U.S.-Mexican Officials Report Progress in Spectrum Talks

FCC and Mexican officials have reported progress in a recent meeting that U.S. officials had with their Mexican counterparts on various spectrum issues, including realignment of the 800 megahertz band.

The officials met in Mexico last week. U.S. representatives included officials from the FCC and State and Commerce departments, while Mexican representatives included officials from Mexico’s new telecom regulator, Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT), and the Foreign Affairs and Communications and Transport ministries.

“From my perspective, both delegations were very pleased with the outcome of these discussions,” Mindel De La Torre, chief of the FCC’s International Bureau, said in a blog posting today. “On 800 MHz . we agreed to a roadmap accelerating the reconfiguration process along the common border,” she said. “The roadmap is in accordance with a Protocol signed with Mexico in 2012. It includes a process for confirming when channels are cleared in Mexico.”

Sprint Corp. and a number of members of Congress and some major public safety groups have urged the FCC and State Department to press Mexican authorities to implement the 2012 revised protocol.

Ms. De La Torre also said that U.S. and Mexican officials “agreed to work together on a revised agreement that would facilitate implementation of Positive Train Control technology in the 220-222 MHz band along the common border.”

Sprint said today that it “appreciates the Commission’s continuing efforts to accelerate the 800 MHz reconfiguration process to realize the goals of the 2012 U.S.-Mexico Protocol.”

“In addition, we are working on a joint repurposing of the 600 MHz band,” Ms. De La Torre said in her blog posting. “IFT and the FCC have developed a technical plan that will enable IFT to complete its DTV transition and DTV auction initiatives while also accommodating the FCC’s incentive auction. This plan places Mexican TV stations below channel 37 while providing additional channels for U.S. stations to use in the reorganized TV band.”

In a recent news release, IFT also reported that last week’s meetings had been productive. It said that “the two delegations discussed issues concerning the use of radio spectrum in the border between both countries for radiocommunication systems operating in the frequency bands 220-222 MHz, 406.1-420 MHz, 600 MHz, 698-806 MHz , 806-824 / 851-869 MHz, 896-901 / 935-940 MHz, 2500-2686 MHz, 3550-3650 MHz, and 5.9 GHz, as well as PCS and known as AWS.

The progress is continuing example of binational coordination to find solutions to the challenges that arise in the operation of telecommunications services and broadcasting along the common border.”

IFT also said that “the representatives of the two countries exchanged information about their positions on the various points on the agenda of the World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 of the International Telecommunication Union,” adding that “overlapping interests were found in the spectrum identification for International Mobile Telecommunication Systems [IMT] aeronautical services, [and] fixed satellite,” as well as regulatory issues related to satellite spectrum and orbit positions.- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com