RSP-114 — Licence Application Procedure for Planned Earth Stations in Space Radio Communications Services

Licence Application Procedure for Planned Earth Stations in Space Radiocommunication Services
(PDF, 73 KB, 31 pages)

Issue 5
February 1, 1992

Spectrum Management
Radio Standards Procedure


The Minister of Communications may issue licences for such terms and under such conditions as are considered appropriate for ensuring the orderly development and provision of radiocommunication services in Canada. The Minister may amend the conditions of any such licence where such amendments are necessary for the purpose for which the original conditions were provided. The Minister may set the time within which the license must have the station in operation.

This reflects the following major responsibilities of the Minister of Communications:

  1. to optimize the utilization of the radio frequency spectrum and the geostationary satellite orbit;
  2. to provide for the planning of the efficient and orderly growth of the Canadian system of telecommunications;
  3. to ensure that the public interest is served through the consideration of all relevant factors in the granting of licences for new radio transmission facilities;
  4. to anticipate, analyze and resolve interference problems in the early stages of system development;
  5. to consider future system expansion plans and provide for frequency protection to the extent possible; and
  6. to ensure that Canadian radiocommunication systems conform to the provisions of the Radiocommunication Act and the Radio Regulations established by the International Telecommunication Union.

This document outlines the procedure to be followed to obtain a licence from the Minister of Communications for earth stations to be operated for the provision of space radiocommunication services with the following exceptions:

  1. stations in the amateur-satellite service which are licensed in the same manner as amateur stations;
  2. those earth stations, the sole purpose of which is reception of signals from satellites operating in the fixed-satellite service, which are licensed in accordance with RSP, 116;
  3. receiving earth stations in the broadcasting-satellite service. (N.B. earth stations transmitting to broadcasting-satellites are in the fixed-satellite service);

Earth stations in the mobile-satellite service, will be covered under a separate procedure to be developed. In the interim, this document covers stations working with Inmarsat but other mobile-satellite earth terminals will be licensed according to the procedure of RSP, 101. The Department reserves the right to disclose the application proposal to parties who may be affected, either technically or economically, or to individuals requesting the information under the Access to Information Act. Precautions will be taken to preserve the confidentiality of information which has been identified by the applicant as having commercial, security and proprietary consequences. If the Department concurs with the applicant that such information qualifies for exemption under the provision of the Access to Information Act, the applicant will be consulted prior to a decision being taken regarding the release of the information.

Issued under the authority of the Minister of Communications,

S.N. Ahmed
Director General
Engineering Programs Branch

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Submission and Processing of Documentation - New Earth Stations
  3. Licensing of 4/12 GHz Transportable Earth Stations - Special Procedure
  4. Licensing of Remote Earth Stations in VSAT Networks - Special Procedure
  5. Licensing of Earth Stations on Ships Working with Inmarsat Space Stations -Interim Procedure
  6. Modifications to Earth Stations
  7. Cancellation of Assignments
  8. Related Documents
  • Annex A
    Eligibility Criteria for Earth Stations
  • Annex B
    Standard Technical Characteristics for Earth Stations in the Fixed-satellite Service
  • Annex C
    Information Required with a Letter of Intent for a Proposed Installation of a New Earth Station
  • Annex D
    Technical Information Required for Proposed Earth Stations
  • Annex E
    Technical Information Required for VSAT Terminals
  • Annex F
    Coordination of Frequency Assignments
  • Annex G
    Relevant Coordination Particulars

1. Introduction

1.1 Purpose

This RSP deals with the procedures for obtaining an earth station licence in space services other than the amateur-satellite service and the broadcasting-satellite service. Receive-only earth stations in the fixed-satellite service are governed by a separate procedure, RSP, 116. Separate procedures for mobile-satellite earth stations will be developed at a later date. Until such time, this RSP provides the interim licensing procedure.

1.2 Eligibility

The eligibility for holding a licence is given in the General Radio Regulations. In addition, the Minister establishes policies for granting licences for earth stations. This document reflects the procedures to be followed for their implementation. Conditions of eligibility are indicated in Annex, A for information purposes.

