SP-3-30 — Revisions to Spectrum Utilization Policies in the 3–30 GHz Frequency Range and Further Consultation
In Canada, the Ka band satellite spectrum includes the bands the 19.7-20.2 GHz (space-to-Earth) and 27.5-30.0 GHz (Earth-to-space). The bands 19.7-20.2 GHz and 29.5-30.0 GHz are designated on an exclusive and primary basis to the fixed-satellite service. This spectrum was allocated at the 1992 World Administrative Radiocommunication Conference (WARC-92), with the objective to develop multimedia consumer access satellite services. Licensing of satellites in the bands 17.8-19.7 GHz and 28.35-29.5 GHz has been guided by domestic footnote C16A on spectrum for feeder links/gateways.
The Department has been active in authorizing future Canadian geostationary Ka band multimedia satellites i.e. 91°W and 111.1°W Longitude) which will deploy a range of customer services in the bands 19.7-20.2/29.5-30 GHz and use associated spectrum for feeder links/gateways in the bands 18.3-18.8 GHz, 28.35-28.6 GHz and 29.25-29.5 GHz.
At WRC-95, spectrum for FSS employing non-geostationary satellites was identified in the bands 18.8-19.3 GHz (space-to-Earth) and 28.6-29.1 GHz (Earth-to-space) under the provisions of Resolution 118 (WRC-95). NGSO FSS systems have global applications employing a large number of low-Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites which promise to provide a variety of voice, data and video services directly to business customers and potentially to consumers. WRC-97 subsequently confirmed the sharing criteria for the use of this band.
The band 19.3-19.7 GHz is allocated to the FSS (space-to-Earth) and FS on a co-primary basis. The band 29.1-29.5 GHz is allocated to the FSS (Earth-to-space) and FS on a co-primary basis. Use by the FSS is limited to feeder links (FL) for NGSO systems in the MSS. At WRC-97, power flux-density limits were adopted defining the amount of interference allowed from NGSO MSS feeder links into terrestrial fixed systems (Resolution 46). NGSO MSS feeder links use frequencies allocated to the FSS to interconnect a mobile-satellite space station with other fixed communications networks by means of one or more gateway earth stations. Based on these provisions, the Iridium MSS satellite constellation was developed and a gateway to interconnect with the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) was established in the U.S. to serve the North American market.
In the band 17.7-19.7 GHz, the FSS has a co-primary allocation with the fixed service and shares access to the spectrum with fixed systems authorized in accordance with SP 1-20 GHz. The current spectrum utilization policies for the fixed service operating in the band 17.7-19.7 GHz include provisions for low, medium and high-capacity point-to-point systems, Local MCS, VHCM, TV Studio Transmitter Link (STL) and TV-pickup. These fixed service systems operate according to channelling plans defined in SRSP documents.
In the band 27.5-29.5 GHz, the FSS has a co-primary allocation with the fixed service. The band 25.35-28.35 GHz (28 GHz) is currently designated in Canada for Local Multipoint Communications Systems (LMCS). Access to the band 27.5-28.35 GHz is in accordance with the spectrum utilization policy for LMCS services and domestic footnote C47A which limits FSS to applications which will pose minimal constraints on the deployment of FS systems. Spectrum designations for fixed services have not been developed for the remaining band 28.35-29.5 GHz.
In making proposals for these bands, the Department took into account two existing models for designating the spectrum. The first is the European Radiocommunications Committee decision ERC/DEC/(00)07 dealing with the shared use of the band 17.7-19.7 GHz by the fixed service and the fixed-satellite service (space-to-Earth). Coordinated use of the band 17.7-19.7 GHz is permitted. However, Decides (1) of ERC/DEC/(00)07 states that earth stations in the fixed-satellite service (space-to-Earth), which are not coordinated through a national frequency assignment process, shall not claim protection from stations of the fixed service. This would imply that the decision to implement uncoordinated receiving earth terminals in portions of the band could be made by individual administrations, but that there would be no protection to such terminals on a bilateral basis. While there are proposals to pair this band with spectrum at 28 GHz, the provisions for uncoordinated transmitting earth stations are different in decision ERC/DEC(00)09 discussed later. These designations do not differentiate between GSO and NGSO implementations of the FSS further than described in international footnotes.
