Archived — Notice No. DGRB-004-03

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Department of Industry

Radiocommunication Act

Notice No. DGRB-004-03 — Unassigned Personal Communications Services (PCS) Spectrum in the 2 GHz Frequency Range

Intent

This Gazette Notice is to inform interested parties that the Department intends to licence the Personal Communications Services (PCS) spectrum not assigned following the PCS spectrum auction process completed in 2001, either on a First-come, First-served basis (FCFS) or, where demand exceeds supply, by auction. Should an auction be required, the Department intends to adopt a simplified and streamlined process recognizing that the number of licences is small and the level of contention will likely be limited.

Discussion

On November 5, 1999, the Minister of Industry initiated a competitive licensing process for additional spectrum for Personal Communications Services (PCS). There was 40 MHz of spectrum divided into four paired blocks (5 MHz + 5 MHz ) in the 2 GHz frequency range. The licences were defined geographically, essentially along provincial boundaries, with some exceptions. In January 2001, the Department proceeded with the auction which resulted in 52 out of the 62 PCS spectrum licences being awarded to successful bidders. Ten PCS spectrum licences received no bidding activity.

In the document entitled Policy and Licensing Procedures for the Auction of Additional PCS Spectrum in the 2 GHz Frequency Range (found at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/h_sf02076.html) the Department stated that any "licences that go unsold will be offered in a re-auction that will begin between six and twelve months after the close of the initial auction." As well, in the document entitled Framework for Spectrum Auctions in Canada (2001) (found at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf01626.html), it is stated that "should a licence not receive a bid during the auction, the Department may make this licence available for licensing through an alternative process (such as first-come, first served) at a later date following the close of the auction". The Department believes that it is now an appropriate time to offer the unassigned PCS spectrum, primarily on a FCFS basis and secondarily, should demand for a licence exceed supply, by auction.

The PCS licences available are: 

2-07A – Northern Quebec
2-07B – Northern Quebec
2-07C – Northern Quebec
2-07D – Northern Quebec
2-11B – Saskatchewan
2-14A – Yukon, N.W.T. & Nunavut
2-14B – Yukon, N.W.T. & Nunavut
2-14C – Yukon, N.W.T. & Nunavut
2-14D – Yukon, N.W.T. & Nunavut
2-15F – QuebecTel Area

* Licences for all blocks are 5 MHz + 5 MHz symmetrically-paired blocks, however, the Department may consider applications for portions of these blocks.

A complete list of current licensees and unassigned PCS spectrum licences from the 2001 auction is available at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf05550.html.

Further details on the 2001 spectrum auction licensing process are available on the Auction of Additional PCS Spectrum in the 2 GHz Frequency Range Web page and apply to the process outlined in this Gazette Notice.

Decision and Process

One of the goals of the Department, as outlined in the 2001 Spectrum Policy Framework for Canada, is to release spectrum for licensing in a timely manner so that it can be used and produce benefits for all Canadians. Generally spectrum is not withheld, except when advocated by specific policy issues.

The Department recognizes the importance of encouraging a competitive marketplace to ensure that economic benefits are maximized. Measures available to the Government to promote a competitive post-auction marketplace include the application of two guiding competition principles, as outlined in the Framework for Spectrum Auctions in Canada. The two guiding competition principles address the restriction of spectrum acquisition by certain entities and the placing of limits on the amount of spectrum any one entity may hold. The Department will not impose any additional restrictions on eligibility to either the First-Come, First-Served or the streamlined auction process.

First-Come, First-Served Process

The Department intends to make the unassigned spectrum available, where possible, using the First Come, First-Served (FCFS) process.

All licensees must be eligible to become radiocommunication carriers as described in Section 10(2) of the Radiocommunication Regulations, and as such must meet the related ownership and control requirements (refer to CPC-2-0-15 at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf01763.html). Furthermore, the licence conditions applicable to the spectrum awarded through the 2 GHz PCS auction will also apply to any licence issued through the FCFS process. These licence conditions are available at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf05471.html.

In order to determine whether demand can be accommodated by an FCFS process, all interested parties must submit an application by the deadline outlined below, under Additional Details.

Fees

In December 2002, the Department issued the Consultation on a New Fee and Licensing Regime for Cellular and Incumbent Personal Communications Services (PCS) Licensees. In the paper, the Department proposes a harmonization of fees for carriers holding cellular and/or PCS licences. Comments and reply comments have been received and are currently under consideration. The Department proposes that any licences issued under this licensing process be subject to the fees that will be established as a result of that consultation process. Further information on the licence fee consultation is available at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf05584.html.

Auction Process

Should the demand for a particular licence surpass the available supply, the Department intends to make the spectrum available by a simple and streamlined auction process. Only applications submitted before the deadline outlined below, under Additional Details, will be eligible to participate in the auction.

The licences awarded under the auction process will be subject to the same requirements as noted under the First-Come, First-Served process above and as outlined in the Final Policy and Licensing Procedures for the Auction of Additional PCS Spectrum in the 2 GHz Frequency Range at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf02136.html.

The licences will be assigned by a streamlined auction process, allowing for a more rapid conduct of an auction than is usually possible in a large, multi-licence auction.

Additional Details

In order to determine whether demand can be accommodated by a FCFS process, all interested parties must submit an application, including the name and the address of the applicant, the frequency block (or portion thereof) and the geographic area. The application can be found at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf08094.html.

Where demand for a licence exceeds the supply, all applications relating to that licence will automatically be set aside for an auction process. Applicants will then be contacted by the Department for further instruction and auction details. Auction participants will be provided with a bidder information document containing the full details of the auction process.

To ensure that applications are fully considered, they must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT, December 8, 2003 to Industry Canada at the following address:

Manager, Wireless Networks
Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulatory Branch
300 Slater Street, 15th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0C8

Obtaining Copies

Copies of this notice and documents referred to therein are available electronically on the Spectrum Management and Telecommunications Web site at: http://www.ic.gc.ca/spectrum.

Official printed copies of gazette notices can be obtained from the Canada Gazette Web site at: www.gazette.gc.ca/index-eng.html or by calling the sales counter of Canadian Government Publishing at 819-941-5995 or 1-800-635-7943.

October 31, 2003



______________________
Jan Skora
Director General
Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulatory Branch