Consultation on the Issuance of a Spectrum Licence to the Railway Association of Canada

Februrary 1999

1. Introduction

Industry Canada is seeking comments on the planned issuance of a spectrum licence to the Railway Association of Canada. Specifically, a single spectrum licence will replace all radio licences currently issued to the Railway Association of Canada (including its members, which account for more than 98 percent of all the railway traffic in Canada) in the frequency bands listed in Appendix A. Those frequencies are already allocated for the exclusive use of railway companies in Canada for core railway radiocommunications, with the exception of the 902-928 MHz band, which will be authorized on a shared, non-protection, non-interference basis, for the on-going deployment of the automatic equipment identification system.

2. Background

For over 50 years, Canadian railway operators, along with their American counterparts, have shared a common radio frequency plan to ensure the safe operation of trains on the railway network. The railway sector is currently undergoing a major restructuring. As a result of this evolution it must also be increasingly dynamic in the way it tackles the multiplicity of technological developments. The issuance of a spectrum licence will eliminate the administrative burden related to radio apparatus licencing for both the Railway Association of Canada and Industry Canada. It will also give to the Railway Association of Canada the opportunity to take a more active part in the organization, expansion and deployment of the radiocommunication networks related to this industrial sector. As well, it will reduce overall spectrum consumption by promoting the orderly integration, within the railway bands, of stations currently operating on shared frequencies outside these bands.

3. Spectrum Licences

3.1 General Considerations

The federal budget legislation of 1996 amended the Radiocommunication Act and introduced a new class of radiocommunication authorization, the Spectrum Licence, in order to accommodate the concept and process of area licensing. Area licensing benefits both Government and its clients by reducing the administrative burden associated with licensing radio apparatus. Common to all spectrum licences is authorization by geographical area(s) and frequencies or frequency block(s), and the responsibility of licensees to ensure that their networks are properly planned and coordinated.

To describe geographical areas, the department has introduced a Spectrum Grid. This grid is made up of spectrum grid cells and allows licensees and the department to refer to any geographical area in a consistent and simple manner. The spectrum grid cell is a six-sided figure covering 25 square kilometres. The cells fit together in an interlocking pattern over the geography of Canada. This geographical overlay of the Spectrum Grid is available on the Industry Canada web site. (http//www.ic.gc.ca)

3.2 The Railway Association of Canada

Pursuant to the powers vested in the Minister by virtue of subparagraph 5(1)(a)(i.1) of the Radiocommunication Act, Industry Canada proposes to issue a spectrum licence to the Railway Association of Canada according to the following guidelines:

  1. The spectrum licence would authorize the use of the frequencies listed in Appendix A.
  2. The geographical area covered by the spectrum licence would consist of a corridor bounded 70 km on each side of existing railway lines.
  3. The spectrum licence would be subject to the conditions listed in Appendix B.
  4. Members of the Railway Association of Canada would continue to be issued individual radio licences for radio apparatus operating outside the frequency bands listed in Appendix A.
  5. As the spectrum licensee, the Railway Association of Canada would be the Industry Canada contact point for all transactions involving the frequencies listed in Appendix A.
  6. Companies who are recognized as being railway operators and not members of the Railway Association of Canada would continue to be issued individual radio licences in respect of radio apparatus for all the frequencies currently assigned to them.
  7. Companies who are not recognized as being railway operators, but are assigned frequencies inside the frequency bands listed in Appendix A would continue to be issued individual licences in respect of radio apparatus. However, should the future deployment of a radiocommunication network require it, the Railway Association of Canada may initiate negotiations with the affected companies for the purpose of amending the licensed frequency.
  8. No new licensee would be authorized on the frequencies listed in Appendix A (with the exception of the 902-928 MHz band), within the geographical area covered by the spectrum licence.

3.3 Spectrum Licence Fee

In accordance with the Spectrum Licence concept, Industry Canada proposes to apply a fee proportional to the geographic area and the spectrum being licensed. For each 25 km2, it is proposed that an annual fee of $15.00 should apply for the exclusive use of the spectrum listed in Appendix A (with the exception of the 902-928 MHz band). The total spectrum licence fee would be comparable to the amount already paid by the members of the Railway Association of Canada under the current licence fee regime for the use of the frequencies listed in Appendix A. It should be noted that radio licence fees are currently being reviewed by the department and that the fees indicated may be subject to change under a new regime that would apply equally to radio and spectrum licences. For more information, please refer to Gazette Notice DGRB-002-96, Consultation on Radio Licence Fees - Phase 1.

