Archived — Notice No. DGTP-005-96

Industry Canada

Radiocommunication Act

Notice No. DGTP-005-96

Proposed Spectrum Utilization Policy to Support a Mix of Integrated Mobile and Fixed Service Applications in Certain Frequency Bands Below 960 MHz

1. Introduction

The purpose of this Notice is to invite comment on a proposed spectrum utilization policy that is intended to provide flexibility in the application of established spectrum policy to support a mix of integrated mobile and fixed service applications in certain frequency bands below 960 MHz.

The Department of Industry has received requests, from mobile radio service providers operating in the bands 800 and 900 MHz, to use frequency assignments designated on a primary basis for mobile services to provide a suite of integrated radio services which include fixed radio applications. Similar applications are envisaged for fixed radio service providers operating in spectrum designated primarily to fixed services where the integration of wireless access devices that function as mobile radio stations would be required. These situations have resulted from the converging requirements of both mobile and fixed radio services and the use of wireless access devices in integrated radio applications.

A document entitled Proposed Spectrum Utilization Policy to Support a Mix of Integrated Mobile and Fixed Service Applications in Certain Frequency Bands Below 960 MHz is available for public comment. These comments will provide the basis for the development of relevant spectrum utilization policies.

2. 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 613-947-7466)

or from its offices in Moncton, Montréal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

This document is available electronically via the Internet at the following addresses: 

Anonymous file transfer (FTP)
info.ic.gc.ca/pub/ic-data/telecom/gazette

Gopher
info.ic.gc.ca port 70/Industry Canada Documents/telecom/gazette

World Wide Web (WWW)
http://info.ic.gc.ca/ic-data/telecom/telecom-e.html

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 November 20, 1996 to receive full consideration. All representations should cite the Canada Gazette Part 1 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, Montréal, 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.

For further information contact David Warnes at 613-998-4010 or at Internet address Warnes.David@ic.gc.ca

Dated at Ottawa this 9th day of July, 1996

Michael Helm
Director General
Telecommunications Policy Branch


Proposed Spectrum Utilization Policy to Support a Mix of Integrated Mobile and Fixed Service Applications in Certain Frequency Bands Below 960 MHz

1. Introduction

The purpose of this Notice is to invite comment on a proposed spectrum utilization policy that is intended to provide flexibility in the application of established spectrum policy to support a mix of integrated mobile and fixed service applications in certain frequency bands below 960 MHz.

2. Background

The Department of Industry has received requests, from mobile radio service providers operating in the bands 800 and 900 MHz, to use frequency assignments designated on a primary basis for mobile services to provide a suite of integrated radio services which include fixed radio applications. Similar applications are envisaged for fixed radio service providers operating in spectrum designated primarily to fixed services where the integration of wireless access devices that function as mobile radio stations would be required. These situations have resulted from the converging requirements of both mobile and fixed radio services and the use of wireless access devices in integrated radio applications.

The Department uses the terms fixed (radio) service and mobile (radio) service as defined by the International Telecommunications Union. Indeed, these radio service definitions form the basis for the allocation of radio spectrum internationally by the ITU as well as domestically in the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations. For the most part, the ITU has made joint allocations to the mobile and fixed services in various frequency bands. In the Canadian Table traditionally a choice has been made between the two services.

Certain evolving applications such as the point-of-sale terminals do not fit explicitly into the definitions of either the fixed or the mobile service. The Department is persuaded that the appropriate approach is to apply some flexibility in the interpretation of these definitions to be able to embrace these integrated applications under the umbrella of the fixed and mobile services. The key to the interpretation of the use of these terms in this policy discussion, is the concept of mobility. If the device is intended to be used in motion or is normally moved from place to place, we have considered this as part of the mobile service. If not, then its is considered to be in the fixed service.

The Department has previously established spectrum policy provisions that provide flexibility in the use of spectrum of the frequency bands designated for cellular radio and personal communications services. These bands will not be the subject of this policy consultation. This review will consider whether to adopt more flexible spectrum utilization policy directions to support integrated radio applications requirements in certain bands below 960 MHz. It should be noted that the Department intends to pursue the important objective of increasing mobile spectrum efficiency and capacity in some of these frequency bands as stated in previous spectrum policy reviews . Also, forthcoming policy directions for the redeployment of mobile service spectrum in the bands 150 MHz and 450 MHz are expected to increase radiocommunications capacity through the use of more spectrum efficient technologies.

Initially, the Department foresees that the application of policy flexibility to meet integrated radio service needs may first be applied in the frequency ranges 800 MHz and 900 MHz. However, the final policy that results from this Notice may be applied to other bands below 960 MHz in the future where appropriate. As a long-standing practice, the Department has applied some flexibility in its interpretation of frequency allocations. This flexibility has permitted radio licensees to operate their systems according to the primary frequency allocation while accommodating secondary service requirements subject to certain conditions. Generally, a balanced approach is required when applying flexibility to spectrum policy in the spectrally congested bands, as the needs of all users must be met within the primary designation of the bands. This approach is applied whether the service is fixed or mobile. An example of where flexibility has been provided is in the application of the provision permitting very low capacity fixed systems in the mobile bands on a secondary basis 120 Km or more from spectrally congested centres (Radio Systems Policy RP-004).

