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Diplomacy in Action

Joint Statement: United States-Mexico High Level Consultative Commission on Telecommunications


June 8, 2012

   
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Twelfth Meeting, Washington, D.C.
June 8, 2012

Critical telecommunications needs in the common border area, rapid technological changes, and the expansion of wireless broadband services make it imperative that the United States of America (hereinafter United States) and the United Mexican States (hereinafter Mexico) work closely together to strengthen the economy of, and to enhance public safety communications in, the border region. For these reasons, both countries have successfully concluded the Twelfth Meeting of the United States-Mexico High Level Consultative Commission on Telecommunications (HLCC). To advance its goals, the representatives put in place an ambitious work program (known as the Directory of Bilateral Issues) for officials from both governments for the period from 2012 to 2014. The actions proposed in the Directory of Bilateral Issues are designed to expand wireless broadband services and advance cross border communications and interoperability as well as to prevent harmful interference to public safety, commercial, broadcasting and other services in the heavily populated border regions.

In developing the work program, delegates from the two countries exchanged views on a wide variety of issues including their collaboration on treatment of spectrum, the accommodation of new technologies, the possible future reallocation of certain frequency bands, and the deployment and expansion of new services.

The U.S. delegation, led by Ambassador Philip L. Verveer, United States Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, Department of State, accompanied by Mr. Julius Genachowski, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission, and Mr. Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Department of Commerce and the Mexican delegation, led by Mr. Hector Olavarría Tapia, Under Secretary of Communications of the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation, accompanied by Mr. Mony de Swaan Addati, Chairman of the Federal Telecommunications Commission, having met in Washington, D.C. on June 8, 2012, state that:

The delegations recognize that their exchange of views and perspectives regarding telecommunications and broadcasting issues during the HLCC establishes an essential foundation for actions by officials from both governments to support opportunities for the peoples and industries in the common border area, to stimulate economic growth, to expand wireless broadband services, to foster Digital Terrestrial Television services and to make critical improvements in border security;[1]

The delegations also recognize that, along the common border, they need to coordinate sharing of the radio frequency spectrum on an equitable basis and in an expeditious manner in order to ensure the efficient and compatible development and effective operation of the diverse technologies and varied radiocommunication networks that support the economy of that region;

The delegations considered the following topics, among others, in their discussions:

  • Radiocommunication – Reconfiguration of the 800 MHz land mobile band, new service applications in the 700 MHz band (which until recently had been used by the television broadcasting service), the applications and services in the 2500-2690 MHz band, expansion of the amount of spectrum available for wireless broadband services as well as implementing improvements in public safety and security communications along the common border; and
  • Broadcasting – The need to foster Digital Terrestrial Television services, and to discuss the possible spectrum repurposing within the television bands, identified in existing Bilateral Agreements without affecting the growth and development of the television services planned by each country;[2]

The delegations reiterate their mutual desire and intention to promote cooperation and coordination in finding solutions to challenges that arise in the operation of telecommunication and broadcasting services along the common border and those involving satellite services, including reviewing and updating existing telecommunications and broadcasting Agreements;

The delegations further recognize the progress that has been made in the formulation of the January 2008 Plan from the Security Communications Task Group that provides for the establishment of a new cross border public security communications network for improving border security and combating border violence. The January 2008 Plan recommended the negotiation of a new bilateral agreement to provide interference protection and to establish other measures for the new network. On September 1, 2009, the two governments signed a new Protocol to accomplish those goals and have subsequently advanced the implementation of the Protocol looking toward start-up operation of the complete network in 2012. The bi-national working group that was created by the Protocol to administer the network held five meetings in calendar year 2011. These actions also support the need for communications improvements identified in the Action Plan associated with the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, which was signed by the security representatives of the two governments in Brownsville, Texas, in March 2006;

The delegations encourage the HLCC Bilateral Working Level officials to continue discussions on how to improve the interoperability and compatibility of communications services in the border area;

The delegations also encourage U.S. and Mexican officials to work collaboratively to implement a U.S.-Mexico database of lost or stolen mobile devices, working toward the goal of a joint announcement by September 2012. A shared database will benefit consumers in both countries and will be an important tool in combating crime;

The delegations further encourage U.S. and Mexican officials to continue to exchange information relating to wireless broadband policies and implementation of wireless broadband policies;

