RP-023 — Spectrum and Licensing Policy to Permit Ancillary Terrestrial Mobile Services as Part of Mobile-Satellite Service Offerings
The Department will accommodate the development of an ancillary terrestrial component (ATC) mobile service as an integral part of mobile-satellite service offerings under a licensing process guided by a set of spectrum and licensing policy principles. Although the technical and operational discussions were focussed on the L-band, in general the policy and licensing principles will oversee any ATC mobile application by mobile satellite networks operating in the three MSS frequency bands (the L-bands, the Big LEO bands and the 2 GHz bands). These principles are as follows:
- ATC- an Integral Part of the MSS Service Offerings
The ATC mobile service can only be offered as part of the MSS service offerings; the ATC service will not be approved as a stand-alone service. A substantial level of MSS offerings (marketing and distribution capacity) must be provided with the ATC mobile service. The ATC operator will use dual-mode terminals capable of communicating with both the mobile satellite network and the terrestrial ATC system; or make use of service and commercial arrangements that ensure the ATC service is an indefeasible part of the MSS service offerings.
- Spectrum Status for ATC Mobile Service
The mobile satellite frequency bands (L-band, 1.5/1.6 GHz; 2 GHz; and LEO, 1.6/2.4 GHz) are those allocated on a primary basis to the mobile-satellite service and designated by spectrum policy as a priority resource for regional mobile-satellite service. The L-band spectrum includes certain allocation provisions to support priority spectrum access and operation of the GMDSS and the AMS(R)S in accordance with the international Radio Regulations. Any spectrum assigned as an ancillary terrestrial component will be subordinate to the spectrum needed for the mobile-satellite service.
As such, the ATC mobile system will use all reasonable measures, of design and operation, so as not to cause harmful interference to other mobile satellite network services or to other primary radio services operating in adjacent bands, including GPS and related applications. Furthermore, the ATC mobile service cannot claim protection from other mobile-satellite services and radio services operating in accordance with the international Radio Regulations.
ATC systems will have to use spectrum in the assigned frequencies or spectrum blocks authorized to the mobile satellite network with which the terrestrial mobile service is integrated and ancillary. The ATC systems will be limited to operating within the mobile satellite coverage and serving areas.
The spectrum made available for ATC mobile service by the MSS network operator is subordinate to the access of spectrum for the MSS service. Access by a third party to any part of the spectrum assigned to a particular MSS network operator, for the operation of a terrestrial ATC mobile service, will be based solely on a commercial agreement between the MSS network operator and the ATC operator. Spectrum licences for ATC mobile service will be conditional on the spectrum being released for existing and new MSS networks, if and when required.
- Licensing Policy and Regulatory
Separate applications will be required for spectrum-area licences to operate an ATC mobile service as an integral component of the mobile-satellite service offerings. The ATC applicant will have to be, or become eligible, to hold a radiocommunication carrier licence and meet the Canadian ownership and control requirements in accordance with section 10(2) of the Radiocommunication Regulations.
The following is a preliminary list of information to be submitted in an ATC mobile service application:
- the identification of the ATC applicant and its relation to the MSS operator, whether the applicant for the integrated ATC mobile service, is:
- the MSS satellite carrier, and/or
- a MSS service provider, and/or
- a third party;
- a summary of the commercial, operational and technical arrangements made for the ATC to have access to the MSS spectrum in the relevant area(s), in particular as they relate to the obligation to ensuring the integrity of the MSS service and protecting MSS operations;
- a demonstration on how the operation of the ATC mobile service will be an integral and indefeasible component of the MSS service offerings;
- the amount and specific frequencies or spectrum blocks proposed for use by the ATC system within the assigned spectrum of the MSS network and associated MSS coverage area;
- an indication on how the sharing of spectrum for ATC will not constrain the growth of MSS service offerings;
- a demonstration on how substantial mobile-satellite service offerings will be available before or at the time ATC service is to begin operation
- information to show that the applicant for the ATC mobile licence meets or will meet the Canadian radiocommunication carrier requirements;
- an attestation to the obligations to cease operation if harmful interference were to be caused to other MSS networks or to other primary radio services operating in adjacent bands, until such time as the cause of harmful interference is resolved;
- an attestation to the understanding that the use of MSS spectrum for ATC mobile service is conditional on the spectrum being made available for mobile-satellite service as required, and that the ATC mobile service cannot claim protection from other MSS networks in the band concerned or from primary services operating in adjacent bands in accordance with the international Radio Regulations;
- an attestation to the understanding that the use of MSS spectrum for ATC mobile service is conditional on the spectrum being made available for MSS as required, and that the ATC mobile service will cease operation, within a reasonable period, should the satellite service be discontinued;
- a description of the technical and operational measures to be taken to ensure that any potential interference to other MSS and primary services is mitigated to reasonable levels, including a demonstration on how priority access will be given to the AMS(R)S and other primary services operating in adjacent bands; and,
- a description of the design of the ATC mobile system including the radiotelephony and data service features, cellular design, traffic routing and any interconnection to the public switch network, including directly or indirectly to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).
