Spectrum Applications Modernization

Welcome to Industry Canada's Spectrum Applications Modernization Project Information Update

Updated February 7, 2014

If you are a licensee of a microwave system or an earth station, this information may be of interest to you.


See also Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.



Modernizing Industry Canada's Spectrum Management System

Industry Canada is modernizing its Spectrum Management System, which will result in changes to your radio licences and the online services used to file applications and to access information.

Licensees of the following services, in microwave frequency bands above 960 MHz, will notice changes in 2014 as we move towards a pilot release of the new system:

  • fixed point-to-point (including transportable stations);
  • point-to-multipoint; and
  • satellite fixed earth (including transportable stations).

Services Above 960 MHz

For the pilot release of the new software, Industry Canada has chosen to include these services above 960 MHz. Other services above 960 MHz, such as aeronautical, are not included in the first release. At present, all services below 960 MHz are being excluded in order to allow for continuing uninterrupted use of existing technical analysis tools to protect current frequency assignments.

Point-to-Point Link Licences

Under the current system, licences are issued for each site and cover all apparatus at that site. Under the new system, however, a licence will cover one or more links. For example, a single licence will be issued for the communications link between two stations and include all apparatus installed at both ends of the link. A single station linked in two directions (i.e. two links) will appear on two licences. Multipoint communications systems (MCS) will generally be issued a single licence and cover all associated links. This means that new licence numbers, and possibly new call signs, will be issued. Invoices will be based on the new licence structure. The total fees charged for all stations will not change.

Account Numbers

If you currently hold radio licences, your existing account structure will remain the same, but your existing account number (company code) will be changed to a new sequentially generated 10-digit account number. A new 10-digit account number will be generated for each of your existing accounts. If you have multiple accounts associated with different service centres across Canada, these accounts will continue as they are today except the existing account number will be replaced with the new sequentially generated account number. Under the new system, all service types (e.g. microwave, land-mobile, broadcast) can be captured under the same client account. Rationalization of accounts will be carried out in the future by departmental staff in consultation with clients.

Licence Numbers

Your licence number remains a unique identifier that should be cited when obtaining services from Industry Canada. Existing licence numbers will change. For example, a licence number and licence version could be "010000001-003," representing the third version of licence 010000001 issued by the new system.

The version number will be introduced to help you to track changes to your licences over time. For point-to-point systems, the number of unique licences issued for links will decrease due to the switch to a link licensing structure.

Division of Licences (Multiple Services or Frequency Bands)

Some licensees currently hold licences that cover multiple services (e.g. point-to-point and point-to-multipoint on the same licence) or licences that cover frequencies both above and below 960 MHz. Under the new system, separate licences will be issued for each of the different services. Separate licences will also be issued for frequencies below 960 MHz and above 960 MHz to align with the upcoming releases of the new system.

Where licences are being divided, new call signs may be issued. If a station appears on more than one licence, it may also be issued more than one call sign.

Fees will continue to be charged according to existing regulations. If Industry Canada finds that fees have been incorrectly calculated for licensed services, the necessary adjustments will be made.

Client Readiness

In preparation for the microwave pilot release, scheduled for May 20, 2014, clients are advised to complete the following steps:

Licensee, Step 1: Synchronize With Industry Canada’s Records

We recommend that clients be ready to validate their network with our records (referring to the upcoming invoice) — please visit Spectrum Direct to see Industry Canada’s records for you. Inform Industry Canada of any discrepancies. Cancellation should be performed quickly in order to submit the required annual fees. This will make the invoice amounts more accurate, reducing complexity for both clients and the Department.

Licensee, Step 2: Pay Fees on Time

As of April 1, 2014, licences will be subject to annual fees. There will be no more issuance fees and no more reinstatement fees. Active licences for which the annual fees have not been paid by March 31, 2014, will be cancelled (continued operation is illegal as per subsections 4(1) and 10(1) of the Radiocommunication Act). Data will not be maintained, protection will not be offered, frequencies will become available for others and operators will have to reapply for licences. Nobody wants this — please pay on time.

Licensee, Step 3: Meet Application Deadlines

The following is applicable to applications for new licences and modifications:

  • For in-service dates anytime prior to May 9, 2014, if U.S. coordination is required, the application deadline is February 7, 2014. If no international coordination is needed, the application deadline is April 1, 2014.
  • For new licences and amendments, licence fees must accompany the application in order for clients to meet the data migration dates. If deadline dates are missed, negotiated in-service dates will be required. A blackout period will be in effect for the issuance of licences. From May 12 to 20, 2014, there will be a freeze for data migration preparation, transfer and validation.
  • For in-service dates during June 2014, if U.S. coordination is required, the application deadline is February 7, 2014 (coordination needs to be completed and licence authorized by May 9, 2014). If no international coordination is required, the application deadline is April 30, 2014.
  • For in-service dates during July 2014, if U.S. coordination is required, the application deadline is April 1, 2014. If no international coordination is required, please submit applications using the new Web portal on Spectrum Direct. (post-migration — end of May 2014).
  • For in-service dates in August 2014, please submit applications using the new Web portal on Spectrum Direct (post-migration — end of May 2014).

