Local Multipoint Communication Systems (LMCS) in the 28 GHz Range: Policy, Authorization Procedure, and Evaluation Criteria

Table of Contents

  1. Building a More Competitive Communications Marketplace
  2. Background
  3. General Telecommunications Policy
  4. Frequency Band for Local Multipoint Communication Systems
  5. Authorization Policy for LMCS
  6. Round One: Selection Process for Blocks A and B 10
  7. Filing Address
  8. Further Information

Appendix A - Technical and Operational Requirements for LMCS A-1

Appendix B - Table 1 Service Areas and Fees

Appendix B - Table 2 Definition of Service Areas

Appendix C - Release of Information under the Access to Information Act

Appendix D - Information Related to Ownership and Control

Appendix E - Maps

1. Building a More Competitive Communications Marketplace

The purpose of this document is to set out the policy, evaluation criteria and phased authorization process for the implementation of Local Multipoint Communications Systems (LMCS) in the 28 GHz frequency range. This document initiates a process for awarding radio authorizations under the Radiocommunication Act.

LMCS can be characterized as wireless broadband distribution systems, operating in a cellular fashion, possibly providing an array of video, data and telephony services directly to residential and business subscribers. These broadband local distribution networks will act as local telecommunications common carriers and will be able to carry basic and advanced communications, multimedia and broadcasting services.

1.1 Within Canada

Canadians are currently served by two local distribution networks providing a range of broadcast and telecommunications services to consumer and business clients-the local cable TV network and the local telephone network. With advancements in the technologies used by each industry to deliver their services and ongoing change in the regulatory framework, soon each will be able to provide the others core services thereby offering a full range of services to consumers on a competitive basis. A key aim of the policy measures being adopted by Industry Canada is to foster diversity of choice for Canadian consumers and businesses among an expanded range of broadband local distribution networks. In announcing the policy and authorization procedures for Local Multipoint Communications Systems, it is the intention of the government to permit the establishment of a third local distribution network for broadcasting and telecommunications services which will be fully competitive with existing networks and offer another choice to consumers. The implementation of LMCS will advance competition in the local communications marketplace, stimulate economic growth, job creation and promote the development of innovative new technologies and services. One indicator of the economic benefits from the introduction of this new technology is the expected creation of 1400-1900 new jobs within the first 18 months.

1.2 World Leadership

The authorization of LMCS also offers Canadian companies the opportunity to showcase for the world market early implementation of advanced wireless technologies. Canadian companies with expertise in building or operating LMCS will contribute to the maintenance of Canada's world leadership in wireless technologies. This, in turn, will enhance opportunities for export of both goods and services to a world-wide market.

2. Background

On , Industry Canada issued Gazette Notice DGTP-013-94 entitled, Proposed Spectrum Policy to Accommodate Microwave Radio Systems, Including Local Wideband Distribution and Advanced Communication Satellites in Certain Bands Above 20 GHz. This Notice invited comments on a number of issues relating to the frequency bands 22, 28 and 38 GHz, including the types of radio system applications in the areas of satellite and terrestrial microwave communications including LMCS. It also outlined general telecommunications policy objectives that would be pursued by Industry Canada.

Among the matters raised for public comment regarding the implementation of LMCS were:

  1. suitable frequency band
  2. amount of spectrum and number of frequency blocks;
  3. sustainable competition and innovative applications; and
  4. approach for the authorization of LMCS under the Radiocommunication Act.

In response to Notice DGTP-013-94, twenty-five submissions were received. Some of the key points that prevailed in the consultation process include the following:

  1. LMCS technologies and services may evolve considerably over the next few years
  2. the use of the 27-28 GHz band, with expansion below 27 GHz, was preferred to other spectrum options
  3. approximately 1 GHz of spectrum would be required for the initial deployment of a Local Multipoint Communications System
  4. iv. the introduction of LMCS in Canada is expected to bring manufacturing and systems development opportunities both in Canada and in foreign markets
  5. Also during the past two years, Industry Canada has authorized a number of experimental licences to assess technology and distribution capabilities. Both the public submissions and the results of the field trials were given careful consideration in developing this policy.

top of page

3. General Telecommunications Policy

The Minister, in exercising his powers under the Radiocommunication Act, may have regard to the policy principles set out in the Telecommunications Act. The Telecommunications Act establishes several objectives of particular relevance to wireless services such as LMCS. These objectives include:

  1. enhancing the efficiency and competitiveness, at the national and international levels, of Canadian telecommunications;
  2. to foster increased reliance on market forces for the provision of telecommunications services; and,
  3. stimulating research and development in Canada in the field of telecommunications and encouraging innovation in the provision of telecommunications services.

As well, the Department has been guided by the objectives of the government's Information Highway strategy.

Wireless communications are expected to play key roles in advancing the capability of Canada's Information Highway. They promise to provide commercially viable, competitive alternatives to the existing and planned local distribution networks of telephone and cable TV companies. LMCS is expected to support the provision of innovative services such as interactive television and high speed access to the Internet.

LMCS may also provide alternative means of augmenting the capacity of existing telecommunications and broadcasting distribution networks.

