Industry Canada has signed an agreement with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that calls for 24 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band (764-776 MHz paired with 794-806 MHz) to be used by public safety organizations on both sides of the border. The set-aside will only be for spectrum along the Canada-U.S. border.  Industry Canada notes in a news release that the spectrum sharing agreement will foster more effective communications between American and Canadian public safety personnel in times of crisis along the border. "This new capacity will lead to better integration and coordination of emergency services, resulting in greater protection for citizens along the Canada-United States border," reads the release.  The department is still working on developing licensing guidelines, technical standards, band plans and final spectrum policies before opening up the bandwidth to public safety users. Groups such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) shouldn’t expect to get their hands on the spectrum anytime soon as it won’t become available until broadcasters have completed or are near completing their transition to digital television. The national police force has previously called on the federal government to implement firm deadlines for the transition from analog to DTV.  While public safety agencies wait for access to the precious 700 MHz spectrum, the government is moving to alleviate spectrum shortage. After allocating 50 MHz of spectrum in the 4.9 GHz band to broadband public safety applications and services last year (DGTP-008-04), several fire departments and public safety equipment vendors called on the government to resolve the technical requirements and licensing guidelines surrounding the band. With the release of DGTP-005-05, the department has now signaled its intention to define licensing requirements and technical specifications for this bandwidth. Industry Canada is seeking comment on a number of elements required to clarify the policy including the type of licensing scheme, eligibility, the RF channeling plan, licence fees and whether the department should allow the use of equipment, which operates on specific channels.  Industry Canada has indicated that it prefers a spectrum licence approach as opposed to a radio apparatus method of licensing. "A spectrum licence gives greater autonomy to licensees to deploy and configure their network in the manner most fitting their needs, and requires them to undertake and coordination measures with other users in their proximity and respecting all other conditions of licence," reads the Gazette Notice.  "…The department is of the view that the most appropriate radio authorization in the band 4940-4990 MHz is a non-exclusive spectrum licence to eligible entities," adds the notice. Industry Canada has also proposed to give the full 50 MHz to eligible licensees covering their entire jurisdiction.