U.S. and Canada Reach Border Spectrum Sharing Agreements

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Communications Commission said it has reached several spectrum-sharing arrangements with Canada. The commission and its Canadian counterpart, Industry Canada, have agreed through an exchange of letters, on 10 interim spectrum-sharing arrangements covering operations in their common border area.

These arrangements are expected to aid in the deployment of mobile broadband and improve public safety communications.

“I am pleased to conclude these important arrangements with Canada, as they are critical to preventing interference to commercial and public safety licensees in the border region.I appreciate the effort put forth by staff from the FCC, State Department and Industry Canada,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, whose last day at the commission is Friday.

Among the technical agreements is one allowing wireless broadband and high-speed Internet services to coexist along the U.S.-Canada border in the 3,650-3,700 MHz band. The agreement includes, among other things, the use of “contention-based protocols” to avoid harmful interference while sharing the spectrum more efficiently. Contention-based protocols allow multiple users to share the same spectrum by defining the events that must occur when two or more devices attempt to simultaneously access the same channel and establishing rules by which each device is provided a reasonable opportunity to operate.

The technical sharing arrangement reached on the 700 MHz band will allow public safety licensees on both sides of the border to fully implement 700 MHz narrowband systems.The arrangement reflects the coordination of the U.S. and Canadian public safety 700 MHz narrowband channel plans.

In addition, the United States and Canada have agreed upon several other spectrum sharing arrangements including Personal Communications Services; Advanced Wireless Services; public safety operations in the 4,940-4,990 MHz band; and railway communications systems.These arrangements provide coordination and sharing protocols for spectrum used for Wireless LAN, Mesh Network and Wi-Fi hotspots, fixed point-to-point/multipoint services and broadband traffic.