Archived — Gazette Notice No. DGTP-006-03 — Expansion of Spectrum for Fixed Wireless Access in the 3500 MHz Range

Department of Industry

Radiocommunication Act

Notice No. DGTP-006-03 — Expansion of Spectrum for Fixed Wireless Access in the 3500 MHz Range

Intent

This Notice announces an expansion of the spectrum available for Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) systems in the 3500 MHz range and provides further guidelines for the licensing of FWA on a first-come, first-served basis in rural areas. The sub-band 3475-3500 MHz (a 25 MHz block) is being added to the existing core band 3500-3650 MHz which was recently announced in Gazette Notice DGTP-002-03.1

Discussion

Recently, the Department rearranged the spectrum in the 3500 MHz range to accommodate priority spectrum for radiolocation and commercial FWA systems. This resulted in the band 3500-3650 MHz being designated as the core spectrum for FWA systems with the view to reduce the potential interference from high-power radiolocation systems. Also, the Department established that the primary allocation for fixed and radiolocation services was being retained in the band 3450-3500 MHz, with Canadian footnote C15, to protect the Government of Canada radar operations.

In DGTP-002-03, the Department indicated that it would not authorize any new FWA systems in the band 3450-3500 MHz until the interference environment, caused by radiolocation operation on FWA systems, had been fully characterized. Since then, the Department has finalized its assessment of the potential interference environment. Based on this assessment, the Department is designating additional spectrum for FWA systems and is removing some prohibitions previously established.

In releasing this additional spectrum across Canada, there will be more opportunity to develop local distribution facilities to accommodate new services and service providers.

Decisions

The Department is expanding the spectrum available for FWA systems based on further assessment and characterization of the potential out-of-band radar interference into the 3500 MHz range. The spectrum expansion is outlined below: 

  • The frequency block 3475-3500 MHz (Block D) is being released for FWA systems in all regions of Canada, with the exception of Vancouver Island;

  • Based on the extended studies, the band 3500-3525 MHz (Block E) is now designated in the Vancouver and Whistler areas of Southwestern B.C. Special mitigation measures may be required in the Vancouver area;

  • FWA systems will not be authorized on Vancouver Island, except where good shielding exists from mountainous terrain, particularly in inland locations, to mitigate interference from shipborne radiolocation operations. Such systems may be authorized, on a case-by-case basis, in spectrum blocks above 3500 MHz;

  • No FWA operators using the band 3500-3650 MHz should offer emergency service (i.e. 911) on Vancouver Island. This advisory is based on the high potential for interference.

In summary, the spectrum available for FWA systems in 3475-3650 MHz provides three paired blocks of 25 + 25 MHz with 100 MHz separation (i.e. Blocks D and H, E and J, and Block F and K). Block G remains as an unpaired block.

Band Plan and Designation Status
Block Frequencies (MHz)
A 3400 - 3425 Radiolocation C5*
B 3425 - 3450 Radiolocation C5*
C 3450 - 3475 FWA - suspended: Radiolocation C15*
D 3475 - 3500 FWA - new core spectrum Radiolocation C15*
E 3500 - 3525 FWA- core spectrum
F 3525 - 3550 FWA- core spectrum
G 3550 - 3575 FWA - core spectrum
H 3575 - 3600 FWA - core spectrum
J 3600 - 3625 FWA - core spectrum
K 3625 - 3650 FWA - core spectrum
L 3650 - 3675 (reserved)
M 3675 - 3700 (reserved)

* Refer to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations.

Further licensing guidelines are being enunciated in addition to the existing 1998 Spectrum Policy and Licensing Provisions for Fixed Wireless Access Systems in Rural Areas in the Frequency Range 3400-3700 MHz for applications processed under a first-come, first-served (FCFS) basis in rural and remote areas. The Department wishes to further promote the availability of advanced and affordable telecommunications services to rural and remote areas. This includes the availability of local distribution networks that may offer a range of telecommunications services, i.e. broadband Internet service. Accordingly, with the release of this additional spectrum, the Department is establishing further criteria to assess promising FWA applications so as to promote and accelerate the development of advanced services to rural areas.

Additional provisions to the existing 1998 Spectrum Policy and Licensing Provisions for Fixed Wireless Access Systems in Rural Areas in the Frequency Range 3400-3700 MHz are herewith established for the licensing of spectrum on a FCFS basis in rural areas. These will apply for the near term pending the issuance of the Policy and Licensing Framework for the upcoming auction.

The Department wishes to further clarify the existing licensing process for rural FWA applications, in particular the requirements under the initial six-month licence term, as follows: 

  1. the Department will continue to issue to new applicants, an initial six-month licence term for a block pair of 25 + 25 MHz, with the expectation that the licensee will have installed equipment or begun service of FWA systems before the licence expires;
  2. if the licence term expires prior to equipment installation or services beginning, renewal for another six-month licence term would not be automatic. Applicants seeking another six-month licence would require strong justification, including financing and service commitments. As an example, if an applicant had obtained financial resources from a government agency or a financial institution, or had contracted for radio equipment, these would be considered strong indicators that the applicant has the resources and commitment to implement. Failure to demonstrate these commitments to the Department, by the end of the six-month licence term, will render the spectrum available for other applicants; and
  3. in certain situations, where business projections and economics are such that the applicant can demonstrate to the Department that a second pair of blocks (i.e. 25 + 25 MHz) is justified, in addition to the first pair (for a total of 100 MHz), the Department may authorize such applications. Of course, applicants seeking renewal for a second six-month licence term will be subject to (ii) above.

For further information or clarification of these policy provisions, consult the appropriate regional office.

The Department will publish, in the near future, a policy and licensing framework for the auctioning of FWA spectrum in the core band 3475-3650 MHz.

To Obtain Copies

Copies are available electronically on the Spectrum Management and Telecommunications Web site at: http://www.ic.gc.ca/spectrum.

Paper copies can be obtained for a fee from:

St. Joseph Print Group Inc.
1165 Kenaston Street
P.O. Box 9809, Station T
Ottawa, Ontario
K1G 6S1
Phone Number: 613-746-4005
Toll free number: 1-888-562-5561
Fax: 819-779-2833
E-mail: DLSOrderdesk@eprintit.com

April 11, 2003

Issued under the authorization
of the Radiocommunication Act

______________________
Larry Shaw
Director General
Telecommunications Policy

________________________
R.W. McCaughern
Director General
Spectrum Engineering Branch


Footnote

1 DGTP-002-03 - Restructuring the Spectrum in the Band 3400-3650 MHz to More Effectively Accommodate Fixed and Radiolocation Services

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