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FCC Signs Spectrum Coordination Agreements with Mexico

The FCC announced two spectrum coordination agreements with Mexico that clear the way for clearing up spectrum-sharing issues along the border with Mexico. Lest broadcasters get their hopes up, they were agreement dealing with commercial wireless service and not with broadcast border issues related to incentive auction repacking.

But at least the U.S. and Mexico did sign an "expression of support" for continued spectrum coordination along the border. The announcement came following discussions with Mexican telecommunications officials at the State Department and was related to the rebanding of spectrum alotments to alleviate interference to public safety licensees in the band caused by commercial cellular licensees. 

"Apparently the FCC and State Department have been working on this accord for at least four years," said a  broadcast industry source speaking on background, "which highlights the challenges that will be facing the Commission in coordinating agreements with Canada and Mexico to accommodate repacking TV stations along the northern and southern borders."

The State Department has said such coordination continues to be an engineering challenge. An FCC official on background said the FCC is hard at work on border issues with Canada and Mexico. "As we have done in all new Commission spectrum management initiatives, we are keeping our counterparts in Canada and Mexico informed of the possibility of repurposing a portion of the TV spectrum for wireless broadband," the source said. "This dialogue is ongoing and we will continue these discussions particularly once the rulemaking is adopted.  We are also working with the State Department and Canada and Mexico to meet our treaty obligations and explore appropriate modifications that may be amenable to all."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.