SP-746 — Mobile Service Allocation Decision and Designation of Spectrum for Public Safety in the Frequency Band 746-806 MHz

1. Introduction

The purpose of this paper, announced in DGTP-002-04, is to allocate the mobile service in the frequency band 746-806 MHz on a co-primary basis with the broadcasting service, and to designate some spectrum for public safety. This paper also seeks comment on the technical and licensing considerations for an efficient implementation of this spectrum for public safety.

The decision to allocate the mobile service in the frequency band 746-806 MHz on a co-primary basis with the broadcasting service, completes the public consultation process which began on June 8, 2001 in the consultation entitled, Proposal to Introduce the Mobile Service on a Co-primary Basis with the Broadcasting Service in the Frequency Band 746-806 MHz (DGTP-004-01). Since that time, the Department has carried out studies of the Digital Television Transition Allotment Plan, has negotiated changes within the allotment plan with the United States to accommodate public safety and has commissioned technical sharing studies between the broadcasting and public safety applications. The Department has also introduced a moratorium on television channels 63 and 68 to prepare the spectrum to be used for public safety applications. Based on these activities, the Department was successful in finding suitable spectrum for public safety in the television sub-bands 764-770 MHz and 794-800 MHz (television channels 63 and 68) while accommodating broadcasting services.

The Department is seeking comments on certain aspects of the implementation of designated spectrum for public safety. Comments can be submitted according to the instructions set out in the Gazette Notice.

2. Background

In June, 2001 the Department initiated public consultation to allocate the mobile service in the frequency band 746-806 MHz on a co-primary basis with the broadcasting service. This new mobile allocation was proposed with the provision that further study and consultation would be needed before some spectrum for mobile applications could be released. The Department outlined the pressing requirement to open some spectrum for public safety in-line with the US band plan in order to accommodate cross-border, interoperable communications and the use of common radio equipment. The overall approach in the allocation and designation of spectrum for public safety, takes full account of the spectrum needs for the implementation of DTV, in accordance with the allotment plan.

The tragic events of September 11, 2001 have added further pressure to proceed with the allocation decision and the proposed spectrum designations for public safety contained herein.

By the close of public consultation on September 24, 2001, the Department had received 27 submissions. The comments received were submitted from the broadcasting and wireless communities, police, fire and other public safety organizations, industry and public safety associations and manufacturers and related government agencies in Canada and the United States.

2.1 Public Comments on Mobile Service Allocation

The Department proposed that the domestic allocation should be confined to the addition of the mobile service in band 746-806 MHz (TV channels 60-69) given the spectrum requirement for the DTV transition (see Section 3). As there is a shortage of mobile service in spectrum below 900 MHz, modifications to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations were proposed to address this requirement.

Most respondents supported or did not oppose a mobile allocation as co-primary within the broadcasting band 746-806 MHz. The wireless community indicated that the Department should allocate the mobile service in the bands listed in International Telecommunication Union (ITU) footnote 5.293, including the bands 470-512 MHz and 614-806 MHz. In addition, the wireless industry favoured introducing the fixed service on a co-primary basis. Broadcasting industry respondents favoured the incremental approach proposed by the Department that would see only the mobile service allocated in one band i.e. 746-806 MHz.

In general, the comments received in response to DGTP-004-01, supported adding a mobile service allocation in the band 746-806 MHz with the broadcasting service on a co-primary basis provided that spectrum is available for the full DTV transition. A pressing requirement was also expressed to make spectrum available for public safety.

The issue of harmonizing a frequency band plan for public safety similar to that developed by the US administration was supported by the majority of respondents.1 Respondents also supported a level of harmonization with the US that would promote cross-border interoperability. This is particularly pressing in a smart borders, Canada/US security environment.

3. Allocation Decisions

Based on the public consultation and the transition period required for digital TV broadcasting to be implemented, the Department has decided to limit the allocation of the mobile service with the broadcasting service, on a co-primary basis, to the frequency band 746-806 MHz. In addition, with this allocation change to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations and the adoption of an international footnote 5.293 supporting this allocation, Canadian footnotes are introduced that deal with the inter-relations between these two primary services. The Canadian footnotes reiterate the provision of necessary spectrum for a full digital television transition in accordance with the DTV Transition Allotment Plan.

In summary, the Department is making the following changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations to enter the:

  • mobile service as a co-primary service with the broadcasting service in the band 746-806 MHz;
  • international in-country footnote 5.293 in the bands 470-608 MHz, 614-746 MHz and 746-806 MHz; and
  • Canadian footnotes:

    • C-22 to indicate that the implementation of mobile service will be subject to spectrum policy taking into account the progress of DTV transition; and

    • C-24 to reflect the extent to which international in-country footnote 5.293 is being adopted.

Canadian Table of Frequency Allocation Change

Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations Change
MHz Primary and Secondary Services
primary service470-608 BROADCASTING
5.293 C24
primary service614-746 BROADCASTING
5.293 C24
primary service746-806 BROADCASTING
5.293 C22 C24

(WRC-2000) Different category of service: in Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, the United States, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico and Panama and Peru, the allocation of the bands 470-512 MHz and 614-806 MHz to the fixed and mobile services is on a primary basis (see No. 5.33), subject to agreement obtained under No. 9.21. In Argentina, and Ecuador, the allocation of the band 470-512 MHz to the fixed and mobile services is on a primary basis (see No. 5.33), subject to agreement obtained under No. 9.21.
(CAN-2004) In the band 746-806 MHz, the gradual use of spectrum for the mobile service will be subject to the development of a series of spectrum utilization policies as the transition of digital television progresses.
(CAN-2004) In the bands 470-512 MHz and 614-806 MHz, international footnote 5.293 has raised the fixed and mobile services to a co-primary status with the broadcasting service for Canada. To support broadcasting requirements during the transition to digital television, the Department is only allocating the mobile service in the band 746-806 MHz at this time. The Department, will carry out public consultation in the future in order to adopt the other service allocation provisions of international footnote 5.293 in the frequency bands 470-512 MHz and 614-746 MHz.


This allocation change will provide the flexibility to gradually implement the mobile services in parts of the frequency band 746-806 MHz, as the DTV transition progresses. The Department intends to carry out studies of the DTV Transition Allotment Plan and undertake further public consultations as DTV is implemented; additional spectrum could be released for mobile service according to Canadian footnote C22.

With regard to Canadian footnotes C22 and C24 a few issues were raised during the consultation. Some respondents asked why the Department had not adopted the full provisions of international footnote 5.293, as it applies to the bands 470-512 MHz and 614-806 MHz and the shared primary allocation of the fixed service and the mobile service with the broadcasting service. The Department is of the view that in order to balance the public interest to accommodate a full deployment of DTV broadcasting and release some critical spectrum for public safety, a phased-in approach is required. Such an approach is required for allocating new services in the Canadian Table and should, in the short term, be confined to the band 746-806 MHz (TV channels 60-69). The Department has decided to only co-allocate the mobile service with the broadcasting service at this time to deal with the pressing need for mobile spectrum.

These modifications will be incorporated in the next revision to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations.


1 i.e. the same paired transmit and receive frequencies, the further division of spectrum for narrow band channels and wide band channels and the fostering of a common technical system standard.

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