FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 4, 1998

CONTACT: Karen Kirchgasser
(202) 482-7002
kkirchgasser@ntia.doc.gov

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT BETWEEN U.S. AND CANADA ON IMPLEMENTATION OF DIGITAL RADIO SERVICES

WASHINGTON, D.C. ­ The United States and Canada have reached agreement on conditions for implementing digital radio services. The agreement will allow the launch of Satellite Digital Audio Radio Services (DARS) in the United States while Canada can implement its Terrestrial Digital Radio Broadcasting (T-DRB) services.

"This agreement is critical for the implementation of digital radio services," Assistant Secretary of Commerce Larry Irving said. "While both our countries view implementation of digital radio services as a priority there were contentious issues that needed to be ironed out before going forward. With this agreement in hand, we can proceed as planned."

The agreement is the result of negotiations between the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the Department of Commerce, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and State Department representatives for the U.S. and Industry Canada representatives. The agreement pertains to T-DRB services in Canada in the 1452-1492 MHz band and DARS in the United States in the 2320-2345 MHz band.

The negotiations involved difficult inter-service frequency sharing considerations. Of paramount interest to U.S. federal government agencies was the protection of aeronautical telemetry in the 1452-1492 MHz band. As a result of the agreement, the United States aeronautical telemetry services will continue to use the 1452-1492 MHz band with restrictions along the Canadian/U.S. border.

"Under the agreement, critical U.S. aeronautical telemetry services will continue to meet their growing requirements in this frequency band elsewhere in the United States without restrictions, while accommodating Canada's new terrestrial digital broadcasting service within its borders," Irving said.

Both countries have committed to work swiftly to convert the agreement into a binding international agreement. For now, both countries will implement these conditions on an interim basis.

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