June 19, 2015 - 12:15 pm
By Mindel De La Torre | Chief of the International Bureau

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.

In addition, we are working on a joint repurposing of the 600 MHz band. IFT and the FCC have developed a technical plan that will enable IFT to complete its DTV transition and DTV auction initiatives while also accommodating the FCC's incentive auction. This plan places Mexican TV stations below channel 37 while providing additional channels for U.S. stations to use in the reorganized TV band.

I look forward to continuing these discussions with our Mexican colleagues, and am eager to see the results of our work and the deployment of advanced technology and services to the mutual benefit of citizens in both countries.