Licensee, Step 4: Sandbox — Learning the New System

A "sandbox" testing environment will be available for clients prior to the implementation date of May 20, 2014. A sandbox environment can be used by clients to explore and test the new system. A new Web profile will be required to access the sandbox environment, and clients will be advised how to access it.

For further information on these steps and other information on the project, please see the client presentation entitled SAM-CSI Pilot Release: Information for Microwave Clients, found under the Presentation and Documents section.

Online Services

There will also be changes to the way that services are accessed online.

Under the current system, Industry Canada provides access to assignment data via the Technical and Administrative Frequency List (TAFL) data files and the Radio Frequency Search on Spectrum Direct. For the pilot release, data related to frequencies above 960 MHz will be accessed by a new online tool, and the format of the data provided will be different. TAFL file downloads will be replaced by an enhanced search capability.

Information concerning other frequency bands remains where it is currently found (TAFL and Spectrum Direct). This differentiation is applicable to clients as it relates to applying for licences, viewing their client information on licences and invoices, paying invoices, etc.

Clients generally submit applications in microwave frequency bands via the Web using the current Spectrum Direct features. Clients who wish to make applications for systems within the scope of the pilot release will be directed to a new area of Industry Canada’s Spectrum website at the time of its launch, which will require clients to re-register their Web user account. Departmental staff will contact affected clients in advance. Likewise, there will be updated features on Spectrum Direct for paying invoices and printing licences.

As part of its work, the Department will add to its Web application submission pages to allow for licence applications in all services. Services not yet within the scope of the pilot release will continue to be served through Spectrum Direct.

As other services are transitioned to the new software beyond 2014, Industry Canada will seek to engage all applicable stakeholders and provide further information on its website.

SAM-CSI Backgrounder

The radio frequency spectrum is a finite resource that affects virtually all aspects of Canadian society, supporting wireless and mobile telecommunications across a host of everyday situations. The effective use of spectrum is crucial to the social and economic well-being of Canadians. Its management is a federal obligation that is performed by the Spectrum Management and Telecommunications Program of Industry Canada.

An important element of the Program’s success is its effective use of information technology, in particular, its Spectrum Management System. The system is the suite of software tools used by Program staff to administer these authorizations, to issue invoices for fees associated with them and to address signal coverage, potential interference, policy compliance and safety. These activities often require complex engineering analysis. In addition, the Spectrum Management System is used to coordinate Canadian radio frequency assignments with those in the United States. The Spectrum Management System also provides information concerning frequency utilization and serves as an important interface for filing applications and for information requests from clients and the general public.

The growing demand for spectrum requires that Canada find market-oriented ways of promoting its efficient use. In addition, the rapid evolution of wireless and radio technology necessitates an adaptable Spectrum Management System that is able to accommodate new technical requirements.

The current system was adapted as new services and frequency bands were released, and is now a mixture of decades-old applications and supporting technologies that can no longer be adequately maintained or enhanced. Many of the development platforms are now obsolete or reaching their end of life. As new system components have been layered over older components, the system has become complex and difficult to sustain. As a result, Industry Canada embarked on a major initiative to modernize the Spectrum Management System. Extensive research and analysis conducted in 2009 and 2010 concluded that a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution was available to meet the Department’s requirements. The modernization project, known as Spectrum Applications Modernization — Commercial Software Implementation (SAM-CSI), received approval on December 9, 2010.

Industry Canada has contracted LS telcom to provide software and services related to this modernization effort. Several other large national regulators use the LS telcom system and, as such, Canada’s adoption of this technology may result in increased consistency in the way that spectrum is administered internationally.

The future system will provide new ways of issuing and managing radiocommunication licences in real time, using a more streamlined, automated process and a more stable core system.

Implementing the Software

The SAM-CSI project will follow a phased-in approach, with different services transitioned from the legacy systems to the LS telcom system over a series of releases, starting with a pilot release that is targeted to "go live" on May 20, 2014.

Having evaluated various implementation options, it was determined that specific services within the microwave bands offered advantages as a pilot release over other service lines. Included in the pilot release is radiocommunication licensing of the terrestrial fixed service in microwave bands above 960 MHz, including point-to-point stations, point-to-transportable stations, point-to-multipoint stations, transportable-to-transportable stations and earth stations.

Other service lines will follow, with completion of this project scheduled for March 31, 2016.

Enquiries

Should you have any questions regarding your licences and how they may change, please feel free to send us an email at Spectrum Support.