DSRC Licensing

SPAT Challenge

Recommended Practices for DSRC Licensing and Spectrum Management

This summary document is largely based on content presented in the following Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) report, which covers the presented information in greater detail:

A Guide for Management, Regulation, Deployment, and Administration for a Connected Vehicle Environment

Final Report —December 2015 FHWA-JPO-16-267  www.its.dot.gov/index.htm

Direct link to the document: https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/3577/dot_3577_DS1.pdf

The goal of this summary document is to make DSRC licensing requirements transparent and best practices accessible to any organization seeking to deploy Connected Vehicle Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) Roadside Units (RSU) that support vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications.

Understanding DSRC: For DSRC-based Connected Vehicle applications, the mobile service allocation is limited to Dedicated Short Range Communications Service (DSRCS) systems operating in the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) radio service communications frequency band as defined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 47 Parts 90 and 95 in the United States. The DSRC service operates in the 5850 – 5925 MHz band (the 5.9 GHz band), and coexists as a primary use along with other Federal users authorized by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), as well as with a number of commercial satellite operators.

Use of the spectrum: Other 5.9 GHz DSRC users have transmitters deployed in relatively distant and isolated areas with respect to the most trafficked roadway networks. In some cases, however, deployments may be near outer suburban and rural corridors. This document recommends a process for coordinating with these users to reduce interference.

Spectrum coordination: Coordinating with other DSRC roadside users is an important ongoing management task for any agency using DSRC. In field deployments, adapting the design, siting, placement, location, power, antenna, and other elements that maximize performance and avoid interference of DSRC roadside units will be necessary.

Responsibilities: Responsibilities for agency’s which plan to deploy RSUs include reviewing FCC service rules, regulations, and technical requirements; field deployment and planning; licensing administration and ongoing management activities. See the chart below which outlines responsibilities for the deployment, commissioning and monitoring of DSRC systems.

High Level Management Responsibilities for DSRC

Deployment & Commissioning Tasks
  • Site Selection, Deployment Design, and Service Planning

  • Procurement and Equipment /Other Certifications

  • FCC Licensing and Site Registration

  • Coordination with Existing Federal and non-Federal Co-Primary Users (e.g. Fixed Satellite)

  • Radio Frequency Analysis and Survey of "Unlicensed" Systems (e.g. Wi-Fi)

  • Revisions to Design and Service Planning

  • RSU Site Installation

  • Security Credentialing and Service/Application Commissioning

Monitoring/Remediation & Optimization Tasks
  • Service Channel/ Application Configuration Updates and Optimization

  • Security Credential Updates

  • Ongoing Coordination with New Primary Users

  • Ongoing Coordination with New DSRC RSU Sites/Service Providers

  • Updates to Radio Frequency Analysis Addressing New Interference

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Licensing: Spectrum permits must be obtained prior to operating an RSU. Note that many jurisdictions have an office or assigned staff that manage radio licensing for the entire government entity, not just the transportation agency, which agencies have found to be very helpful to this process. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) maintains a list of radio frequency coordinators at the following website that could help in identifying the appropriate agency point of contact: http://aashto.radiosoft.com/Pages/statecoord.html.

FCC licensing consists of the three-step process presented below. Agencies should plan to allow several months to obtain an FCC permit. The Florida DOT estimates the actual amount of time spent waiting for approval of all applications, modifications, and registrations to be about 30 days. Additional time could be required if existing licenses in the geographic area have the potential to be in conflict with one another.

  1. Apply for a FCC Registration Number (FRN) through the FCC's COmmission REgistration System (CORES). The FRN establishes personal registration login information, and the online process requires organization and contact information such as the applicant’s name, address, and Employer Identification Number (EIN). To identify individuals within a transportation agency or authority who already have an FRN, search the CORES website by entity for an associated FRN and related contact information: https://apps.fcc.gov/coresWeb/publicHome.do.
  2. Apply for Non-Exclusive Geographic-Area Licensing based on the public or private entity’s legal jurisdictional area of operations for authorization to operate in all channels in the 5.9 GHz band. Licenses will be granted for a term of 10 years and may be renewed. This step requires completion of FCC Form 601 using the FRN and Schedule D16.
  3. Registration of Individual RSU Sites requires information regarding the make and model of the RSU; mounting latitude, longitude, and height, as well as site elevation; channels; and support structure type to be entered into the FCC online database under the geographic-area license. Registration for each RSU location requires a separate application. However, registrations for multiple sites may be submitted simultaneously, which may reduce the total time to receive the approvals needed for deployment. As the number of locations increases, the amount of time required for completing the applications and obtaining FCC approval is likely to increase. Authority to operate an RSU begins after the FCC screens the filing and posts the registration in the licensing database. Electronically-filed registrations will be processed within one business day unless the proposed RSU site requires additional coordination due to proximity to a U.S. military radar site, which will delay processing. This step requires completion of FCC Form 601 and Schedule M to register the RSU and FCC Form 601 and Schedule K to certify construction of the RSU.

Additional information for registering an RSU and filing an application is listed on the FCC DSRC Service website at: http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.htm?job=licensing&id=dedicated_src.

Referenced FCC forms can be found at: https://transition.fcc.gov/Forms/Form601/601MainForm_ScheduleA.pdf.

Equipment Certification: FCC requires all transponders, transmitters, and transceivers associated with either RSUs or OBUs and used in the 5.9 GHz band to be certified. Entities seeking to deploy RSUs must work with RSU vendors to ensure that devices are certified. The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) DSRC RSU Specification version 4.1 requires compliance with FCC CFR Title 47 Parts 0, 1, 2, 15, 90, and 95 in order for the RSU to be certified. A lesson learned from the Florida DOT is that a vendor must have separate letters from the FCC to demonstrate compliance of their RSUs and OBUs.

Site Installation and Notice: In many cases, the FCC requires registration prior to construction or installation. DSRC licensees have 12 months to install and begin operating a registered RSU. In addition, licensees are required to file a notice of construction with the FCC for each registered site. RSU site priority attaches to prior registered sites that have been fully constructed within the requisite 12-month construction period. If a licensee fails to provide notice of construction to the FCC for a registered site within the 12-month construction period, the site registration will be placed in “Termination Pending” status and will be terminated automatically if the licensee does not file a timely petition for reconsideration. Moreover, only DSRC equipment that has an FCC equipment certification pursuant to the FCC’s rules can be deployed and the license applicant must provide the DSRC manufacturer’s details as required for licensing and registration.