FCC and Industry Canada Hammer Out Border Spectrum-Sharing Agreement

WASHINGTON – The Federal Communications Commission and Industry Canada have agreed on three interim spectrum-sharing arrangements covering three types of wireless communications operations along the U.S.-Canada border. The arrangements govern various spectrum bands involving air-to-ground communications, fixed and specialized mobile radio services.

In the way of fixed services, the FCC, the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Industry Canada struck a sharing agreement governing 71-76, 81-86 and 94.1-95 GHz intended to facilitate deployment of fixed services within the border area. Such services include backhaul for mobile broadband networks, high-speed wireless local area networks and broadband Internet access over high bandwidth point-to-point links.

At 454.6625-454.9875 MHz and 459.6625-459.9875 MHz a Statement of Intent allows for creation of a nationwide digital system covering the sharing and coordination of spectrum for general aviation air-to-ground services. It provides for sharing of spectrum when operations are located within distances ranging from roughly 300 to 360 miles of the common border.

With regard to specialized mobile radio services at 896-901 and 935-940 MHz, the new arrangement governs the sharing and coordination of within roughly 60 miles of the common border and simplifies the criteria for permitting secondary users in the band. This is intended to enable more efficient use of the spectrum while protecting primary users. This particular agreement, “Arrangement U,” may become part of a larger treaty or replacement agreement governing services operating above 30 MHz, the operational provisions of Arrangement U will be applied on an interim basis pending further review by legal officers, the FCC said.