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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Federal Communications Commission voted Wednesday to divvy up a swath of auto safety airwaves so a portion can be used for WiFi, over the objections of the Department of Transportation.

Why it matters: The FCC argues the change will lead to better WiFi services for Americans while still preserving some airwaves for auto safety communications, but the DOT has warned the change puts safety at risk.

Details: The FCC's plan repurposes 45 MHz of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band for WiFi, while leaving 30 MHz for auto safety communications.

  • The agency originally dedicated the full 75 MHz 20 years ago for a technology known as Dedicated Short Range Communications, but that form of vehicle-to-vehicle communications has not been widely used.
  • Instead, the FCC says the remaining spectrum designated for auto safety will support a new technology, cellular-vehicle-to-everything communications, which is backed by Ford and other auto companies.

Yes, but: The DOT has argued the transportation industry needs the entire 75 MHz for safety and the FCC risks innovation in the band by divvying it up.

What's next: Some WiFi equipment in homes and businesses may be able to take advantage of the new spectrum with software upgrades.

Go deeper: Government agencies collide over airwaves for road safety tech

Go deeper

23 hours ago - Economy & Business

Local news trade groups bid Ajit Pai farewell

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Local news groups will miss Ajit Pai when he leaves his post as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on January 20.

Why it matters: Despite the fact that the Trump administration broadly was seen as having a hostile view towards the press, Pai was considered by several trade groups as a loyal supporter of local news.

1 hour ago - Sports

The end of COVID’s grip on sports may be in sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Packed stadiums and a more normal fan experience could return by late 2021, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said yesterday.

Why it matters: If Fauci's prediction comes true, it could save countless programs from going extinct next year.

Trump's 2024 begins

Trump speaking to reporters in the White House on Thanksgiving. Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump is likely to announce he'll run again in 2024, perhaps before this term even ends, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Trump has already set in motion two important strategies to stay relevant and freeze out other Republican rivals.