more products continue to connect. This means that the FCC should move swiftly to release more unlicensed spectrum for Wi-Fi and other similar technologies — so our devices keep working the way we expect!

In response to our growing use of Wi-Fi, last year, the FCC added 100 megahertz of spectrum for unlicensed technologies. And the upcoming spectrum auction will make more available. But some policymakers recognize that we need more — and fast.

Nearly two decades ago, the FCC set aside 75 megahertz of spectrum, known as the 5.9 GHz band, for vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. The technology was designed to help prevent automobile accidents and improve road safety through the Dedicated Short Range Communications Service. Because this band is so close to others already used for Wi-Fi, policymakers think it’s a prime candidate for unlicensed uses. And because unlicensed technologies share their spectrum bands, we could get better Wi-Fi without impeding any other uses of the spectrum for intelligent transportation systems.

And bonus: this idea has bipartisan support, both in Congress and at the FCC. Just this week at CES, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and Commissioner Michael O’Rielly reiterated their support for sharing this spectrum for uses like Wi-Fi. And Senators Marco Rubio and Cory Booker have twice introduced a law trying to make it happen.

We stand behind these efforts to free more spectrum for Wi-Fi and similar technologies and encourage you to add your voice to this important discussion. Sign our petition here.

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