Archived — Notice DGTP-002-97

Department of Industry

Radiocommunication Act

Notice No. DGTP-002-97

Proposed Spectrum Policy Provisions to Permit the Use of Digital Radio Broadcasting Installations to Provide Non-broadcasting Services

Intent

The intent of this Notice is to invite public comment on proposed policy provisions to permit the use of Digital Radio Broadcasting (DRB) installations to provide non-broadcasting services.

In 1992, the Federal government established the Task Force on the Introduction of Digital Radio to coordinate the necessary steps required for the successful introduction of DRB in Canada. This industry/government Task Force was mandated to recommend a policy and regulatory framework, to the Departments of Industry and Canadian Heritage, for the development of DRB service during the transition period and beyond. Since that time, Industry Canada has had ongoing discussions with the broadcasting industry on how best to advance the proposed policy provisions for non-broadcasting services and how to encourage discussion with members of the wireless industry and interested parties generally. This consultation, and the proposed policy provisions, take these discussions and the recommendations of the Task Force into account.

A document entitled Proposed Spectrum Policy Provisions to Permit the Use of Digital Radio Broadcasting Installations to Provide Non-broadcasting Services is released by this Notice for public comment. The comments will provide the basis for the development of relevant policy provisions.

Invitation to Comment

Industry Canada invites interested and affected parties to provide their views and comments on the referenced policy document. Copies of the subject document of this Notice are available from the Communications Branch, Industry Canada, 235 Queen Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5, (telephone 613-947-7446) or from the offices of Industry Canada in Moncton, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

This document is available electronically via the Internet

Submissions in response to this Gazette Notice should be addressed to the Director General, Telecommunications Policy Branch, Industry Canada, 300 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0C8 and must be received on or before April 2, 1997 to receive full consideration. All representations should cite the Canada Gazette Notice publication date, title, and the Notice reference number.

Written comments received in response to this Notice will be made available for viewing by the public two weeks after the closing date of this Notice, during normal business hours, at the Industry Canada Library, 365 Laurier Ave. West, Ottawa, and at the offices of Industry Canada at Moncton, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver, for a period of one year from the close of the comment period.

Also, approximately two weeks after the close of the comment period, copies of the comments may be obtained, by mail order or over-the-counter, from ByPress Printing and Copy Centre Inc., 300 Slater Street, Unit 101A, Ottawa, K1P 6A6 (Telephone 613-234-8826). Reasonable costs of duplication will be charged.

January 24, 1997

Larry Shaw
Director General
Telecommunications Policy


Proposed Spectrum Policy Provisions to Permit the Use of Digital Radio Broadcasting Installations to Provide Non-broadcasting Service

  1. Introduction

    In 1992, the Federal government established the Task Force on the Introduction of Digital Radio to coordinate the necessary steps required for the successful introduction of digital radio broadcasting (DRB) in Canada. This industry/government Task Force was mandated to recommend a policy and regulatory framework, to the Departments of Industry and Canadian Heritage, for the development of DRB service during the transition period and beyond. Following consultation with Industry Canada, a working group on auxiliary digital radio initiatives was established to make recommendations to Industry Canada on a set of minimum guidelines for auxiliary data services as part of the implementation of DRB in Canada. Since that time, Industry Canada has had ongoing discussions with the broadcasting industry on how best to advance the proposed policy provisions for non-broadcasting services and how to encourage discussion with members of the wireless industry and other interested parties. This consultation and the proposed policy provisions take these discussions and the recommendations (Copies may be obtained by contacting the Secretary, Task Force on the Introduction of Digital Radio at Tel: 819-997-7345, or by Fax: 819-997-6352) of the Task Force into account.

    In this proposed policy discussion the term "broadcasting" is used as defined in the Broadcasting Act (R.S.C., 1991, c.11); the term "non-broadcasting" refers to those activities which fall outside that definition.

  2. Background

    It may be useful to review a number of policy and regulatory activities in order to understand the context in which this policy proposal is being developed. Therefore, the following background issues are offered for consideration.

