FCC, State Department engage with Canadian, Mexican counterparts on spectrum

The FCC along with the U.S. Department of State have launched talks with their Mexican and Canadian counterparts on spectrum issues that must be settled so that the agency can achieve a better designed incentive auction and TV spectrum repack to free up spectrum for wireless broadband use, the FCC said April 12.

Working under the auspices of the U.S.-Canada Radio Technical Liaison Committee (RTLC) and U.S.-Mexico High-Level Consultative Commission on Telecommunications (HLCC), the FCC and the State Department have already conducted several teleconferences over the past month with Canadian authorities on the matter.

Multiple U.S. Congressional delegations from border states have written the FCC over the past several months to express their concern that TV stations in their states may be difficult to repack because of existing spectrum agreements with Canada and Mexico. They also have emphasized to the agency that they do not wish to see constituents in their states who rely on OTA TV lose coverage as a result of the repack.

“The U.S. has always had collegial and effective working relationships with our spectrum partners in Canada and Mexico,” said Gary Epstein, Chair of the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force. “Spectrum coordination with our neighbors to the north and south is a key component to the commission’s spectrum management mandate.”

A statement on the FCC website disclosing the ongoing work said this approach has a history of producing “mutually beneficial understandings on efficient, interference-free use of the spectrum” in border areas.

“The Commission expects these consultations will ultimately lead to a better-designed and more successful incentive auction, and will create opportunities for greater spectrum efficiency and band harmonization across North America,” the statement said.