Changes to 4.9 Ghz Spectrum Access and Authorization – What You Need to Know

The 4.9 GHz spectrum was originally designated for public safety use in 2002, with minimal cost-free frequency coordination provided to regional planning committees. The DOTs currently use this short range, broadband 4.9 GHz broadband spectrum for various applications, including; but not limited to, ITS video transport, and connected and automated vehicle (CAV) implementation. The 4.9 GHz Spectrum is a platform for providing real-time information to our traveling public, public safety entities through video streams that would be cost-prohibitive using other broadband technologies or contiguous radio spectrum not specifically set aside by the FCC for this purpose. This spectrum is ideally suited for point-to-point broadband microwave paths with a usable operations range of approximately 15-miles but can be also operated in point-to-multipoint configuration that makes it ideal for last mile communications connectivity for facilities and intelligent transportation system (ITS) devices. In the future, with the advancement of Advanced Air Mobility in the Transportation sector, 4.9 GHz may play a vital safety role with detect and avoid, as well as command and control for the National Air Space (NAS). In May 2020 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted by rule expanding the shared use of 4.9 GHz (4940-4990 MHz) radio spectrum to commercial applications. Newly adopted rule(s) require each State to assign one (1) designated “State Band Manager” (State Lessor) sole statewide license holder to coordinate operations among grandfathered public safety licensees and would-be 4.9 GHz lessees. The State Band Manager will have the sole authority to lease the Spectrum within their State’s jurisdiction. Although the FCC has recently issued a “Stay” order (WP Docket No. 07-100, dated May 27, 2021) for its proposed rule change, the stay order may be lifted at any time. The adopted rule change and stay affects all state DOTs who are incumbent licensees or are planning to acquire and utilize the 4.9 GHz spectrum. New and modified use of existing 4.9 GHz connected transportation networks is not allowed and future access and new authorizations is uncertain. Further, state DOTs must be prepared to engage in the processes of selecting a State Band Manager and leasing of the spectrum. The objective of this research is to provide guidance to states regarding all aspects of the state band manager’s responsibilities and operations—especially as they relate to public safety and the role of state DOTs.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $250000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 23-28

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Hartell, Ann

  • Start Date: 20211101
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01784991
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 23-28
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Oct 18 2021 3:30PM