The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has a key role to play in driving the development of connected and automated vehicles (“CAV”) technology. As we explained in a recent CAV IoT Update, the FCC has been studying the risks associated with specific CAV technologies that could provide unique channels for potential cyberattacks. This post examines the debate over spectrum allocation for CAV technologies.

Why the FCC Matters to Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Technology

The FCC makes critical decisions about what portions of the radio spectrum will be available for various fifth-generation (“5G”) and other new wireless services, including CAV technologies. Those decisions are part of the FCC’s authority to administer spectrum for use by states, local governments, commercial businesses, and consumers. While the FCC at one time had designated a specific band of spectrum, the 5.9 GHz band for vehicle-to-vehicle (“V2V”) communications, a debate recently was reignited over the future of that band and the best way of enabling spectrum for CAV technologies and for the broader range of next-generation technologies that will be available with deployment of 5G. Although the 5.9 GHz band is not the only portion of the spectrum that enables CAV technologies, it has attracted significant interest from, and debate among, automakers, wireless providers, chip manufacturers, WiFi advocates and others. These stakeholders are debating whether having one band dedicated to CAV is the most efficient and effective means of meeting demands in this country for spectrum access—demands that the recent Presidential Memorandum on national spectrum policy described as “never . . . greater than today, with the advent of autonomous vehicles and precision agriculture, the expansion of commercial space operations, and the burgeoning Internet of Things.”


Continue Reading IoT Update: Navigating the Course of Spectrum for Connected and Automated Vehicle Technologies

Last week, Covington dispatched a team of connected and automated vehicles (“CAV”) practitioners to participate in the Mcity Congress, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Lawyers from our Technology and IP Transactions, Public Policy, Product Safety and Liability, and Insurance practice groups presented a series of observations and insights around mitigating liability in the CAV industry, and we saw first-hand what’s happening at the cutting edge of CAV technology.
Continue Reading IoT Update: Who’s at the Wheel? Connected and Automated Vehicles Stakeholders Weigh In from the Mcity Congress

In exchange for a stay of the proceedings in both United States v. California and American Cable Association v. Becerra, California has agreed not to enforce its new net neutrality law, SB 822, pending the resolution of Mozilla Corp. v. FCC, the lawsuit challenging the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order (“Order”).  The Order had repealed Obama-era net neutrality rules.  SB 822, which we previously discussed here, was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2019, and contains the most stringent net neutrality requirements of any state.  When the law was passed on September 30, the U.S. Department of Justice immediately sued California, arguing it was preempted by the FCC’s Order.

Continue Reading Net Neutrality Update: California and the United States Agree to Stay Further Proceedings Pending Review of FCC Order

On the 10th October 2018, BEREC (the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) launched its public consultation on the ‘Data Economy’. This comes at a time when different regulators are increasingly discussing the importance of big data, including the opportunities and risks that it brings about, how these may evolve, and how (and increasingly who should take the responsibility) to regulate. While the data protection and competition authorities have so far been most vocal in this deepening regulatory debate, the opening of this consultation represents a clear and decisive move by European telecom regulators to ‘throw their hat’ into the ring and get included in the discussion – and potentially future regulation – of Europe’s data economy.

All interested stakeholders, including public organisations, industry actors, consumers, associations, academics, financial advisers, and other stakeholders with expertise or interest in the data economy are strongly encouraged to have their say. BEREC’s consultation video can be accessed here, and the consultation is open until 21 November 2018.


Continue Reading IoT Update: BEREC launches public consultation on the ‘Data Economy’

On September 30, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to apply net neutrality rules to Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) operating in that state.  California is not the first state to enact legislation on net neutrality, but its bill contains the most stringent requirements yet.  The Trump Administration and multiple ISPs have sued to prevent the new law from going into effect, arguing that it conflicts with federal law.  The first hearing on the legal challenge will take place on November 14.

Continue Reading California Adopts Net Neutrality Law; Court Hearing Scheduled for Nov. 14

5G deployment and availability will greatly expand and enhance the Internet of Things (IoT). As we explored in a prior post, apart from spectrum availability, one of the other primary keys to promoting 5G development is increased investment in both wireless and wireline infrastructure. Without the necessary infrastructure (e.g. small cells, fiber backhaul) to support advanced 5G offerings, nascent IoT technologies will be inhibited by ever-increasing capacity demands that put strains on the existing infrastructure.

On September 26, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to approve a Declaratory Ruling and Third Report and Order (Order) designed to encourage and facilitate the investment necessary to deploy infrastructure to meet the demands of 5G networks. As the FCC explained in the Order, 5G is so important because it can “enable increased competition for a range of services—including broadband—support new healthcare and Internet of Things applications, speed the transition to life-saving connected car technologies, and create jobs.”
Continue Reading IoT Update: FCC Efforts to Encourage 5G Infrastructure Investment

On Friday August 24, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register: The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks (“Proposed Rule”).  83 Fed. Reg. 42817.

The long-anticipated rulemaking has garnered media attention for its proposed measures to indefinitely freeze fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards, and to strip California’s long-held authority under the Clean Air Act to set its own tailpipe emissions rules.  EPA’s decision to reconsider its own determination that the previous standards were appropriate as set through the year 2025 has been challenged in court by eighteen states, private parties, and environmental NGOs.

But another set of stakeholders may be interested in the rule: autonomous and connected vehicles manufacturers and parts suppliers.


Continue Reading Covington AI/IoT Update: EPA and NHTSA Seek Comment on Autonomous and Connected Vehicles

The European Commission estimates that the global market for the Internet of Things (“IoT”) will grow to 75.4 billion devices by 2023. It also estimates that the economic value of spectrum enabled services is at present worth €500 billion per year. This is expected to increase by 200% – up to €1 trillion a year by 2023 – making the availability of spectrum (needed to send and receive data) and the development of 5G technology increasingly significant.

The European Electronic Communications Code, part of the Commission’s Digital Single Market (“DSM”) Strategy, is nearing the end of the legislative process. It contains a range of safeguards aimed at European-level harmonization for 5G and spectrum management, high-speed broadband technology, and seeks to level the regulatory playing field for “Over the Top” (“OTT”) services with that of traditional telecoms services.


Continue Reading IoT Update: The European Electronic Communications Code – Developing the Future of IoT in the EU

As we explained in a prior post, 5G deployment will be a critical component to the ever-evolving Internet of Things (IoT). On April 17, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Public Notice seeking comment on the competitive bidding procedures for auctions involving spectrum in the 28GHz and 24 GHz bands. The auction of 28 GHz spectrum will begin on November 14, with the 24 GHz auction following after that. But what does this mean, and why is it important?

For those new to the world of FCC Auctions, a Comment Public Notice, such as the one just released, seeks input on the application process for the auctions and the procedures to be used while bidding. It is similar in form to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, in which the FCC seeks comments on a proposal and asks a variety of questions. After the comment and reply comment deadlines pass (May 9 and May 23, respectively), the FCC will take into consideration the input on the record. Next, the FCC will release a Procedures Public Notice, akin to an Order, that will lay out the rules that will be in force for the auction. The FCC will also announce the application windows to participate in the auction, and interested parties will apply to participate. This will all take place before the start of bidding in November.
Continue Reading Covington Internet of Things Update: The FCC Gets Ready for 5G Spectrum Auctions

The UK House of Lords Select Committee on Communications has recently opened a Public Consultation on ‘The Regulation of the Internet’, with submissions being accepted until Friday 11 May. The Call for Evidence can be accessed here.

The nine questions posed are relatively broad in scope, including: whether there is a need to introduce