EU nations vote against a wi-fi-based car standard

The proposal has split the auto and tech industries into wi-fi and 5G backers

European Union's Member States voted on Thursday against the bloc executive’s proposal for a wi-fi-based car standard in a blow to its backer Volkswagen, Reuters reported, citing an EU official. According to the media's source, 21 EU nations - including Germany, France and Italy which have powerful auto industries - stood against the proposal at a meeting of EU representatives in Brussels of the bloc’s 28 Member States.

The move comes after in April MEPs endorsed the aforementioned wi-fi plan over 5G technology promoted by BMW and Qualcomm. The Wi-fi technology supporters also included Renault, Toyota, NXP, Autotalks and Kapsch TrafficCom, while 5G backers included Daimler, Ford, PSA Group, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm and Samsung.

Through the plan, the European Commission wanted to set benchmarks for internet connected cars, a market that could generate billions of euros in revenues for carmakers, telecoms operators and equipment makers, according to analysts. The issue, however, has split the auto and tech industries and triggered fierce lobbying from both sides seeking a share of a potentially lucrative market.

The Commission has defended its stance on wi-fi technology, saying it is available, unlike 5G, and would help to boost road safety. Critics, however, have said a requirement that new technologies be modified to be compatible with older technology is unrealistic and would put a brake on innovation.

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