SAB-001-03 — Moratorium on Multipoint Distribution Services (MDS) Broadcasting Spectrum in Unlicensed Areas

Industry Canada intends to update the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations and carry out public consultation on the unassigned MDS spectrum. To proceed with spectrum planning, a moratorium is being imposed on the availability of MDS spectrum in the band 2596-2686 MHz for regions of Canada where MDS broadcasting distribution licences have not been issued. The moratorium on unassigned spectrum areas will not affect existing MDS broadcasting licences and the authorized serving areas. The moratorium will remain in effect until the completion of the public process, which is anticipated to take 18 to 24 months. For more information, please refer to the letter to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) dated June 20, 2003.


Letter to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)

June 20, 2003

Ms. Andrée Wylie
Vice-Chairperson, Broadcasting
Canadian Radio-television
and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N2

Dear Ms. Wylie:

Subject: MDS Broadcasting Spectrum in Unlicensed Areas

In the past year, our staff have met to discuss the use of spectrum for Multipoint Distribution Services (MDS) broadcasting distribution in the band 2596-2686 MHz for both broadcasting service and high-speed Internet.

As you know, the technology and business plans of MDS services continue to evolve. We have noticed a significant increase in MDS spectrum being requested for telecommunications services, specifically Internet access. While we have issued conditional radiocommunication carrier licences for Internet service to the MDS operators, we recognize that sufficient spectrum has to be retained for broadcasting purposes to enable the operators to comply with the programming distribution obligations of their licences.

Furthermore, in November 2001, the Minister of Industry issued a News Release regarding the Multipoint Communications Services (MCS) in the frequency band 2500-2596 MHz and MDS to deal with changes in the spectrum planning activities in the United States. The News Release (copy enclosed) announced new spectrum allocations for fixed and mobile services across the entire spectrum range.

It is noted that MDS broadcasting licences have not been issued in several areas of Canada, including the province of Alberta and the Atlantic provinces, since the opening of this spectrum in 1984.

The department intends to update the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations and carry out public consultation on the unassigned MDS spectrum. We wish to inform the Commission and the industry that a moratorium is being imposed on the availability of MDS spectrum for areas where MDS broadcasting licences have not been issued.

The moratorium on unassigned spectrum-areas will not affect existing MDS broadcasting licences and the authorized serving areas or the ability of the Commission to deal with these licences as required, e.g. modifications, renewals, transfers, etc. Also, MDS spectrum is available for any MDS application that may currently be on hand at the Commission. The moratorium will remain in effect until the completion of the public process, which is anticipated to take 18 to 24 months.

Our objective is to enable the development of this important spectrum to provide the services that will most benefit consumers. For further information, please call Fernand Léger of our Telecommunications Policy Branch at 613-998-4470.

Sincerely yours,

Michael Binder
Assistant Deputy Minister
Spectrum, Information Technologies
and Telecommunications

Encl.

c.c. Heritage Canada
MDS operators

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