- the identification of the ATC applicant and its relation to the MSS operator, whether the applicant for the integrated ATC mobile service, is:
- Spectrum Licences and Fees
Spectrum area licences will be issued for ATC mobile systems and will be subject to spectrum fees. These fees will be established through a separate public process, taking into full account the fees already charged for the MSS service, and other factors, such as, the subordinate nature of spectrum access to deploy ATC, the non-contiguous nature of MSS spectrum available, and the potentially dynamic assignment of spectrum to operate the ATC in relation to the MSS offerings.
One of the regulatory requirements which was addressed in the MSS-ATC consultation was the potential application of the spectrum cap policy. The spectrum cap was established to foster a competitive telecommunications environment in Canada. Industry Canada is mindful that regulatory measures should only be established where necessary and be efficient and effective in achieving these objectives.
The mobile spectrum cap policy is currently under full review (see Gazette Notice DGTP–007–03). As part of this review, the Department is to determine whether, or to what level, a spectrum cap is required to foster competition in the provision of mobile services in Canada. The use of MSS spectrum to provide high-mobility telephony service within an ATC mobile system deployment will be further considered as part of this review.
- Technical and Operational Considerations
In general, the development of ATC mobile system is envisaged as an integral and ancillary component of the next generation of mobile satellites. These satellites will use a series of multi-beams with high spectrum re-use and will accommodate small customer terminals which will operate on both the MSS and ATC systems. The high spectrum re-use of these MSS networks will provide a reasonable opportunity for ATC systems to re-use the MSS spectrum on a satellite beam-by-beam basis.
The spectrum utilization environment for the mobile-satellite service is such that each operator is assigned distinct spectrum (group of frequencies or blocks of spectrum) over large regions such as North America. Each MSS band is partitioned for a specific type of satellite system (i.e. geostationary orbits (GSO) or low Earth orbits (LEO)). Since some mobile satellite systems are global, the same spectrum is reused to support the operation of the same or different satellite operators in other regions of the world, where there is sufficient isolation.
The spectrum is assigned and coordinated between the different mobile satellite operators so as to minimize interference between satellite systems and their terminals. Different scenarios are considered, all of which fall under the category of inter-system interference (i.e. where the operation of ATC of one MSS system interferes with the satellites or the terminals of another MSS operator). The Department did not consider the interference caused by the ATC operation on the MSS system with which it is operating as the level of interference will be self-regulated in order to meet the licence conditions.
The Department also considered the situations where the ATC operations (either the base stations or the mobile terminals) could potentially interfere with the operations classified under other radio services such as the radionavigation satellite service (RNSS).
The Department's public consultation was based on the request by MSV Canada to allow ATC operation in the L-band (1.5/1.6 GHz). Though the consultation paper focussed on the L-band, the Department invited comments on any issue relevant to the consultation. Industry Canada concurs with ICO Canada's comments that such flexibility should be granted to all MSS bands between 1–3 GHz. The technical Annex to this document will present guiding principles which will apply for all bands and some specific technical and operational constrains which will apply for the L-band. Detailed technical and operational requirements for all MSS bands will be developed and included within the Department's radio equipment and system standards.
To determine if sharing was feasible in the L-band, the Department conducted and commissioned studies, reviewed comments submitted by respondents to the consultation and requested specific interested parties to submit or review further studies. In addition, to determine if sharing was feasible in the other bands, the Department considered the extensive studies submitted to the FCC as part of the proceedings with regard to the MSS bands 1.5/1.6 GHz, 1.6/2.4 GHz and 2.0/2.1 GHz, recognizing that it is important to harmonize the technical and operational requirements as closely as possible within North America to establish similar MSS/terrestrial ATC opportunities. Besides Canada and the US, no other country carried out such consultation.
Studies were done to determine whether, and in what situations, ATC systems operating within the spectrum assigned to a regional MSS system could cause harmful interference to the satellite or terminals of:
- an MSS system operating in adjacent spectrum and same region;
- an MSS system operating co-channel spectrum with beams serving areas adjacent to the service area of the MSS system with an ATC underlay;
- other radio services in adjacent bands serving the same region
Scenario 1: Adjacent Spectrum, Same Region
For the first situation, the Department investigated the impact of the ATC base stations overloading mobile earth terminals close to the ATC base station, or interfering with MSS receivers on board ships or aircrafts. In addition, the Department studied the impact on the priority access to spectrum for the Global Maritime Distress and Safety Systems (GMDSS) and the Aeronautical Mobile Satellite (en route) Service systems (AMS(R)S). The conclusions of these studies and the technical and operational constraints on the ATC system are found in the Annex to this document. The Department also studied the aggregated noise from the ATC mobile terminals into another MSS system spacecraft and found that it was negligible.
Scenario 2: Co-channel Spectrum of an MSS Spacecraft Serving an Adjacent Area
With respect to the potential impact on the spacecraft receiver of an MSS system serving an adjacent area with co-channel spectrum, the concern is mainly the aggregate additional noise from the terminals of the ATC systems. The Department concurs with the results from the Comtek report2 when an average of 25 dB rejection of the noise by the satellite receiver is taken into consideration. The rise in the level of the noise floor is expected to be well below the international level which triggers coordination between operators. The Department concludes that, with emission limits on the mobile ATC terminals, no further measures are required.
