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

4.5 Technical and Licensing Considerations

In addition to the technical criteria that needs to be considered to permit public safety to use spectrum in sub-bands 764-770 MHz and 794-800 MHz, there are licensing criteria that must be developed, for example, to encourage public safety users to roll out effective spectrum sharing plans among similar users and to promote interoperability. The following issues are raised to assist the Department in developing the licensing, technical and operational requirements to oversee the orderly release of this spectrum:

  1. What common/open standard could be encouraged, that would foster interoperable mobile systems for public safety operations? Should this be an APCO 13 sanctioned standard? And if so, should this standard, with all its suites of technical criteria be applied in the bands 764-770 MHz and 794-600 MHz to only interoperability channels or to all public safety channels and if not, why and which technical criteria should be applied?
  2. Should interoperability on a domestic and Canada/US basis be a prerequisite to licensing and if so, what criteria should be applied?
  3. What planning and authorization mechanism should be used to ensure that public safety users are successfully accommodated? 14
  4. Should public safety users have to submit a spectrum and system plan that accommodates public safety users in defined areas in order to justify an authorization? What information and commitments should be required in an overall plan?
  5. In order to foster a common communications system to accommodate public safety, should the Department insist on common service plans on a regional or national basis in various regions of Canada before licences are granted anywhere else in Canada to any public safety user?
  6. What level of harmonization with the U.S. band plan is appropriate i.e. should the Department define the same specific service applications such as low power, interoperability, wide-area systems etc.?
  7. Does the current description of public safety services as previously referenced in footnote 2 cover all critical safety and services for public safety spectrum?

The Department welcomes comments from interested parties on these questions and any other related matters.

4.6 Next Steps

The Department anticipates that the use of sub-bands 764-770 MHz and 794-800 MHz for public safety will be based on the availability of mobile radio equipment and equipment interoperability standards. This would be supported through clearly defined licensing criteria and conditions. The technical and operational standards will be developed to ensure that the broadcasting and public safety uses can co-existence in adjacent spectrum.

Canada/U.S. Sharing Arrangement for Public Safety

Industry Canada, as part of its ongoing dialogue with the FCC, will negotiate a bilateral frequency sharing arrangement to guide the future implementation of mobile service applications as spectrum becomes available while meeting the objectives of DTV Transition Allotment Plan. At this time, only television channels 63 and 68 are being designated for public safety use in Canada. As such, these frequency sharing discussions will be conducted in a manner which anticipates that more spectrum will eventually be released in Canada for mobile applications, after the DTV transition and subject to further public consultation. Until that time, spectrum sharing discussions will fully adhere to the principles established in the DTV Transition Allotment Plan and the Letter of Understanding Between the Federal Communications Commission of the United States of America and Industry Canada Related to the Use of the 54-72 MHz, 76-88 MHz, 174-216 MHz, 470-806 MHz Bands for the Digital Television Broadcasting Service Along the Common Border.

5. Further Consideration: Facilitating Advanced Communications in Remote Rural and Northern Communities

It has been the long standing approach of the Department to facilitate advanced communications services in high cost serving areas such as remote rural and northern communities. Often, flexible approaches have been adopted for the use of spectrum, including spectrum policy allocation, designation, and technical standards perspectives. Mobile spectrum has been used in non-congested areas for fixed telephone services. Broadcasting spectrum has been used for distance trunking of over-the-air broadcasting and for the use of television channels to provide wireless cable television-like services in small isolated communities where cable does not exist. Flexible use has also been made of fixed Multipoint Communication System (MCS) spectrum to extend Multipoint Distribution Service (MDS) broadcasting operations. MDS broadcasting spectrum has also been used to extend fixed broadband Internet applications.

The Department has also enabled broadcasting spectrum to be used to accommodate ancillary non-broadcasting services such as data casting. The Department has permitted some mixed fixed and mobile service applications recognizing that while the predominant service may be either fixed or mobile in nature, from a practical radio system perspective, each service can use some portion of the other to effectively delivery its primary service. To this end, the Department has also relaxed technical standards, antenna requirements, channelling plans, etc. in what is known as a geographical differences policy.