    In 1994, the federal government confirmed its support for the transition from analogue radio broadcasting technology to digital radio broadcasting with the establishment of the Task Force on the Introduction of Digital Radio. During 1994 and 1995 government officials participated in the work of the Task Force which led to the development of the following spectrum principle:

    Principle 6

    "While the spectrum is allocated for the purpose of broadcasting programming, all licensed broadcasters on a full CD-quality digital radio channel should be permitted to market ancillary services (data services, etc.) associated with the transmission of a digital programming service."

    On October 19, 1994, Industry Canada released a revised Canadian Table of Frequency Allocationswhich allocated the frequency band 1452-1492 MHz for DRB in Canada. On January 12, 1995, Industry Canada released the spectrum policy entitled, Revisions to Microwave Spectrum Utilization Policies in the Range of 1-20 GHz, which included a transition plan for the displacement of fixed stations operating in the frequency band 1452-1492 MHz to accommodate the implementation of DRB.

    On June 14, 1995, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced a Call for Comments on a Proposed Approach to the Introduction of Digital Radio in which it outlined its general plans for the introduction of digital radio broadcasting in Canada and sought public comment on a proposed short-term licensing approach (CRTC Public Notice 1995-95). It also proposed a two-stage approach to the introduction of digital radio broadcasting in Canada, whereby the Commission would first establish a process for licensing digital radio undertakings on a transitional basis, and under certain conditions.

    The Department has also been active in completing work which began in the 1980's on a DRB technical standard. This was achieved with the adoption of the EUREKA-147 digital audio broadcasting system standard, a wide-band system designed to provide high quality digital radio broadcasting service in the frequency band 1452-1492 MHz (Notice No. SMBR-003-95). On June 15, 1996 the Department announced the publication of the Allotment Plan for Digital Radio Broadcasting (DRB), Issue 1 for existing AM and FM broadcasting undertakings and for future broadcasting services that will operate using the EUREKA-147 digital audio broadcasting system standard (Notice No. SMBR-001-96).

    With regard to broadcasters providing non-programming services, on January 30, 1996, in CRTC Telecom Decision 96-1 (Regulation of Broadcasting Distribution Undertakings that Provide Non-programming Services) the Commission, among other things, concluded that broadcasting distribution undertakings that own or operate a "transmission facility" as defined in the Telecommunications Act, are "telecommunications common carriers" when they use their distribution networks to provide non-programming service to the public for compensation including the provision of access to others to use their facilities to provide these services. In addition, on August 6, 1996 the federal government released the Convergence Policy which stated that it is the Government's policy to "ensure that anyone acting as both a broadcasting undertaking as defined in the Broadcasting Act, and as a "Canadian carrier" as defined by the Telecommunications Act is subject to both Acts, for those activities to which they respectively apply". The CRTC is currently establishing a regulatory framework consistent with this policy. In this regard, on December 6, 1996, the CRTC issued Telecom Public Notice CRTC 96-36, concerning the regulation of certain telecommunications services offered by broadcast carriers.

  3. Non-broadcasting Services on DRB Installations and Other Radio Broadcasting Facilities

    In the past, the Department has dealt with the issue of using broadcasting spectrum capacity for the transmission of non-broadcasting information provided by FM radio and television broadcasting installations. In the 1980's the CRTC outlined its objectives for the use of the Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operation (SCMO) channel of FM stations as well as the VBI (Vertical Blanking Interval) of television stations for non-programming services (see CRTC public notices 1984-17, 1988-33 and 1989-23). In this regard, the Department established a process whereby an amendment to the broadcasting certificate would enable broadcasters to make use of broadcasting spectrum capacity for such activities.

    In May of 1989, the Department sought public comment on the document entitled Radio Policy Guidelines Respecting Datacasting Services. At the time, it determined that there was insufficient need to proceed with specific policy provisions to deal with the use of broadcasting spectrum to provide non-broadcasting services. The Department of Industry's view with respect to SCMO, is that broadcasting spectrum capacity may be used for non-broadcasting purposes, provided that such use does not degrade the primary service i.e. audio broadcasting programming and that the offering of capacity to a third party is done on a non-discriminatory basis. In recent years, a number of legislative, regulatory and policy decisions have markedly changed the environment within which such auxiliary services could now be accommodated. DRB technology has also substantially increased the potential capacity to accommodate such services.

