Archived — Letter to SaskTel, 2004

Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0C8

July 8, 2004

W. Kym Wittal
Chief Technology Officer
SaskTel
2121 Saskatchewan Drive
Regina, Saskatchewan
S4P 3Y2

Dear Mr. Wittal: 

I am writing in response to your letter dated May 13, 2004, requesting approval of your revised deployment plans for the MCS spectrum licences issued to SaskTel on April 1, 2002.

The objective of the spectrum usage requirement set out in the licence conditions is to ensure that spectrum, a limited public resource, is put to use by those who have been given the privilege of access to it. The Department also realizes that the nature of the fast-paced telecommunications industry requires that our licensees react to a changing market and must adjust their business plans accordingly to reflect the current environment.

In reviewing your submission we have taken into consideration Sasktel's establishment of ADSL service to all but three of the communities listed in your original MCS licence application. However, we note that the three communities will receive either MCS or ADSL service in your revised implementation plan. We also note that you have brought high-speed services to all schools, libraries and higher educational institutions, however, you have not submitted an annual Learning Plan update since June 20, 2002. Please ensure that we receive the two missing annual updates as soon as possible.

While recognizing that the 2004 revised deployment plan varies from the originally approved plan, we are satisfied that the increased emphasis on smaller communities and rural areas is furthering the government objective of providing services to all Canadians. Hence the Department accepts your revised deployment plan.

The Department will continue to review SaskTel's performance and compliance with all the conditions of licence, in particular the amended licence condition (i) which says that you "must substantially adhere to the Sasktel system rollout plans in your detailed submission to the Department as amended in your May 11, 2004, letter."

The Department will consider the following measures to determine whether Sasktel has substantially adhered to the MCS system rollout plans: 

  • by March 31, 2005, a minimum of six sites providing MCS service to a minimum of 17 communities must be in service;
  • by March 31, 2006, a minimum of 21 sites providing MCS service to a minimum of 47 communities must be in service; and
  • by the end of the next two years ending March 31, 2008, a minimum of 57 sites providing MCS service to a minimum of 78 communities must be in service.

We will continue to require Sasktel to submit annual reports outlining overall progress until March 31, 2008, as per condition (xv) of the spectrum licence. The reports should detail the actual frequency usage on the established systems.

As you are aware, the Department released a consultation paper Revisions to Allocations in the Band 2500-2690 MHz and Consultation on Spectrum Utilization on April 30, 2004 [announced May 7, 2004 in the Canada Gazette], which discusses the addition of a mobile allocation to the Canadian frequency allocation table in this band as announced by the Minister November 16, 2001. This consultation raises issues regarding how to best reband the spectrum to maximize the potential for allowing the spectrum to move to the highest valued use while considering a number of other objectives of the spectrum management program. As a licensee in this band in Canada, we expect that Sasktel will participate in these consultations.

If you have any questions, please contact Heather Hall, Manager, Emerging Networks at 613-990-4411.

Sincerely,

Jan Skora
Director General
Radiocommunications and
Broadcasting Regulatory Branch

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