The Department anticipates that in certain remote rural and northern communities, significant spectrum allocated to television broadcasting in channels 2 to 59 will remain unused/unallotted. Due to a demographic reality, this spectrum will likely remain unused for the delivery of terrestrial analogue and digital television in these areas. As has been noted, the Department has previously afforded greater flexibility to use spectrum to facilitate advanced communications services in remote rural and northern communities. Consequently, there may be an opportunity in this instance, for broadcasters and other interested parties to make use of this unused spectrum to facilitate advanced communications services.

The Department is pre-disposed to study and consider the potential use of unused/unallotted television broadcasting spectrum in channels 2 to 59, in sparsely populated areas to extend access to advanced broadcasting and telecommunications services, including broadband Internet access and wireless broadcast distribution. However, regardless of any such study, it is still the intent of the Department to pursue the longer term goals and subsequent policy consultations to align the remaining portions of television channels 60 to 69 with those of the United States, for public safety and commercial mobile applications.

The Department seeks comments on the types of advanced broadcasting and telecommunications services, that could be extended to Canadians in rural and remote communities, which find opportunity in unused spectrum on either an experimental, temporary or permanent basis. Specifically, given the significant amount of television broadcasting spectrum that it neither used, nor allotted, in rural and remote communities in channels 2 to 59, the Department seeks comments on:

  1. the potential uses of this spectrum to provide advanced communications including broadband Internet access and wireless broadcast distribution; and
  2. whether temporary or permanent authorization should be granted and if so, in either case under what conditions.

6. Implementation

Based on the results of the public consultation initiated in this document and further internal evaluation, Industry Canada will encourage the development of an open technical equipment standard. It will also encourage licensing conditions that would, in the public interest, lead to the effective deployment of the proposed spectrum designations and promote both Canada/US and domestic interoperability among public safety users.

The Department will continue to study and conduct further consultations towards the longer term implementation of spectrum use by radio services for public safety and commercial mobile applications in the band 746-806 MHz (television channels 60 to 69). The Department will use the preliminary comments on the facilitation of advanced communications services in unused television broadcasting spectrum (channels 2 to 59) in remote rural and northern communities to make future proposals that develop this spectrum resource to meet Canadian needs.

Issued under the authority
of the Radiocommunication Act

Larry Shaw
Director General
Telecommunications Policy Branch
Robert W. McCaughern
Director General
Spectrum Engineering Branch


Annex 1 — Television Channel Allotment Replacements for Regular Power NTSC and DTV Stations

Television Channel Allotment Replacements for Regular Power NTSC and DTV Stations
NTSC
Channel
DTV Channel City Call Class NTSC Class DTV NTSC
Replacement
Channel
DTV
Replacement
Channel

Coverage Areas By Class of Station:
A (25 km); B (45 km); C (70 km); VU (82 km); VL (89 km)

* -10 dB effective radiated power reduction toward Saginaw, Michigan
** Outside the Canada/US coordination zone

68 67 Sarnia-Oil Springs, ON CBLFT-17 B B 17  
3 63 Halifax, NS CBHT VL VL    54
48 63 Chatham, ON CBLFT-10 B B   12
32 63 Kingston, ON CBLFT-14 C C   22
19 63 Toronto, ON CICA-TV C C   51
36 63 Gatineau (Secteur Hull), QC CFGS-TV C C   49
9 63 Sherbrooke, QC CKSH-TV VU VU   55
8 63 Inverness, NS ** CBIT-19 C C   53
6 68 Victoria, BC CHEK-TV VL VL   43
43 68 Ottawa, ON CHRO-TV-43 C C   17
9 68 Sudbury, ON CKNC-TV VU VU   35
47 68 Toronto, ON CFMT-TV C C   64
32 68 Windsor, ON CICO-TV-32 C C   25*
24 68 Sherbrooke, QC CIVS-TV C C   65
4 68 Sydney, NS** CJCB-TV VL VL   55

Footnotes

13 Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO).

14 A number of licensing mechanisms are available to the Minister of Industry to assign frequencies. The "First-Come, First-Served" (FCFS) approach is used in instances where there is sufficient spectrum to meet the anticipated demand in a given frequency band and where there is no additional measure required to advance particular telecommunications policy objectives. More information can be found on the Spectrum Management and Telecommunications Web site at:
A Spectrum Policy Framework for Canada and at:
Client Procedures Circular 2-0-16, Licensing Procedure for the Spectrum Licence.

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