1.3 Terminology

The following terminology, used in this document, is defined in the context of licensing:

1.3.1 "Licence" of a radio station is an authorization by the Minister of Communications issued under Section 4(1)(b) of the Radiocommunication Act following the licensee to establish a radio station or install, operate or have in his/her possession a radio apparatus. A licence does not confer any right of continued tenure beyond the licence period in respect of a frequency (see Radio Systems Policy RP-Gen "Spectrum Policy Principles and Other Information Related to Spectrum Utilization and Radio System Policies" for a full definition).

A licence is issued to an applicant after successful completion of the assessment, by the Department, of conformance to relevant technical, policy and procedural requirements and on payment of the appropriate licence fee as detailed in Radiocommunication Information Circular RIC-42 "Guide for the Calculation of Variable Fees".

With respect to transfer of ownership of radio licences see Radio Systems Policy RP, 010 "Policy Guidelines Concerning the Transfer of Radio Licences".

1.3.2 "Television" is considered to include both the video signal and the associated audio, cue and control sub-carriers.

1.3.3 "Radio Frequency Coordination" is defined as a process, the intent of which is to show that operation of a proposed frequency assignment can be harmoniously accommodated among previously established or other formally proposed frequency assignments. The process of frequency assignment coordination is described in Annex, F.

1.3.4 "Formally proposed facilities" include those Canadian stations for which the Department has received a Letter of Intent as well as those foreign stations for which the Department has received communications from abroad pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Radio Regulations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

1.3.5 "Horizon elevation angle" is defined here as the angle viewed from the centre of the earth station antenna, between the horizontal plane and a ray that grazes the visible physical horizon in the direction concerned. In determining the effective horizon angle, man-made structures (except those specifically constructed to provide site shielding at an earth station) and trees or other vegetation which may form part of the horizon shall not be considered. When calculating horizon elevation angles from map information, a 4/3 earth radius may be assumed. Notwithstanding the above, where path profiles are required for detailed coordination the presence of man-made structures may be taken into account.

1.3.6 Other terms used in this document are as defined in the Radio Regulations of the ITU.

1.4 Mailing Instructions

Unless special arrangements are made with Department Headquarters, all submissions or inquiries concerning applications for the licensing of earth stations shall be addressed to the Regional Director of Engineering at the appropriate Regional office of the Department. A list of the addresses is available from RIC, 66.

Other Departmental documents referenced in Section 8 may be obtained from any of the Department's Regional or District offices.

Documents may also be submitted by means other than regular hard copy mail, for example electronically, provided that the required information is complete and presented in the same order as requested in Annexes, C and D or E. Client Procedure Circular CPC-2-0-01 provides general guidelines for the submission of license applications.

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2. Submission and Processing of Documentation - New Earth Stations

The procedure to obtain a licence for a new earth station in accordance with this document consists of three phases as outlined and discussed in this section. These are:
Phase One - Letter of Intent
Phase Two - Coordination
Phase Three - Notification and Licensing

Notwithstanding the sequence of events given in this procedure, the applicant may expedite the application by completing any of these phases concurrently.

A special procedure for licensing 14/12 GHz transportable earth stations in the domestic fixed-satellite service is given in Section, 3.

A special procedure for licensing small earth stations in VSAT networks is given in Section, 4. The licensing of the hub earth station shall follow the procedures in section, 2.

An interim procedure for licensing ship stations working with Inmarsat is given in section, 5.

These special procedures are abridged from the detailed procedure in the following sections, 2.1 and 2.2.

2.1 Phase One - Letter of Intent

The applicant initiates the procedure by submitting to the Department a Letter of Intent, no earlier than two years before eventual implementation, containing the information required in Annex, C, with the exception of the Agreements required in Section, C.3. Where the application is for a temporary or an experimental installation, with a specified duration of operation, or in such circumstances as the Minister may, on a case by case basis, deem appropriate, the information required in Section, C.4 of Annex, C may be omitted. Where an applicant is proposing similar facilities at more than one site, a single Letter of Intent will suffice provided the differences between specific stations are clearly identified.