4. Additional Information

Requests for additional information may be submitted to any of the department's offices in Moncton, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg or Vancouver; or by forwarding requests to the Internet e-mail address: RSL@ic.gc.ca.

5. Invitation to Comment

The department invites comments, preferably in electronic format, from all interested parties. Comments submitted in electronic format should be either in WordPerfect or Microsoft Word. All submissions should cite Canada Gazette Notice reference number DGRB-002-99. Please address comments sent by e-mail to: RSL@ic.gc.ca.

Written comments, or comments on a diskette or CD ROM should be sent to:

RSL
Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulatory Branch
Industry Canada
Room 1537 B - Jean Edmonds Tower North
300 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0C8

In order to be considered, comments must be received within 30 days after the publication of the announcement of the release of this document in the Canada Gazette.

6. Departmental Contact

For further information concerning the process outlined in this document or related matters, contact Daniel Lafrenière at 613-990-4738, by facsimile at 613-952-9871 or by e-mail at: Lafreniere.Daniel@ic.gc.ca

Appendix A

Railway Frequency Plan
Frequencies (MHz) Frequency Conditions
From 160.170 to 161.580 (Band edges) Except where noted below, this spectrum is reserved for the exclusive use of railway companies in Canada for core railway radiocommunications only. Please note Channels 161.550 MHz (16 kHz BW) and 161.565 MHz (16 kHz BW) are shared on a secondary basis with maritime stations.
From 452.8875 to 452.9625 paired with 457.8875 to 457.9625 Frequencies reserved for the exclusive use of railway companies in Canada for core railway radiocommunications.
Channel 262: 812.5375 / 857.5375

Frequencies reserved for the exclusive use of railway companies in Canada for core railway radiocommunications only.

The use of these frequencies must conform to Standard Radio System Plan 502 (SRSP-502).

Channel 272: 812.7875 / 857.7875
Channel 331: 814.2625 / 859.2625
902.000 to 928.000 Shared frequency band. Location and monitoring devices must conform to Radio Standards Specification 137 (RSS-137).
Channel 71: 935.8875 / 896. 8875 Frequencies reserved for the exclusive use of railway companies in Canada for core railway radiocommunications only. The use of these frequencies must conform to Standard Radio System Plan 506 (SRSP-506).
Channel 75: 935.9375 / 896.9375
Channel 79: 935.9875 / 896.9875
Channel 151: 936.8875 / 897.8875
Channel 155: 936.9375 / 897.9375
Channel 159: 936.9875 / 897.9875

Appendix B

Railway Association of Canada Proposed Spectrum Licence Conditions

  1. While site-specific radio authorizations will not be issued, the licensee must ensure that:
    • radio installations are installed and operated in a manner that complies with Health Canada's limits of exposure to radiofrequency fields;
    • where applicable, antenna structures are marked in accordance with the recommendations of Transport Canada; and
    • prior to installation of significant antenna structures, consultation with the appropriate land-use authorities has taken place.
  2. The licensee must comply with existing and future international coordination requirements and procedures. This includes coordination with the United States as new requirements are introduced.
  3. The licensee must provide, upon request, technical information on a particular station or network in the format prescribed by the department.
  4. Frequencies listed in Appendix A shall be used solely for radiocommunications related to railway services.
  5. The Railway Association of Canada will undertake any measures required to ensure that no harmful interference is caused to any radiocommunications stations installed on adjacent frequencies to those listed in Appendix A. Such measures may include the use of spectrum management tools, such as electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) studies, site monitoring, review of existing technical and administrative frequency lists or any other measure deemed necessary.
  6. The Railway Association of Canada will act as the single point of contact with Industry Canada for all transactions involving the frequencies listed in Appendix A.
  7. The transfer of this authorization to another party will not be allowed without full review of the application by Industry Canada and approval by the Minister.
  8. This spectrum licence is issued for a period of one (1) year and will be renewed yearly upon payment of the appropriate licence fee, before March 31 of each year.
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