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Blog Posts by Mindel DeLaTorre

International Coordination with Canada for a Successful Incentive Auction

August 14, 2015 - 12:42 PM

Today we are pleased to announce that we concluded another critical step in our efforts to harmonize our TV and wireless spectrum bands with Canada in preparation for the 2016 Incentive Auction.  This follows the similar results we reached with Mexico last month.  

FCC and Industry Canada staff have finalized a Statement of Intent (SOI) setting forth a framework and timeline for repurposing TV spectrum for mobile broadband on both sides of the border.  This came about in conjunction with Industry Canada issuing its Decision on repurposing the 600 MHz Band.

As part of the Decision, Industry Canadawill adopt the same 600 MHz Band Plan that the FCC adopted last year.  Industry Canada and the FCC will jointly repack TV stations on the same timetable.  Joint repacking will produce significantly increased benefits and a better result for both countries, making more broadband spectrum available than if each country proceeded independently.        

The SOI significantly reduces potential interference to future wireless operations in the border region. That means more “clean” spectrum to meet the growing consumer demand for mobile broadband in both countries.  By giving incentive auction participants the confidence that border markets will face less potential interference from Canadian broadcast stations, the SOI will promote more competitive bidding for licenses along the border and in turn encourage more U.S. broadcasters to participate in the auction.

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International Cooperation with Mexico for a Successful Incentive Auction

July 24, 2015 - 03:35 PM

Coordinating with Mexico and Canada to harmonize our TV and wireless spectrum bands is a critical component of meeting the Commission’s goals for the Incentive Auction. We are thrilled to be able to report some exciting progress on this front.

Last week, the Mexican communications regulator, the Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (IFT), confirmed through an exchange of technical coordination letters with the FCC that our two agencies intend to follow common guidelines for repacking TV stations that will clear 600 MHz spectrum for mobile broadband use in both countries.

Last year, Mexico announced its plan to relocate all of its television stations below channel 37, and this exchange of letters outlines the procedures by which we will work together to help advance the ongoing FCC and IFT spectrum reconfiguration process.  They also describe the procedures by which the two agencies intend to help advance both Mexico’s analog-to-digital transition and the ongoing FCC and IFT spectrum reconfiguration process. 

Taken together, these steps are another milestone on the road to a successful Incentive Auction.  Many thanks to our counterparts at IFT for their hard work and cooperate efforts to reach this point.


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Reaffirming Cross-Border Relations

by Mindel DeLaTorre, International Bureau Chief
June 19, 2015 - 12:13 PM

Earlier this month, I traveled to Mexico as part of a U.S. Government delegation – including the FCC and Departments of State and Commerce – attending the first high-level spectrum discussion since Mexico established the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT). We were warmly welcomed by IFT, the Secretariat of Communications and Transport and the Secretariat of Foreign Relations.

We traveled to Mexico to advance ongoing staff discussions on important telecommunications and cross-border spectrum coordination issues and further strengthen the bilateral relationship between both countries on these issues. From my perspective, both delegations were very pleased with the outcome of these discussions. (IFT's take on these discussions)

Specifically, we 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. PTC systems are intended to reduce the risk of rail accidents by enabling real-time information sharing between trains, rail wayside devices, and control centers. PTC technology is designed to automatically slow or stop a train in order to avoid a collision or derailment.

On 800 MHz, which is a band the FCC is reconfiguring for public safety and first responder radio communication, we agreed to a roadmap accelerating the reconfiguration process along the common border. 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.

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Hosting a New Generation of Leaders at the FCC

by Mindel DeLaTorre, Chief, International Bureau
July 18, 2012 - 02:42 PM

On July 12, 2012, the FCC hosted a program for TechGirls, a U.S. Department of State initiative sponsoring an international exchange program designed to empower young girls to pursue careers in the science and technology sectors.

The FCC hosted an impressive group of 25 young women between the ages of 15-17 from eight Middle Eastern and Northern African (MENA) countries, including, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia and Yemen. All of the girls went through a rigorous application process and those who were selected are truly outstanding. At their young age, many have already taken robotics courses as well as computer classes.

While they were unified in their intelligence and capabilities, they were as unique as one would expect – some love sports, some love reading, writing and music, others love drama and art, and some even like fashion and shopping. Some were funny and some were earnest, but all were incredibly smart. Ideas just tumbled out of them.

Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel talked about their careers with the TechGirls – and were bombarded with questions about how to achieve similar success in their own lives. These young women were interested in subjects from across the science and information communications technology fields, from engineering to medicine, physics to app development. A few discussed establishing their own NGOs. They wanted to know how professional women balance work and family, how women can be successful in a male-dominated field, and how they can be sure that the choice they make is the right one. It was a lively conversation and those of us with long-time careers learned a lot from this younger generation!

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Haiti's Earthquake: One Year After

by Mindel DeLaTorre, Chief of the International Bureau
January 18, 2011 - 01:40 PM

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:98:height=98,width=70]]It’s one year after the devastating earthquake in Haiti and we at the FCC, like many other organizations that have worked to help with the recovery, look back and to the future to see what awaits the country.  International organizations, including the UN, agree that much remains to be done to help Haiti’s reconstruction.  Haiti is still hurting as a result of a natural disaster that, according to new estimates recently announced by the Haitian Prime Minister, killed more than 300,000 people and affected an estimated 3 million -- a third of Haiti’s population. 

