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FCC: Agreement Struck With Canada on Spectrum Plan

The FCC says it has now struck a deal with Canada and Mexico setting a framework and timeline for repurposing TV spectrum for mobile broadband on the borders, moves top officials there signaled would encourage border stations to participate in the upcoming broadcast incentive auction.

The FCC had signaled last month it had a framework in place, and FCC Incentive Auction Task Force Chair Gary Epstein and International Bureau Chief Mindel DelaTorre blogged Friday that Canada and the U.S. "have finalized a Statement of Intent (SOI) setting forth that framework and timeline."

They said that as part of the framework, Canada will adopt the same 600 MHz Band plan and will repack its stations on the same timetable.  

"Joint repacking will produce significantly increased benefits and a better result for both countries, making more broadband spectrum available than if each country proceeded independently," they said. "By giving incentive auction participants the confidence that border markets will face less potential interference from Canadian broadcast stations, the SOI will promote more competitive bidding for licenses along the border and in turn encourage more U.S. broadcasters to participate in the auction."  

The National Association of Broadcasters, which has been pushing the FCC to resolve the border issues with Canada and Mexico before the auction, now scheduled to start March 29, had not comment on the announcement.