Within approximately thirty days of receipt of all the required information, the Department will render a decision with respect to acceptance of the proposal. The Department may, if necessary, request further information, such as cost information, before rendering a decision. If the application is accepted, a letter of acceptance in principle will be sent to the applicant. The applicant is cautioned against making any commitments with respect to the proposal(s), since subsequent licensing is conditional upon successful coordination, which is part of phase two of this procedure.

2.2 Phase Two - Coordination of Frequency Assignments

2.2.1 Where the applicant requires a licence for a station with transmitting capability or a "protected" receive station, the applicant should submit the technical information required in Annex D ensuring conformity to standards described in Annex B. Applicants should note that Transport Canada may require aeronautical obstruction clearance (CPC-2-0-2 September 89).

2.2.2 Within approximately thirty days of receipt of all the required information the Department will provide the applicant with the following:

  1. a statement indicating whether international coordination is required, (the Department will initiate discussion with other Administrations involved);
  2. a listing of domestic parties or agencies with whom coordination is required and if requested, the relevant coordination particulars (see Annex G).

2.2.3 The applicant shall seek agreement to the operation of the proposed earth station(s) from those parties or agencies identified. In order to do so, the applicant should send a letter to those parties on the Department's list with a copy to the Department, requesting coordination. The applicant should also send to them all the necessary technical information, including an engineering brief containing the results of calculations and measurements that may have been performed indicating the levels of mutual interference expected.

2.2.4 The Department requires that all system engineering briefs be certified by a member of or a person licensed by a provincial association or Order of Engineers.

2.2.5 A party receiving a request for coordination should acknowledge receipt of the request as soon as possible. Within thirty days of the date on which the request was received, the recipient should provide comments on the acceptability of the proposal, on the basis that acceptance implies:

  1. the indicated interference levels as caused by the proposed transmitting earth station are acceptable to the receiving terrestrial stations;
  2. the parameters of existing and proposed transmitting terrestrial stations used by the applicant in his assessment are correct and complete.

Should either party feel that further detailed coordination is required, the applicant or recipient should indicate such, with a view to completing the coordination process within a further 90 days. During this coordination, due account should be taken of the details given in Annex F.

The applicant should advise the Department of the outcome of discussions under this coordination process within approximately 120 days after submission of technical details to the coordinating parties. Where conflicts cannot be resolved by direct negotiations among the parties concerned within this period, one or more of the parties may request the Department to resolve the difficulties.

2.2.6 After successful completion of this process, the applicant must submit to the Department the following:

  1. an engineering brief containing:
    • any letters of agreement reached among the correspondents,
    • in the case of transmitting earth stations, a letter from the owner of the space station as to the technical acceptability of the proposed earth station, or proof that an Access Agreement has been signed,
    • an updated Annex D resulting from the coordination process,
    • where detailed coordination has been undertaken, the results of calculations and tests which demonstrate the interference levels expected to be received by both parties and a statement that those levels expected to be received at the applicant's station will be acceptable in the context of its performance objectives;
  2. completion of section C.3 of Annex C, if not already completed;
  3. the applicable fee per RIC 42.

2.2.7 Upon receipt of this information, the Department will assess whether any revisions to the list of coordinating parties is warranted before proceeding.

When the Department is satisfied that all necessary domestic coordination has been completed and that international coordination requirements are satisfied, (see section 2.2.1 and Annex B), it will proceed with phase three.

2.3 Phase Three - Notification and Licensing

2.3.1 Licences for protected earth stations and those with transmitting capability will be issued under the following circumstances:

  1. the domestic and international coordination process for the earth station has been successfully completed; or
  2. earth stations in the Fixed Satellite Service conform to the standards in Annex B, use the same or better technical characteristics than those of a typical station in that network (also see Annex F, Section 1.7), and which have been coordinated as necessary with domestic and foreign terrestrial stations; or
  3. stations in other space services which intend to join an existing network, which was previously coordinated for the service area involved, and use the same or better technical characteristics than those of a typical station in that network.

