No excuse for lack of 800 MHz agreement with Mexico
I have a son who today is in his mid-twenties, a productive member of society who never has been in any significant trouble. That’s not to say he wasn’t a typical teenager, which landed him occasionally in a heap of trouble with me. The biggest bone of contention involved cutting the grass. He would procrastinate, to the nth degree. After a week I would remind him. After two weeks I would nag him. By the third week I was threatening him, usually while I was standing ankle-deep in my lawn. By the fourth week I was cutting the grass myself, because I knew if he did it at that point the lawn would be littered from stem to stern with clumps of dead grass.
I’m not an unreasonable person. Teenagers are busy creatures. They have summer jobs. They participate in various activities and attend myriad functions of such social magnitude that failure to appear at any one of them is grounds for banishment from the social order—at least in their eyes. So I was willing to cut my son some slack. But there always came a point, usually after the second week, when his excuses became invalid. No one is that busy.
I thought about my progeny as I read the story posted today by senior writer Donny Jackson, who reports that it likely will be another four months—probably considerably more—before before the U.S. government reaches an agreement with Mexican authorities concerning the reconfiguration of 800 MHz licensees along the U.S./Mexico border. Periodically, I have cut the feds—particularly the FCC—some slack concerning the slow pace of rebanding, an unprecedented endeavor for which no playbook exists. That said, I find the lack of a Mexican rebanding agreement to be astounding, and unconscionable.
Without question, federal authorities have a lot on their plates right now. On a macro level, we have troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have a faltering economy and mounting job losses. The automobile industry could well collapse. On a micro level, the FCC is dealing with two other giant, unprecedented initiatives—the digital television conversion and the proposed nationwide shared wireless broadband network—in addition to rebanding.
Such rationalizations are valid for a year or two. After that, the failure to reach an agreement with Mexico ceased to be a matter of bandwidth but rather one of priority. It is coming up on five years since the FCC issued its order to reconfigure the 800 MHz band to put an end to the interference that plagues first responder communications. One can earn a college degree in less time. An agreement with Mexico should have been in hand by now. No excuses.
What really worries us at this point is that the negotiations with Canada were supposed to be the far easier of the two—and it took nearly four years to complete that agreement.
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