Requests have been received from mobile radio operators to use a number of radio stations in a fixed mode for interactive data transmission (e.g. point-of-sale devices and other data transactions, telemetry and data acquisition). In some cases, the mobile dispatch and voice communications devices are operated permanently at one location. In other cases, there are fixed stations in multi-point communications systems operating at 900 MHz that are highly portable within a coverage area. There are also cases where the fixed stations are nomadic devices that can be operated in any location on a national network. The integration of applications may prove to be an efficient and economical means of meeting diverse consumer needs while maintaining an efficient use of spectrum.

There may be cost benefits or spectrum efficiencies that accrue to radio users if fixed and mobile applications can be integrated within the same frequency band provided that the primary use of either the fixed or mobile service allocation is sustained to meet the demand of the primary allocation. The Department has to establish whether adequate spectrum is available for the primary use while permitting a secondary application. It must also develop the options or alternatives for mobile or fixed service spectrum use in the event that there are spectrum shortfalls. In such cases, the Department would continue to require these radio systems to migrate to a more appropriate co-primary band.

Policy flexibility to support a mix of integrated service applications, has the potential to use up a considerable amount of mobile or fixed spectrum. In the heavily congested areas of the country, this may result in additional scarcity of primary spectrum. In the past, spectrum users/service providers in the fixed and mobile services were designated to operate in specific frequency bands for their respective purposes. Very few frequency bands exist were users can jointly operate fixed and mobile systems in the same spectrum. In addition, there are no new frequency bands that, in the near future, could be opened up below 960 MHz to further accommodate co-primary use between the fixed and mobile radio services. Consequently, any policy flexibility to support a mix of integrated service applications must be balanced in order to retain enough spectrum to meet primary service objectives.

The Department recognizes, as outlined above, that radio service providers are striving to meet customer demands in a competitive environment with the potential efficiency of integrated radio service offerings. The emergence of integrated radiocommunication systems is evident in other areas of radiocommunications. However, this review does not currently contemplate changes to domestic spectrum allocations among radio services, rather, it is the Department's central objective in this consultation to provide for a practical spectrum policy flexibility that will help radio service providers respond to customer needs.

3. Proposed Spectrum Utilization Policy

The Department proposes, subject to the local level of spectrum congestion, that radio systems operating in certain frequency bands in the ranges 800 MHz and 900 MHz, may provide a mix of mobile and fixed applications where the use is:

  1. for digital transmissions (voice, data);
  2. in accordance with spectrum policies and radio standards;
  3. complementary to the growth requirements and allocation provisions of the primary service;
  4. spectrum efficient; and
  5. for an integrated radiocommunication system.

Comments on the above-mentioned proposed spectrum utilization policy and the following questions are invited. Respondents are also invited to provide comments on any other issues relevant to this policy initiative.

1. (a) How can the Department accommodate mixed service radio systems in the frequency ranges 800 MHz and 900 MHz ranges, that are allocated for either fixed or mobile services, while still ensuring that there is sufficient spectrum for primary use?

(b) Should the Department establish certain limits for radio systems in urban areas which do not meet the objectives of the primary service allocations? If so, what would constitute appropriate limits for these systems, e.g. percentage of traffic not meeting the primary allocation, or the grade of service?

2.(a) In which frequency bands in the 800/900 MHz range should this proposed policy be applied ?

(b) Is it appropriate to extend this policy to other fixed and mobile bands below 800 MHz?

(c)(i) Should applicants be required to file growth projections for the provision of integrated services on their radio systems?

(ii) If growth projections are expected to meet or exceed the established limits, should applicants be required to file transition plans for vacating spectrum when growth of integrated systems exceeds the available primary service allocation?

(iii) To what degree should regulatory oversight be maintained for a licensee providing integrated systems? Should applicants/licensees be expected to file periodic status reports with the Department indicating the amount of integrated services being offered (If yes, how often), similar to the information reporting requirement for trunked radio systems?

3. Should the technical compatibility of the new integrated radio applications be strictly in accordance with the existing technical standards (SRSP's and RSS's) in order to ensure protection of existing systems, or should technical standards be made more flexible to accommodate the introduction of innovative technologies ?

4. (a) Should an overall increase of spectral efficiency of the system be required when introducing new integrated radio applications?

(b) How should requests for additional capacity be handled for systems providing integrated services, including the primary and additional services?

(c) Recognizing mobile demands in congested areas, what are the options/ alternatives that the Department should explore in satisfying this demand?

5. The number of applications for integrated radio services is increasing. What is projected, in the short term and in the longer term, in terms of a future mix of service applications below 960 MHz? Will systems continue to be predominantly mobile or fixed in nature, or will there be additional demand for integrated radio services?

6. Should this proposed policy be extended to service providers who wish to enhance their customer needs on their parallel radio systems ( i.e stand alone systems providing fixed or mobile services respectively) rather than integrated radio systems?

7. Radio Systems Policy RP-004 provides policy flexibility for the utilization of spectrum for radio links. Should the availability of spectrum for wireless local loop also be accommodated in urban areas and under what criteria should this take place?


Last update: July 23, 1996 (jp)
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