2.3.2 The Department reserves the right to notify the International Frequency Registration Board (IFRB) when conditions b) and c) do not apply. Should the IFRB for some unforeseen reason fail to accept the notice for registration, adjustments to the station may become necessary. Should the IFRB for some reason deem the notice unacceptable for entry in the Master Register, the applicant will be advised and an appropriate course of action will be initiated. Should the application be withdrawn, the licence fee provided in Phase 2 shall be returned to the applicant without interest.

2.3.3 Licences are issued to applicants to operate specific stations. These licences will indicate the conditions under which the stations may be operated. Non-compliance with these conditions may lead to invalidation of the licence. These conditions include a list of frequencies authorized, the space stations with which the licensed station may communicate, and any restrictions on the signals that may be carried.

2.3.4 It is expected that stations will be implemented within a reasonable period after granting of licence.

2.4 Appplicant's Other Responsibilities

In conjunction with submitting applications for radio station licences to the Department, applicants are also responsible for:

  • obtaining Transport Canada approval of the antenna support structure with respect to its acceptability from an air navigation hazard point of view (see Section 8);
  • coordinating with municipal and/or land use regulatory bodies to ensure that municipal zoning and land use issues are resolved (see Section 8);
  • ensuring that any environmental issues have been addressed;
  • following the recommended safety procedures for installation and use of radio frequency and microwave devices in the frequency range of 10 kHz to 300 GHz as described in Safety Code 6 of Health and Welfare Canada (see Section 8).
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3. Licensing of 4/12 GHz Transportable Earth Stations - Special Procedure

3.1 For the 14/12 GHz fixed-satellite service, where transportable earth stations are to be frequently moved or rapidly brought into service, the following procedure may be used in lieu of the provisions of Section 2:

3.2 Step 1: The applicant initiates proceedings with the letter of intent phase as described in 2.1.

3.3 Step 2: Within thirty days of receipt of Acceptance in Principle, the applicant shall send to the Department the following:

  1. an Engineering brief including the information requested in Annex D except sections related to the final siting of the earth station, i.e. D.1.1.3, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.7, 2.4.4, 2.4.6, 2.4.8, and 3.4.7.
  2. the applicable licence fee per RIC 42,
  3. the additional information required per Annex C.

3.4 Step 3: The Department checks the information against the relevant provisions in Annexes A to D as well as any potential for interference. If all the conditions are met, the Department issues a licence. The Department reserves the right to be advised of the actual location of the station. Should any unacceptable level of interference be reported, the Department will require that the earth station cease operation immediately at that location.

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4. Licensing of Remote Earth Stations in VSAT Networks - Special Procedure

4.1 This section applies to small "remote" earth stations referred to as VSATs (Very Small Aperture Terminal) operating in the 14.0-14.5 and 5.925-6.425 GHz uplink bands, and 11.7-12.2 and 3.7-4.2 GHz downlink bands. These earth stations shall have the following characteristics:

  1. They are part of a network which has a star topology, consisting of a large hub or central station and several small "remote" earth stations;
  2. All the remote stations are under the control of the large hub or central station of that network;
  3. They communicate only with the hub station or with each other via the hub;
  4. They share the same satellite frequency and power resources with the other remote stations of the network to communicate with the hub station;
  5. The remote stations within a network will have the same basic technical characteristics, but can be classified into groups having the same information capacity, and
  6. Any one earth station may participate in more than one VSAT network.

4.2 The licensing of the hub station of a VSAT network should follow the procedures of section 2. The agreements referred to in section C.3 of Annex C should be submitted only once to the Department for the VSAT network with the initial application for the hub and remote stations.

4.3 The applicant must also provide the technical characteristics of typical remote stations using the appropriate elements of Annex D. These technical characteristics shall be used as "reference remote earth station type" for technical evaluation of the equipment. The Department will issue such a "reference type number" for future correspondence. In addition, the engineering brief must demonstrate that the sidelobe emissions aggregated from earth stations that could be transmitting simultaneously are within levels of Annex B, Appendix B.1.

4.4 In the case of 14/12 GHz VSAT networks, for subsequent licence application of remote stations with the same technical characteristics, it will suffice for the applicant to submit to the Department,

  • the referenced earth station type number (see section 4.3),
  • information in Annex E,
  • the licence fee per RIC-42, and
  • the VSAT network operator's consent to use the network.

