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Archived — Notice No. DGRB-006-96

Industry Canada

Department of Industry Act and Radiocommunication Act

Notice No. DGRB-006-96

Spectrum Licence Fees For Mobile Satellite Services Using Radio Spectrum Below 1 GHz


An emerging class of global mobile satellite service (MSS) radiocommunication networks will provide Canadians with a variety of very low capacity, non-voice messaging and position location services throughout Canada. These mobile satellite networks will use radio frequency bands below 1 GHz which are allocated for mobile satellite services. Generally, these networks will use no more than 2-3 MHz of radio spectrum, and they will share the use of one or more of the bands of operation with other radiocommunication services. Where this is the case, the MSS networks must operate in a manner that avoids causing interference to the other services. To this end, there will be limits placed on, for example, the maximum number of transmissions from certain stations within the network, or on the amount of time that certain stations may transmit.

Under the authority granted in section 5.(1)(a)(i.1) of the Radiocommunication Act, the Minister will grant spectrum licences to successful applicants who wish to use these frequency bands for the provision of mobile satellite services in Canada. Such spectrum licences will permit the service provider to operate an unlimited number of subscriber earth stations in Canada. By means of this Notice, Industry Canada is proposing an authorization fee for the use of MSS radio spectrum below 1 GHz and seeking comments on the appropriateness of this fee. After the Department has reviewed all the responses to this notice, an appropriate fee will be set pursuant to section 19 of the Department of Industry Act.


Industry Canada is of the view that fees should reflect the economic value of the radio frequency spectrum resource consumed. However, in the absence of a market-based mechanism by which the economic value would be revealed, the Department recognizes that such determinations are difficult.

Having considered the potential Canadian market value of the spectrum resources in question and recognizing that MSS service providers are only granted very limited access to this spectrum, Industry Canada proposes an annual authorization fee of $1140 per 100 kHz, or portion thereof, of assigned radio spectrum for the use of radio frequency bands below 1 GHz to provide mobile satellite services in Canada. In fact, comments received in response to recent public consultations on new licence fees and regulations suggest that $25,000 would be an appropriate fee for these types of networks. This proposal of $25,000 was adjusted, using the amount of spectrum these systems are likely to utilize, to derive the proposed fee. It is further proposed that at the time of authorization the applicant pay a prorated issuance fee of $95 per 100 kHz for each month until the licence expires on March 31. Thereafter, the annual fees will be due on April 1st of each year.

The Department notes that these new MSS technologies have significant potential to compete with both existing and future spectrum-based, and conceivably non-spectrum based, technologies in the provision of telecommunications services. Further, the Department is concerned that the choice of technologies not be distorted by the availability of spectrum at a cost that is not representative of the opportunity cost associated with its use. Interested parties are invited to comment on the appropriateness of the proposed interim fee. At such time as Industry Canada has developed a general fee framework that can appropriately embrace these technologies or has available to it a market determined valuation, this interim fee will be adjusted accordingly.

Invitation to Comment

Interested parties are invited to comment on the appropriateness of the proposed interim fee. Submissions in response to this Canada Gazette notice should be addressed to Ronald Amero, Manager, Space Services Frequency and Orbit Management, Radiocommunication and Broadcasting Regulatory Branch, 300 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0C8. within 30 days after its publication. Submissions can also be sent by electronic mail to: (Internet). All representations should cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, the notice publication date, title and reference number.

This Canada Gazette notice is available electronically on the Internet at:

December 4, 1996

Jan Skora
Director General
Radiocommunication and Broadcasting Regulatory Branch

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