Service Areas for Competitive Licensing

December 2006, Issue 3

This section of the Spectrum Auctions website contains descriptions of the service areas that the Department uses for all competitive licensing processes. These processes include spectrum auctions and comparative review processes.

The radio authorization which will be associated with the use of spectrum in these areas is the spectrum licence, which was introduced with the amendment of the Radiocommunication Act in June 1996. A spectrum licence is defined as an authorization "in respect of the utilization of specified radio frequencies within a defined geographic area."

As different wireless services and applications will be best suited to different sizes of service areas, four tiers of service areas have been established. Tier 1 is a single national service area. Tier 2 consists of 14 large service areas covering all of Canada. There are 8 Tier 2 service areas that have provincial boundaries, and 6 that are within Ontario and Quebec. Tier 3 contains 59 smaller regional service areas and Tier 4 comprises 172 localized service areas. The population associated with each service area is based on Statistics Canada 2001 census information.

An additional group of service areas has been developed to accommodate the transition of non-auctioned Cellular and Personal Communications Services (PCS) licences from apparatus-based licences to spectrum licences. The Local Telephone Service Areas (TEL) generally correspond to the wireline services areas of the telephone companies operating in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. Population data is based on Statistics Canada 2001 census data.

All service areas, with the exception of the Local Telephone Service Areas, have been designed so that borders are drawn in lesser populated and more remote areas, when possible, in order to minimize potential interference problems.

Service areas are "translated" into areas based on spectrum grid cellsFootnote 1 in order to facilitate their electronic storage and representation. Given that an individual grid cell is only 25 km2 in area, spectrum grid cells offer sufficient granularity so that variations between borders of grid-cell defined areas and underlying census divisions and subdivisions will be minute. In the event that any interference issues must be resolved between two licensees, the boundary as defined by the spectrum grid cells will be the one used.

Maps and key data of the tier service areas:


Footnote 1 Spectrum grid cells are six-sided figures with an area of 25 km2 that fit together in an interlocking pattern over the geography of Canada. (Return to footnote 1 referrer)

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