4.5 In the case of licensing 6/4 GHz VSAT earth stations, the applicants must, in addition to the requirements of section 4.4, undertake radio frequency coordination with existing and formally proposed frequency assignments for radio relay stations, as set out in Annex F, under the procedure of section 2.2.1.

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5. Licensing of Earth Stations on Ships Working with Inmarsat Space Stations - Interim Procedure

5.1 For the purpose of this abridged procedure a ship includes off-shore platforms not permanently moored.

5.2 The applicant should complete the licence application form 16-21, and submit it with the licence fee to DOC's Regional office.

5.3 The applicant will be granted a mobile station licence subject to the condition that the applicant carry out commissioning tests and arrange access to the Inmarsat network within a stipulated period of time. (See section 5.4 below.)

5.4 The applicant should contact Teleglobe Canada, (Marketing Department), 680 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, H3A 2S4, who will provide details of procedure for commission testing and access to the Inmarsat network.

5.5 Teleglobe or the applicant must advise the Department that access to Inmarsat has been arranged within the stipulated period, or request an extension of time.

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6. Modifications to Earth Stations

Any change to the technical and related details of an earth station, i.e. those submitted in response to Annexes C and D, may be considered to be a modification to the earth station.

Prior to implementing any such changes an applicant must advise the Department of details regarding these modifications. The licensee will be advised within thirty days of receipt of this information whether an additional response to Annex C must be provided, or whether further domestic or international coordination is required. It should be noted that notification to the IFRB may also be necessary. Any unauthorized modification to the earth station renders the radio licence invalid.

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7. Cancellation of Assignments

When a frequency assignment is no longer required by the applicant the Department must be informed immediately, in writing, giving sufficient details to completely identify the assignment. Note that in conformity with sections 2.2.2 & 2.3, the operator must notify the Department for a cancellation of the assignment to an earth station effective the expiry date of its corresponding space station, unless the earth station involved will continue to be used with an immediate successor space station that require no change in the earth station parameters. In the latter case, the procedures for modification (Section 6) will be required.

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8. Related Documents

Radiocommunication Act, October 4, 1989.

Radio Systems Policy RP-Gen, "Spectrum Policy Principles and Other Information Related to Spectrum Utilization and Radio System Policies".

Radio Systems Policy RP 010, "Policy Guidelines Concerning the Transfer of Radio Licences".

Standards Obstruction Markings - TP382, Transport Canada, Oct 5, 1990.

Guidelines for The Submission of Applications - CPC-2-0-01, Issue 1, February 1989.

Antenna Structure Clearance - CPC-2-0-02, September 1990.

Municipal Consultation on Non-Broadcasting Antennas and Antenna Supporting Structures - CPC-2-0-03, Issue 1, September 1990.

Limits of exposure to radio frequency fields at frequencies from 10 kHz to 300 GHz (Health and Welfare Canada, Safety Code 6) EHD-TR-160, 1991.

Canada Gazette Notice DGTP-002-84/TRS-012-84, "Restrictions on ownership of transmit earth stations lifted on April 1, 1986", dated April 14, 1984, Radio Act.

Radiocommunication Information Circular (RIC) 42, "Guide for the Calculation of Variable Licence Fees."

Telecommunications Regulatory Circular (TRC) 43, "Notes Regarding Designation of Emission, Class of Station and Nature of Service".

Radiocommunication Information Circular (RIC) 66; "Addresses and Telephone numbers of Headquarters, Regional and District offices" of DOC.

Radio Standards Procedure (RSP) 116; "Licence application Procedure for Television and/or Radio, Receive-Only (TVRO) earth stations in the Fixed-Satellite Service".

The Canadian "Table of Frequency Allocations". Form No. 16-21 "Mobile Radio Station Licence Application".

The Radio Regulations of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

Relevant Recommendations of the International Radio Consultative Committee (CCIR).

Spectrum Policies relevant to the frequency band in use (e.g. SP 3500 MHz).