Joint Statement of the Ninth U.S.-Mexico High Level Consultative Commission on Telecommunications

August 3, 2007


Ninth Meeting, Mexico City
August 3, 2007

Critical telecommunications needs in the common border area and rapid technological change make it imperative that the United States and Mexico work closely together to enhance public safety communications and strengthen the economy of the border region. To that end, both countries have successfully concluded the Ninth Meeting of the United States-Mexico High Level Consultative Commission on Telecommunications (HLCC). Among the principal accomplishments of the HLCC was the signing of a protocol governing use of a key spectrum band (138-144 MHz) in the border area and the approval of a work program (known as the Directory of Bilateral Issues) for both governments for the period from 2007 to 2009. The actions proposed in the Directory of Bilateral Issues are designed to advance cross-border communication and interoperability as well as to prevent harmful interference to public safety, commercial and broadcasting services in the heavily populated border regions.

The two countries also exchanged views on a wide variety of issues dealing with spectrum policy and new technologies and services, with a particular focus on improving cross-border public safety and security communications.

The delegation of Mexico, led by Dr. Rafael del Villar Alrich, Under Secretary of Communications of the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation, accompanied by Hector G. Osuna Jaime, Chairman of the Federal Telecommunications Commission, and the delegation of the United States, led by Ambassador David A. Gross, United States Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, Department of State, accompanied by Helen Domenici on behalf of Kevin J. Martin, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission and Karl B. Nebbia on behalf of John M.R. Kneuer, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, having met in Mexico on August 3, 2007, state that:

The delegations recognize that their exchanges of views and perspectives regarding telecommunications and broadcasting during the HLCC establish an essential foundation for actions by both governments to support opportunities for the peoples and industries in the common border area, to stimulate economic growth and to make critical improvements in border security;

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 dynamic functioning 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 band, new service applications in the 700 MHz band (which until now has been used by the television broadcasting service) as well as improving public safety and security communications along the common border; and
  • Broadcasting – The need for continuing efforts to ensure compatible operations among the radio and television stations in the common border area, as well as compatibility between broadcasting and other radiocommunication services in the common border area;

The delegations reiterate their common 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 in order to, among other things, accommodate technological advances and support the introduction of new services;

The delegations further recognize that security representatives of both governments met in Brownsville, Texas on March 3, 2006 and adopted an Action Plan for improving cross-border security communications to combat border violence. The delegations also recognize the associated need for infrastructure involving the use of the radio frequency spectrum. The members of the HLCC delegations, as telecommunications leaders with the responsibilities for oversight and implementation of domestic and international communications obligations of both countries, are aware that, in order to secure compatibility between radiocommunication services, the infrastructure supporting public safety and security services should conform to those obligations. Considering this framework, the delegations encourage the partnering of the HLCC Working Level officials with federal, state and local security agencies in the border area in order to formulate a long-term Plan to advance critical cross-border communications networks that will fully support the March 2006 Action Plan. Once finalized, the delegations intend to adopt such a long-term Plan as soon as possible;

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

The delegations share an understanding that the use of the radio frequency spectrum in relation to the Action Items of the North America Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) Initiative should be coordinated in advance on a bilateral basis and that those Action Items of the SPP Initiative should be configured to acknowledge the HLCC’s unique role in the bi-national process for sharing and coordinating spectrum as well as its role in the negotiation, conclusion, facilitation of entry into force and implementation of bilateral spectrum agreements;

The delegations further reaffirm their intention to consider amendments to the existing Protocol for the 800 MHz band on an urgent basis in order to address band reconfiguration issues and seek to secure: 1) Interoperable and interference-free operation of public safety services within the United States along the common border; and 2) Continued interference-free operation and access to needed channels in Mexico in this band;

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

The delegations have signed the following document:

  • Permanent Protocol Concerning the Allotment and Use of the 138-144 MHz Band for Terrestrial Non-Broadcasting Radiocommunication Services Along the Common Border;

The delegations also have adopted the following document:

  • The Directory of Bilateral Issues 2007-2009, which consists of the following sections: satellites, broadcasting, radiocommunication, international issues, SPP Initiative and other telecommunications matters. The Directory contains the topics that should be addressed by the staff of the Bilateral Working Level in advancing its work;

Once again, the delegations instruct the staff of the 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 should meet as often as necessary on mutually acceptable dates;

The delegations further note that the Bilateral Working Level now includes the following groups:

  • Bilateral Task Group on Radiocommunications;
  • Bilateral Task Group on Security Communications;
  • Bilateral Task Group on the North America Security and Prosperity Partnership Initiative (SPP);
  • 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; and
  • Bilateral Task Group on Maritime Communications.

The delegations intend to present a report on activities regarding the work of the HLCC to the XXIII United States - Mexico Binational Commission; and

Finally, in order to focus continuing attention to their agenda, 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 Tenth Meeting of the HLCC in the United States during 2008.

Signed at Mexico City August 3, 2007.

/s/ Rafael del Villar Alrich
Dr. Rafael del Villar Alrich
Under Secretary of Communications
Secretariat of Communications and
Transportation of Mexico
/s/ David A. Gross
Ambassador David A. Gross
United States Coordinator for
International Communications and Information Policy
United States Department of State
/s/ Hector G. Osuna Jaime
Mr. Hector G. Osuna Jaime
Chairman, Federal
Telecommunications Commission
/s/ Helen Domenici, for
Mr. Kevin J. Martin
Chairman, Federal Communications
/s/ Karl B. Nebbia, for
Mr. John M. R. Kneuer
Assistant Secretary of
Commerce for Communications and
Information, and Administrator
of the National Telecommunications
and Information Administration

Addendum: The preparation of this document and the actions flowing from it are dedicated to the memory of Mr. Antonio Garcia-Alonso Salazar, Assistant Director of Bilateral Affairs and Cooperative Mechanisms, Office of International Affairs, Under Secretariat of Communications in Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transportation.