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FCC makes deal for broadband on national borders

August 4, 2011

The FCC announced major spectrum-sharing arrangements with Canada and Mexico this week that will enable wireless broadband service and emergency communications in border regions.

The commission also released its first national performance study of residential broadband speeds and found that cable operators delivered 93 percent of the speed advertised at peak periods from 7 to 11 p.m.

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However, the FCC has not calmed the fears of broadcasters that are concerned over the potential termination of digital television station signals along the Canadian and Mexican borders. The FCC said it is working on a response to the questions posed by Rep. John Dingell (D-MI). Dingell is concerned border issues with Canada might leave no room for television stations in the Detroit area.

Instead, the FCC instead concentrated on broadband issues this week.

The speed study found that most participating broadband providers are substantially closer to advertised download speeds than they were in early 2009. The providers’ DSL was a bit slower than cable and delivered an average 82 percent of download speeds. Fiber to the home actually delivered faster performance than promised — a plus 114 percent of advertised speeds.

“The international deals with Canada and Mexico will help support commercial broadband services and public safety mission-critical voice communications,” the FCC said in announcing the deals with Industry Canada and Mexico’s Secretariat of Communications and Transportation.

The United States will share a 700MHz spectrum along the border with Canada and Mexico and 800 MHz along the Canadian border. The agreements will ease the deployment of next generation wireless broadband near those borders.

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