Right after the earthquake, Haitians, many of whom struggled to obtain basic services even before the tragedy, became almost totally deprived of the ability to communicate with emergency relief services, relatives, friends and the rest of the world.  Restoring of telecommunications services, however, went relatively quickly and played a major role in rescue efforts after the earthquake.  Mobile phones proved very useful in helping find earthquake victims, and volunteers developed mobile apps to help navigate through the numerous dirt roads and alleyways in Port-au-Prince.  Telecommunications will also play a large role in Haiti’s ability to advance in the reconstruction of the country and as an aid in providing health-related and other basic services to the Haitian people.

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Emergencies Abroad: What Do You Dial?

December 1, 2010 - 02:58 PM


If you're traveling in Europe and suddenly you need to make an emergency call - what do you do? Dial "112." Don't call 911 as you would in the United States; that number doesn't work in Europe. Dialing 112 from any country in the European Union (EU) will connect you to emergency services, such as police, fire, and ambulance services. (See the list of European Union member countries.) Dialing 112 could be a life-saver and is completely free. You can dial 112 from any mobile phone, landline, or payphone. In most EU countries, the operator will speak both the local language and English (you can find country specific details).

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Welcome to WISENET

by Mindel DeLaTorre, Chief of the International Bureau
October 5, 2010 - 05:04 PM

(Part of the ongoing WISENET Series)

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:98:height=100,width=71]]As we open WISENET, I am pleased to welcome everyone to this experimental site designed to bring women in ICT together to share their professional experiences.  As I have described the site to women all over the world, the response has been overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. When I wrote to Minister Jasna Matic from Serbia, she was delighted that we were starting WISENET as she sees it as a complement to her program to promote careers for young women in ICT, an international “Girls’s Day/Girls in ICT” program to give girls an opportunity to explore ICT professions. This was the first time I had heard of this program and it is exactly the kind of "networking" and "information sharing" that we hope WISENET will engender.  Clearly, given the response to the pre-launch of WISENET, there is a need for just such a site. This is an opportunity for all of us to make it as successful as we can, so please do join us and participate. And thanks so much to those of you who have already responded with your ideas for WISENET.  I'm at the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico, and I'm looking forward to introducing WISENET to an even broader audience. I'll send an update from the Plenipot.

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WISENET coming soon! Participate in the Women in ICT's Shared Experience Network

by Mindel DeLaTorre, Chief of the International Bureau
September 21, 2010 - 02:58 PM

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:98:height=100,width=71]]Very soon, the FCC’s International Bureau will launch a new section of called “Women in ICT’s Shared Excellence Network” (WISENET).  The site is an international online community of women in information, communications, and technology.  Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Meredith Baker will kick off the discussions.

WISENET will be a space for women in ICT from around the world to share views and professional information, and keep in touch with each others’ work and accomplishments. Through WISENET, not only will we be able to stay informed about each other’s professional lives, but we also will have access to resources and referrals we can all use as we face common challenges.  To encourage sharing, we envision a website which will host information that participants contribute.  This will include professional biographical information, as well as other ICT-related input. 

If you are interested in participating, please send to

  1. Your photo, name, professional title, organization, city, and country, as you wish it to appear on the website.
  2. A short professional bio of less than 100 words.
  3. Links to your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social networking sites.

Also, we encourage you to send in:

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Haitian Art and the Learning Power of Information and Communications Technologies

by Mindel DeLaTorre, Chief of the International Bureau
August 6, 2010 - 04:48 PM

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:98:height=100,width=70]]Recently, I visited an art exhibit in Washington, D.C. featuring the works of Haitian children.  If you live nearby or are coming to the capital for a visit, I encourage you to visit the exhibit. It’s called the “Healing Power of Art: Works of Art by Haitian Children After the Earthquake.” (The physical exhibit is at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African Art, but you can also view the pictures on-line.

The artwork is mostly colorful, though especially the early pieces have some dark hues, undoubtedly reflecting the feelings of loss, fright, and sadness that hundreds of thousands of young Haitian children have experienced. At the exhibit, I saw in the children’s pictures some of the same things I’d seen in Haiti in January – images of crooked buildings, collapsed houses, helicopters overhead, dangling wires, a U.S. Navy ship in the port -- and some signs of hope like yellow suns. 


The earthquake took a heavy toll on schoolchildren and all elements of education in Haiti.  The exhibit noted that, on January 12, 4,000 Haitian children died while in the classroom, many others died elsewhere, and 500 teachers were killed. The earthquake destroyed 90 percent of the school infrastructure and now 1.2 million children are out of school.

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Six Months Later: Challenges Continue and Communications Services are Key to Haiti's Future

by Mindel DeLaTorre, Chief of the International Bureau
July 12, 2010 - 07:41 PM

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:98:height=98,width=70]]Today, six months since the devastating January 12th earthquake in Haiti,   our hearts are with our neighbors in Haiti.  I am picturing many of the people I met in Haiti when I participated in the FCC’s communications assessment team there after the earthquake – from the government officials to the radio and TV broadcasters who were making the most of very little to the young boy delighted by a small ball.

The country has now moved from the initial recovery phase to reconstruction.  And yet, every day, our counterparts continue to be forced to work with limited resources and to strive against daunting challenges.

We at the FCC remain committed to helping Haiti improve its communications framework.  Communications services are key to Haiti's future.  As Haiti implements its reconstruction plans, including new "growth poles" of population centers, a diversity of competitive communications services will be critical for successful rebuilding of all sectors.  Communications services will fuel the economy and facilitate delivery of education, health care, and government services to new communities.  Whether through narrowband or broadband applications, communications and information technologies will drive the use of new media, mobile banking, and other applications that are important for both day-to-day life and long-term growth.

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