Archived — Notice No. SMBR-001-96

Industry Canada

Government Notices

Radiocommunication Act

Notice No. SMBR - 001 - 96

Allotment Plan for Digital Radio Broadcasting (DRB), Issue 1

Industry Canada announces the publication of the Allotment Plan for Digital Radio Broadcasting (DRB), Issue 1, for stations operating within the 1452 to 1492 MHz frequency band (L-band) using the EUREKA 147 (DAB) system. This is a wide-band digital transmission system adopted in Canada as an eventual replacement for AM and FM analog sound broadcasting and was the subject of Canada Gazette SMBR-005-95, "System Standard for Digital Radio Broadcasting (DRB) in Canada", published on November 25, 1995.

The Allotment Plan is based on principles recommended by the Task Force on the Introduction of Digital radio. It reflects data available to January 1, 1996, and corrects all known omissions or errors that were reported from the Draft Allotment Plan for Digital Radio Broadcasting (DRB), Draft 2, published in September 1995. It is expected that the Plan will evolve with time and will be updated as practical experience is gained during implementation.

The Plan, as published, provides for a digital allotment for each AM and FM broadcasting station, vacant allotment and application existing as of January 1, 1996. However, the continued availability of a digital allotment for any AM or FM station will depend on the applications received for the digital service and any modifications made to the Plan during the licensing process. It should be noted that in many locations in Canada, the Plan contains vacant allotments that can accommodate AM or FM stations applied for after January 1, 1996 and to allow a measure of future growth.

Comments on the Draft Allotment Plan

Industry Canada received seven responses to Notice No. SMBR - 004 - 95, Draft Allotment Plan for Terrestrial Digital Radio Broadcasting (DRB), which was published in the Canada Gazette on September 16, 1995. Most commenters were in general agreement with the allotment strategy adopted for the Plan. The following provides a brief summary of recurring themes in the comments and our response to them.

  • The Department should maintain regulatory flexibility for DRB implementation to facilitate introduction of service, provide optimized coverage and encourage necessary experimentation.
  • Several submissions underlined the particular importance of maintaining flexibility in seeking alternative groupings of partners assigned to any given DRB channel within any given area.
  • Some respondents proposed modifications to particular DRB allotments.
  • Some respondents requested that the Plan should provide them with additional allotments to accommodate their future plans.
  • Some respondents urged that additional spectrum be sought for DRB to facilitate longer-term satellite implementation.

Discussion

In developing the Plan, possible DRB coverages using specific transmitter locations and operating parameters were developed in order to obtain the frequency re-use contour (FRC) for each digital service area (DSA). However, to allow flexibility in implementing DRB, the Plan does not identify specific operating parameters or transmitter locations but allows these parameters to vary so long as the implementation remains within the FRC envelope. It is the intention of the Department to retain this flexibility in the implementation of allotments. Consequently, the DRB application procedure, BPR Part V, which is under preparation, will reflect this concept.

Concerning the station groupings (up to five) on each channel, these were based only upon similarities in existing coverage areas of FM and AM broadcasting undertakings. Since the Plan's objective was to provide DRB channels to replace the existing AM and FM services, stations of closely similar coverage were, as far as possible, grouped together on the same channel in order to obtain maximum spectrum efficiency. However, it is recognized that for various other reasons rearrangement in the groupings may be desirable. Industry Canada has no objections to regrouping provided that the integrity of the Plan, i.e. spectrum efficiency, digital service area and frequency re-use contours, is not compromised. Accordingly, any changes in groupings may be addressed at the time of the licensing process.

As for the requests by some commenters for additional allotments or for reservation of channels to meet their future needs, this is an issue that is outside the scope of this plan which was to provide for a digital replacement for AM and FM stations. It should be noted, however, that in addition to digital replacements for assignments, the Plan provides replacements for unused AM and FM allotments and these could be used for future expansion. Also, in some communities there are DRB channels with fewer than five targeted program services. This unassigned capacity could be considered by applicants for additional programming services at the time of implementation. Further, even where there is no unassigned capacity on a DRB channel in a particular location, the Department will be prepared, at the time of application, to examine the technical feasibility of adding a channel based on the criteria relevant to the specific application.

Concerning the request for additional spectrum to facilitate longer-term satellite implementation, this is not a subject that is judged as urgent, and thus will not be addressed at this time.

Some commenters addressed issues in their response which were specific to their situation. The Department will be replying directly to those commenters on these issues.

It should be noted that, as mentioned in SMBR-004-95 concerning the Draft Allotment Plan, allotments near the Canada/US border require coordination with the United States. Discussions in this regard are proceeding. Nevertheless, in the meantime, applications will be considered by the Department on a case by case basis.

In order to comply with system specifications, the centre frequencies appearing in the preamble to this allotment plan have been changed from those of the previous version.

Further Information

Copies of the Allotment Plan for Digital Radio Broadcasting (DRB), Issue 1 may be obtained from the:

Publishing Services Centre, DOSP-P
300 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0C8

or from the Department's regional offices in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Moncton. The Plan is also available electronically on the Internet at the following WWW address:

http://info.ic.gc.ca/ic-data/telecom/dgse/index.html

Inquiries regarding the Plan may be sent to the:

Director, Broadcast Planning and Technical Policy Division (DBCP)
Spectrum Engineering Branch
Industry Canada
300 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0C8
telephone 613-998-2916

or at the Internet address broadcast.gazette@ic.gc.ca in the case of E-mail.

Dated at Ottawa this 7th day of June 1996.

R. W. McCaughern
A/Director General
Spectrum Engineering Branch

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