August 14, 2015 - 12:45 pm
By Gary Epstein | Chair, Incentive Auction Task Force
Mindel De La Torre | Chief of the International Bureau

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.

SOIs are part of the normal course of coordination with our northern neighbor.  In fact, the DTV transition was based on a similar arrangement with Canada and subsequent, more detailed final arrangements.

The SOI is another critical step on the path to a successful incentive auction.  Moreover, this SOI with Industry Canada and our recent coordination with our counterparts in Mexico establish the foundation for the harmonized use of the 600 MHz band in North America that promises the benefits of economies of scale and scope to consumers in Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

We thank our counterparts at Industry Canada for their hard work in adopting these plans to successfully repurpose the 600 MHz band in the public interest.