The delegations reaffirm their desire to continue collaborations in their work at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and, when in the interests of both Parties, to work together on their positions for the Conferences, Assemblies and Meetings of the ITU as well as in the preparatory work of the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) for those ITU Conferences, Assemblies and Meetings. Likewise, the delegations reaffirm that they intend to work for the consolidation of the community connectivity indicators adopted by the ITU;

The delegations have reestablished the Bilateral Task Force on Reconfiguration of the 800 MHz land mobile band to implement the transition of incumbent licensees to the new allotment plan taking into consideration the approval of the amended Protocol for the 800/900 MHz band;

The delegations recognize the importance of resolving issues relating to use of spectrum in the 700 MHz band along the common border to enable both countries to use the band productively while ensuring that operations are compatible and the potential for interference is minimized. The delegations encourage continued discussion regarding a non-binding interim arrangement to allow the use of the band on both sides of the common border. The delegations also recognize the importance of continued exchange of information and discussion of alternatives and options for the long-term implementation of broadband services along the border in this band, and for this purpose they will examine in the Bilateral Task Group for Planning Communications Services the border implications of possible simultaneous operation of two different plans: a new Mexican segmentation plan in the 700 MHz band and the current U.S. 700 MHz allocation plan;

The delegations again reaffirm that the HLCC plans to meet once per year, and in case a face-to-face meeting cannot be held, a video conference may be arranged as a timely alternative. The HLCC Bilateral Working Level officials are to inform the HLCC on an annual basis of advances and concluded items in its work;

Once again, the delegations instruct the staff at the HLCC Bilateral Working Level in charge of administering the matters under the bilateral agenda to hold at least two meetings per year to review the full bilateral agenda on dates that the staff finds mutually acceptable. The Bilateral Task Groups and the Bilateral Task Force may meet as often as necessary on mutually acceptable dates;

The delegations further note that the HLCC Bilateral Working Level now includes the following groups/task force:

  • Bilateral Task Group on Radiocommunications;
  • Bilateral Task Group on Security Communications;
  • Bilateral Task Group on Broadcasting;
  • Bilateral Task Group on Planning Communications Services;
  • Bilateral Task Group on Satellites;
  • Bilateral Task Force on Reconfiguration of the 800 MHz Band;
  • The Bilateral Task Group on Maritime Communications;

Certain of the principals have signed the following documents:

  • The Protocol Between the Department of State of the United States of America and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation of the United Mexican States Concerning the Allotment, Assignment and Use of the 806-824/851-869 MHz and 896-901/935-940 MHz Bands for Terrestrial Non-Broadcasting Radiocommunication Services Along the Common Border; and
  • Protocol Between the Department of State of the United States of America and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation of the United Mexican States Concerning the Use of the 1850-1915 MHz and 1930-1995 MHz bands for Personal Communications Services Along the Common Border; and

The delegations have issued the following document:

  • The Directory of Bilateral Issues 2012-2014, which consists of the following sections: satellites, broadcasting, radiocommunication, international issues and other telecommunications matters. The Directory contains the topics that are to be addressed by the staff at the HLCC Bilateral Working Level in advancing the work of the HLCC.

Finally, in order to focus continuing attention on the agenda of the HLCC Bilateral Working Level to deal with difficult situations that may arise in the common border area and to strengthen their bilateral relations, the delegations state that they intend to hold the Thirteenth Meeting of the HLCC in Mexico in 2013.

Signed at Washington, D.C. the eighth day of June, 2012.

/Original signed by
Philip L. Verveer/
______________________________
Ambassador Philip L. Verveer
United States Coordinator, International Communications and Information Policy
United States Department of State

  /Original signed by
Hector Olavarria Tapia/
_______________________________
Mr. Hector Olavarria Tapia
Under Secretary of Communications
Secretariat of Communications and Transportation of Mexico
/Original signed by
Julius Genachowski/
______________________________
The Honorable Julius Genachowski
Chairman, Federal Communications Commission
 

/Original signed by
Mony de Swaan Addati/ _______________________________ Mr. Mony de Swaan Addati
Chairman, Federal Telecommunications Commission

/Original signed by
Lawrence E. Strickling/ ______________________________ The Honorable Lawrence E. Strickling
Assistant Secretary for Commissions and Information, and Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration
United States Department of Commerce

   

[1] This paragraph uses a nonconforming ITU equivalent telecommunication term relative to associated Spanish text signed on same date at same meeting site, i.e., ITU English equivalency for Spanish “terrestre” is “land,” not “terrestrial.”

[2] Id.



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