It should be noted that entities which own or operate wireless transmission facilities and provide telecommunications services to the public for compensation, including LMCS, are generally subject to regulation by the CRTC under the Telecommunications Act. While distribution of broadcasting services is an application for which LMCS may be particularly well suited, applicants are cautioned that an award of a radio authorization for LMCS does not convey any rights under the Broadcasting Act.

It is expected that many of the telecommunications services carried on LMCS may require interconnection to public telecommunications networks. The CRTC, and in Saskatchewan, the relevant provincial authority, are responsible for approving the terms and conditions of interconnection for access to the public networks.

Interconnection standards will be required to facilitate the interconnection with public switched network. The Terminal Attachment Program Advisory Committee (TAPAC) will be asked to develop any necessary standards.

In creating this new broadband access facility of the Information Highway Infrastructure for Canada, due regard will be given to the requirement for interconnection between networks to result in the "network of networks" objective of the Information Highway.

Canadians have clearly expressed, in a number of fora, that they value their privacy. The possible use of radiocommunications (in LMCS) to effect the link between the communications of individual consumers and the conventional public switched telephone network (or other networks) has obvious ramifications for the privacy concerns of users, as evidenced most recently in the cellular area. LMCS provides an opportunity to introduce a relatively high level of privacy protection for both voice, video and data applications through the creative use of encryption and addressability.

4. Frequency Band for Local Multipoint Communication Systems

4.1 Spectrum Considerations

Gazette Notice DGTP-013-94 indicated that Industry Canada intended to designate sufficient frequency spectrum above 20 GHz for LMCS applications, having due regard for other radio services that may share this spectrum. Industry Canada invited comment on a proposal that suggested the 27-28 GHz band be designated as a core band for LMCS and that expansion for LMCS take place above and/or below this band. Except for a concern expressed regarding the sharing with the inter-satellite service in 25.25-27.5 GHz band, the development of LMCS in this band was viewed positively.

Some comments suggested that Canada await the conclusion of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rulemaking on Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS) because alignment of spectrum allocations with the U.S. could have economic and technical benefits. Some strong opposition to the implementation of LMCS in part of the 27.5-29.5 GHz (Ka band) was registered by potential future users of the spectrum for fixed satellite networks and feeder links for mobile satellite networks. These concerns relate to sharing difficulties with terrestrial LMCS operations, and the future satellite needs in the higher portion of the Ka band.

In general, there was support for the use of the core band 27-28 GHz and the spectrum below 27 GHz (ie 25.25-27 GHz) for LMCS while taking into account inter-satellite service operation. The implementation of high density LMCS will be mainly in 5 urban centres and subject to the power limits and operational requirements of the International Radio Regulations of the ITU.

top of page

4.2 Spectrum Policy for LMCS in the 28 GHz Band

The spectrum designated for LMCS applications will be essentially for high capacity multipoint communications systems having unidirectional and/or bidirectional transmission coverage over local areas providing wide access to residential and business customers. LMCS makes extensive use of cellular design for efficient frequency re-use and, depending on the technology, may transmit over line-of-sight and/or reflective paths.

Industry Canada, having given consideration to both the need to make a significant amount of spectrum available for the development of a diversity of local multipoint communications systems as defined above, and to the number of potential operators, is designating the band 25.35-28.35 GHz for the development of LMCS in Canada. This spectrum is divided into six frequency blocks of 500 MHz. The band 25.35-28.35 GHz will allow authorized entities to provide service in local areas and will support the spectrum requirements of more than one service provider.

The frequency plan and block availability adopted for LMCS are as follows:

  • Block A 500 MHz 27.85-28.35 GHz
  • Block B 500 MHz 27.35-27.85 GHz
  • Block C 500 MHz 26.85-27.35 GHz (reserved)
  • Block D 500 MHz 26.35-26.85 GHz (reserved)
  • Block E 500 MHz 25.85-26.35 GHz (reserved)
  • Block F 500 MHz 25.35-25.85 GHz (reserved)

During Round One of authorization, Industry Canada will consider applications for two blocks of 500 MHz (blocks A and B). The remaining four blocks (C, D, E, and F) will be reserved for a period of time not less than 18 months nor more than 36 months after the authorization of blocks A and B for future development of LMCS systems. In determining the amount of spectrum that will be released at this time for Round One, the Department has been mindful that the regulatory framework for local competition in telecommunications and broadcasting is still under development. As well, adaptation of technology is required for LMCS in the lower part of the spectrum. Hence Industry Canada considers it reasonable to open only two blocks of 500 MHz to authorization at this time.

4.3 General Conditions

4.3.1 LMCS providing interactive or two-way services will operate both forward and return communications links within the assigned block(s) of spectrum.

4.3.2 LMCS technologies are being developed which promise to deliver a wide range of services in a reliable and cost effective manner. The technology to be implemented will depend on the system design and the telecommunications and broadcasting services being carried. Thus, Industry Canada will not mandate technical requirements except to facilitate coordination between LMCS and between LMCS and inter-satellite links where they share spectrum. For such coordination Industry Canada has established the technical criteria provided in Appendix A. Further, Industry Canada will not mandate the types of services to be carried by LMCS providers other than the proposed system must be a high capacity, broadband multipoint system.

4.3.3 Fixed satellite earth stations may have access to the 27.5-28.35 GHz frequency range outside LMCS market areas subject to spectrum sharing conditions.

Date modified: