The United States and Canada have reached an agreement on sharing spectrum for broadband and public safety narrowband systems, the FCC announced this week.
The commission and Industry Canada, the regulatory body responsible for Canada’s airwaves, have agreed upon 10 interim spectrum-sharing steps covering operation along the U.S.-Canadian border. The goal of the arrangements is to assist in the rollout of mobile broadband and improve public safety communications by making efficient spectrum sharing possible and avoiding harmful interference.
The arrangements cover spectrum sharing in the 3650MHz to 3700MHz band to allow coexistence of wireless broadband and high-speed Internet service along the border and use of the 700MHz band to allow public safety agencies along the border to implement their narrowband systems.
In the 3650MHz-to-3700MHz band, both nations have agreed to use “contention-based protocols” to avoid harmful interference while sharing spectrum. The protocols allow a number of users to share the same spectrum by defining the events that must occur when two or more devices seek to use the same spectrum at the same time. The protocols set up rules to allow each device to have a reasonable chance to operate.
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski expressed appreciation for the work done by his agency, the U.S. Department of State and Industry Canada to conclude the arrangements, which he called “critical to preventing interference to commercial and public safety licensees in the border region.”
The arrangements do not cover how television spectrum along the U.S.-Canada border will be allocated to address new interference concerns that may arise as the result of a TV spectrum repack.