Scenario 3: Interference to Other Radio Services
This scenario has to be further broken down into interference to various radio services. Below is a detailed list of the scenarios which were investigated. The results are presented in the Annex to this document.
- Interference to the Radionavigation Satellite Service (RNSS) and the Aeronautical Radionavigation Service (ARNS)
The Department studied the potential for an ATC system to impact RNSS and ARNS applications for critical services provided at airports for landing and take-off (i.e. the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) of the ARNS service allocation, using the GPS system under the RNSS allocation). The interference to the synchronization of CDMA-based cellular base stations using the GPS system was analysed in addition to interference to the cellular terminals which use GPS for Enhanced 911 (E-911).
- Interference to SARSAT Receive Stations (Search and Rescue Operations)
The potential of L-band ATC systems to interfere with search and rescue operations and the protection of the five Canadian Cospas-Sarsat receive stations was studied. The Department of National Defence which operates these stations agreed with the findings of the Industry Canada studies and the proposed protection measures.
- Interference to the Radio Astronomy Service
Measures will be adopted to protect the radio astronomy service from ATC mobile terminals close to radio astronomy sites. This could include, but is not limited to, ATC mobile terminals not being able to operate close to radio astronomy sites. These measures are applicable to low Earth orbit MSS systems operating in the L-band.
Summary of the Department's Technical Findings
The Department concludes that by establishing a number of technical and operational measures, ATC mobile systems can co-exist with other MSS systems and with primary services in adjacent bands, in all three paired MSS bands.
This sharing is considered feasible and reasonable with ATC operating under certain restrictions relating to: (1) the placement of ATC stations; (2) the base and mobile station emission limits; and, (3) the operational measures for both base and mobile terminals. In particular, measures are required to protect sensitive areas such as airports, commercial waterways, harbours, radio astronomy sites and SARSAT receive stations. These technical and operational measures will also protect primary services, such as, the radionavigation-satellite service, the aeronautical radionavigation service, and priority access to the spectrum used for safety systems such GMDSS and GNSS. In all cases, ATC operations would only be permitted on a non-interference and no-protection basis.
The Department will establish emission limits and operational deployment constraints. Radio equipment certification and the deployment of ATC systems will be in accordance with radio equipment and system standards which will be developed based on the technical and operational conclusions in the Annex to this document.
Of the different interference scenarios identified and studied, scenario 2 described above was extensively studied to ensure that Canada met its treaty obligations under the international Radio Regulations. The Department commissioned worst-case scenario studies with four L-band MSS systems, each with a fully deployed ATC system, with ATC base stations being distributed over North America. The studies showed that the mobile terminals associated with the four ATC systems would raise the noise-floor in mobile satellite spacecraft receivers serving other regional geographical areas by only a modest amount. This increase in noise level is expected to be well below the internationally recognized level used to initiate coordination between MSS licensees. The use of frequencies which are not co-channel have no measurable impact on the satellite receiver of other MSS systems operating in the Americas and other regions of the world.
In addition, all MSS operators agree that intra-system interference caused by ATC operations will be more important than inter-system interference. Therefore, ATC operations will be self-limiting in ensuring that its associated MSS network continues to offer significant satellite services as per the conditions of licence for ATC operations.
The Department concludes that there is no need to limit either the number of base stations nor the number of simultaneously operating customer terminals. Canada expects to meet its international obligations and will consider authorizing any number of ATC base stations on a per MSS system basis.
The Department does not purport to have considered all potential sharing scenarios with respect to the operation of ATC systems vis-à-vis other primary services or systems. With further technological advances or potential changes to system design, new situations may emerge requiring further studies.
The Department believes that the release of these policy principles to permit terrestrial mobile services as an integral component of MSS offerings will serve the Canadian public interest and foster Canada's telecommunication policy objectives. In particular, these new mobile satellite networks could foster advanced communication services at affordable prices to rural and remote areas.
Applicants wishing to develop a terrestrial mobile service ancillary to the MSS offerings should be guided by the principles and requirements described in this policy document. Industry Canada will release a Client Procedures Circular (CPC) in which procedures will be set out regarding the authorization of ATC mobile systems based on the above-mentioned policy provisions. Also, the Department will carry out a public consultation regarding the spectrum fees to be applied to terrestrial ATC mobile systems. Appropriate technical specifications will also be established to oversee the development of ATC systems, which will be incorporated in the relevant Radio Standards Specification (RSS) and Standard Radio System Plan (SRSP) documents.
General inquiries about the policy provisions may be addressed to the Spectrum and Radio Services Directorate, Telecommunication Policy Branch, 300 Slater St., Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0C8 (Telephone: 613–998–4470, Facsimile: 613–952–0567, E-mail).
Issued under the authorization of the Radiocommunication Act
Telecommunications Policy Branch
2 The Comtek report can be found on the Spectrum Management and Telecommunications Web site
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