    The proposed policy provisions discussed herein, focus on the use of auxiliary DRB capacity by radio broadcasters as these installations are being implemented in Canada. A host of main sound programming and auxiliary non-broadcasting services could be provided, as the technology offers substantial transmission capacity for new applications. Broadcasters will be able to enhance high quality CD-like audio programming with programming-related signals. Some examples are supplementary information and advertising which are related to the audio broadcasting programming. Other uses of DRB spectrum capacity will be for non-broadcasting services such as radio paging, message location information, data transmission and other services. It is these non-broadcasting services which are not related to the audio broadcasting programming that the proposed policy provisions seek to address.

    In responding to the needs of broadcasters with the following proposed policy provisions, it is also Industry Canada's objective to address the concerns of the wireless industry that offer similar and competing non-broadcasting services. The concerns are two-fold. First, that all providers of non-broadcasting services be treated equally under the Radiocommunication Act. Second, that all providers of similar non-broadcasting services pay an equivalent radio licence fee. It should be noted that, during ongoing discussions with Industry Canada, broadcasters have drawn a distinction between those services that are programming-related which should be exempt from radio licensing and those that are not programming-related. The following proposed policy provisions address non-broadcasting services which are not related to the audio broadcasting programming.

  4. Proposed Spectrum Policy Provisions to Permit the Use of Digital Radio Broadcasting Installations to Provide Non-broadcasting Services

    In order to address the issues raised herein and to permit the use of DRB installations to provide non-broadcasting services, the Department invites comment on the following proposed policy provisions. It is proposed that the use of DRB installations to provide non-broadcasting servicesin the frequency band 1452-1492 MHz be subject to the following policy provisions:

    1. The use of DRB transmission capacity to provide non-broadcasting programming-related services, such as the alphanumeric transmission of supplementary information and advertising, is permitted under the authority of a broadcasting certificate issued under the Radiocommunication Act without being subject to a radio authorization and associated licence fee.
    2. The use of DRB transmission capacity to provide non-broadcasting services which are not related to the broadcasting programming, such as radio paging, radiolocation (radiodetermination used for purposes other than those of radionavigation) and alphanumeric data transmission, is permitted provided that: 
      1. the primary spectrum objective to provide transmission capacity for five audio broadcasting programs of CD-like quality is not compromised; and
      2. such services are authorized under the Radiocommunication Act and the Radiocommunication Regulations; and, are subject to a radio authorization, an associated licence fee and to any requirements under the Telecommunications Act.
    3. The use of DRB spectrum capacity for non-broadcasting services (including programming-related and non-programming related) does not prevent future use of the full complement of five high quality CD-like transmission channels for audio broadcasting programming.
    4. Where third party access to DRB installations is made available for non-broadcasting services, the transmission capacity shall be offered on a non-discriminatory basis.
    5. Users of DRB transmission capacity for non-broadcasting services cannot be guaranteed priority access to DRB installations as the spectrum capacity may be needed for DRB programming services. The designated spectrum must accommodate the long term requirement of digital radio broadcasting services.
  5. Related Questions

    In addition to comments that Industry Canada seeks on the proposed policy provisions outlined in section 4, the Department invites comments on the following questions: 

    1. Should the capacity associated with SCMO provided by FM radio facilities, which is used for non-broadcasting services such as paging and datacasting, be subject to some of the proposed policy provisions outlined in section 4? If so, which provisions should be applied and under what conditions?
    2. As stated in section 4, item 2(b), all providers of non-broadcasting services should be duly authorized and pay an equivalent radio licence fee. In this regard, broadcasters have proposed to the Department that a licence fee should be phased-in over a period of time to support the implementation of DRB. Should the Department consider such a phase-in?
    3. Are there any policy aspects, other than the policy provisions already proposed, which should apply where the owner of a DRB installation is not a broadcaster?
  6. Conclusion

    Based on the results of the public consultation initiated by this Notice on the proposed policy provisions and related questions, Industry Canada will enunciate a set of spectrum policy provisions to oversee the authorization and utilization of DRB transmission capacity to provide non-broadcasting services that are not related to audio broadcasting programming.

January 24, 1997

Larry Shaw
Director General
Telecommunications Policy

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