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U.S., Mexico Lay Out Border Topics

Ch. 6 and IBOC issues are among the discussion points

Mexican and U.S. officials, in discussions over shared communications issues, have laid out a plan for what they’ll talk about in the next couple of years. It includes IBOC interference and other points of interest to radio and TV broadcasters.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski has given his support to three actions coming out of meetings of administration officials on the United States-Mexico High-Level Consultative Commission on Telecommunications.

One is a joint statement about continued coordination on spectrum along the border and cooperation on communications issues of mutual interest. Another is a communications protocol to govern public safety use in the 4.9 GHz band.

Of immediate interest to broadcasters, the U.S. and Mexican governments also approved a work plan for the next couple of years that includes work on an agreement toward protection of television stations on Channel 6 from operation of some FMs along the border; technical criteria involving digital radio along the border as well as to eliminate “claimed harmful interference to Mexican radio stations allegedly caused by the temporary operation of U.S. stations using the IBOC system”; a possible new framework agreement for TV services; and working to finalize verification of a database of AM stations in 535–1605 kHz.

Read the work plan, called a “Directory of Bilateral Issues,” here (PDF).

The documents were signed by officials from the U.S. State Department, NTIA and FCC and their counterparts from the Mexican government.

Genachowski said their collaboration “represents a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to enhance robust broadband access and maximize efficient spectrum use along the U.S.-Mexico border for vitally important communications services, including for public safety and homeland security purposes.”

The statement and documents are here.