Backgrounder

Licensing of Multipoint Communications Systems in the 2500 MHz Range

In June 1999, Industry Canada launched a comparative licensing process for Multipoint Communications Systems (MCS) at 2500 MHz. While spectrum licences are usually granted on a first-come, first-serve basis, Industry Canada decided to use a comparative licensing process after it received a large number of radio applications for the development of MCS over a short period of time and because the amount of requests far exceeded the spectrum available in the band.

MCS is a general term used to describe radio systems where one main radio station is able to communicate with many locations within a given area. MCS enables interested parties to offer a wide variety of services, including voice, data, multimedia and broadcasting applications directly to residential and business subscribers.

To enable potential licensees to react to market conditions and technical advances as they occur, no restrictions were put on the types of services that could be offered in this band. Applicants, though, had to demonstrate support for lifelong learning within their commercial services.

A learning focus was added to the licensing process as a result of public consultations launched in December 1997. Many respondents made convincing arguments that MCS systems could be used efficiently to contribute to the advancement of learning for all Canadians, an important element of the Government's Connecting Canadians strategy. Therefore, applicants had to demonstrate that their submissions included a learning component that would foster or improve Canadians' acquisition of skills and knowledge. This could involve schools, colleges, universities, public libraries or other non-profit and government accredited institutions or those which provide a government-approved curriculum/program.

Learning Authorities identified by Industry Canada were responsible for liaising with the learning community and the applicants in their province or territory to ensure that the needs of the community are best served through the “Learning Plan” included in the MCS proposals.

In October 1999, eight companies applied for licences in service areas covering the entire country, for a total of 52 different applications. Industry Canada posted each applicant's Learning Plans and non-confidential detailed submissions on the Internet at: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/home in order to obtain comments from all interested parties. Comments received on or before , were also posted on this site. The successful applicants will be authorized to deploy their systems upon payment of their licence fees. Industry Canada has set an annual authorization fee of $1.30 per 1000 households per 1 MHz of spectrum in each service area.

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