U.S. and Mexico reach spectrum sharing agreement, public safety comms and Sprint to benefitAlex Wagner - Senior News Editor
The FCC has announced that the U.S. and Mexico have reached a spectrum-sharing agreement that's aimed to help support public safety voice communications as well as commercial broadband services along the border between the two countries. The two protocols that were signed will allow for the sharing of spectrum in both the 800MHz and 1900MHz bands along the U.S.-Mexico border. The protocol concerning the 800MHz band will aid in the completion of 800MHz rebanding that'll reduce interference for public safety groups near the border. Meanwhile, the 1900MHz protocol will allow Sprint to roll out CDMA service along the border. Sprint received this spectrum in 2004 in exchange for giving up some of its 800MHz spectrum in the area to aid in the aforementioned 800MHz rebanding.
While this may not be the most exciting spectrum-related announcement that we've heard in a while, especially for those of us not near the U.S.-Mexico border, it's good to see the two countries working together to help improve the quality of public safety communications in the area. Plus, I'm sure both Sprint and its customers along the border are pleased to hear that the Now Network can begin deploying CDMA service there thanks to this agreement. Want to read about the agreement even further? The FCC's full announcement is available below to help keep you entertained on this Saturday evening.
FCC ANNOUNCES TWO SPECTRUM-SHARING AGREEMENTS WITH MEXICO ENABLING ADVANCED PUBLIC SAFETY AND COMMERCIAL COMMUNICATIONS IN THE MEXICO BORDER AREA
Washington D.C. – Today, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski participated in high-level discussions with U.S. and Mexican telecommunications officials at the State Department where the United States signed two Protocols with Mexico for sharing spectrum in the 800 MHz and 1.9 GHz bands along the U.S.-Mexican border. The signing of these documents marks the beginning of the final phase for rebanding in the 800 MHz band across the country. These actions will help support commercial broadband services and public safety mission-critical voice communications along the U.S.-Mexico border and throughout the United States.
“These agreements with Mexico will unleash investment and benefit consumers near the borders by enabling the rollout of advanced wireless broadband service and advanced systems for critical public safety and emergency response communications,” Chairman Julius Genachowski stated. “I appreciate the commitment and dedication of agency staff and those at the State Department who made these important agreements possible.”
The United States and Mexico also signed a high-level expression of support, or “Joint Statement,” for continued coordination of spectrum along the border and cooperation on telecommunications policy issues as well as an ambitious work plan, or “Directory of Bilateral Issues,” for 2012-2014.
Specifically, the new 800 MHz Protocol: (1) allots band segments between the United States and Mexico, (2) specifies the technical parameters for operation on these band segments within 110 kilometers (68 miles) of the common border, and (3) creates a bi-national Task Force to support the transition of incumbent operators along the border to the new allotment plan.
The Protocol for 800 MHz replaces a previous agreement and paves the way for completion of 800 MHz rebanding by U.S. public safety and commercial licensees operating along the U.S.-Mexico border. The FCC ordered rebanding to alleviate interference to public safety licensees in the band caused by commercial cellular licensees.
The new Protocol for the 1.9 GHz band allows Sprint Nextel Corporation to deploy CDMA service along the border with Mexico. Sprint obtained access to the 1.9 GHz band in 2004 as compensation for vacating its spectrum holding in the lower segment of the 800 MHz band in accordance with the rebanding project.
The relevant documents are available on the International Bureau web site at http://transition.fcc.gov/ib/sand/agree/. They are also available for reference in the FCC Reference Information Center, Courtyard
Level, and 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, D.C. Copies may be purchased by calling Best Copy and Printing, Inc. at (800) 378-3160.
Contacts: Brian Marenco, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau at (202) 418-0838, Jennifer Gilsenan, International Bureau at (202) 418-0757 and Tim Maguire, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau at (202) 418-2155.
– FCC –
For more news and information about the FCC please visit: www.fcc.gov
Via Phone Scoop