The second existing model is in the United States, where specific spectrum designations were made for each of the services in portions of the 17.7-20.2 GHz range. These U.S. domestic designations differentiate between GSO and NGSO implementations of the FSS. The FCC Report and Order for 18 GHz removed designations for secondary access to the bands while 28 GHz still makes provision for secondary access by other services.
In the consultation document, the Department recognized the importance of aligning spectrum use within the North American marketplace and the Americas particularly for satellite services. The Department wished to align spectrum designations, but sought to retain flexibility for all services within the bands, to the extent possible. Proposals were made that the band could be soft partitioned to emphasize the implementation of one service in a specific portion of the band, with access by co-primary services on a more restricted basis.
In the comments, there was considerable support for soft partitioning of the spectrum including the element of designating priority to the fixed service or the fixed-satellite service as appropriate, with limitations to avoid constraining the development of the service granted priority in the band. With respect to replacement texts for footnote C16A several different proposals were made relating to the individual portions of the band. In most of the proposed texts for replacement footnotes, the element of assigning priority to one or the other service was missing. As previously discussed, the concept of soft partitioning was to be applied in situations where it was desirable to place emphasis on the use of the spectrum by one service over another. In this fashion access to the spectrum would not be removed, but would be limited to implementations that would not constrain the development of the service for which priority would be given. This was intended to facilitate the implementation of applications or services where the deployment of terminals would occur in a ubiquitous manner, with minimal burden of coordination and the possibility of authorization on a spectrum and geographic area basis. In contrast, many of the proposals for footnotes introduced the element of coordination between services in bands where it was intended to grant priority to the fixed service. The Department notes that the term coordination has long been associated with the access afforded to co-primary services sharing a band on an equitable first-come, first-served basis. As well, there are responsibilities and obligations placed on both parties in a coordination process. Since the intention of soft partitioning is to place emphasis on the implementation of one service, this element will not be incorporated in the footnotes for the band segments.
5.2.1 17.7-17.8 GHz
No change was proposed to the status of services in this band. This band is allocated to the broadcast-satellite service (BSS) after April 1, 2007 and is currently used for feeder links for the BSS operating in the band 12.2-12.7 GHz. When the BSS is implemented in the 17 GHz band, feeder links will be accommodated in the 25 GHz band (see Canadian domestic footnotes C45 and C47).
Noting the de facto moratorium in Section 4.5 of SRSP-317.7 for the licensing of fixed systems in the band 17.7-17.8 GHz, and based on the possibility that a BSS service could be introduced in Canada as early as April 1, 2007 in the band 17.3-17.8 GHz, the RABC suggested that the Department issue a moratorium on the licensing of new fixed systems in the band 17.7-17.8 GHz as soon as practicable. It is also noted that domestic footnote C-45 effectively reduces the status of the fixed service to secondary with respect to the broadcast-satellite service after April 1, 2007.
The Department is in agreement with the comments received and is placing a moratorium on the licensing of new fixed service systems in the band 17.7-17.8 GHz. Transition issues have already been covered in domestic footnote C45.
5.2.2 17.8-18.58 GHz
It was proposed to place emphasis on a designation for FS in this band. Sharing with low density FSS use was deemed to be feasible if the use of spectrum for fixed-satellite services in the band would continue to be limited in accordance with the intentions of domestic footnote C16A. There was general support for this proposal.
The current FS designations in the band pairs 17.7-18.14 GHz with 19.26-19.7 GHz are for low, medium and high-capacity point-to-point systems, and in the contiguous band 18.14-18.58 are for Local MCS, VHCM, TV STL and TV-pickup. It should be noted that 17.7-17.8 GHz is paired with 19.26-19.36 GHz resulting in minimal impact from the respective BSS and FSS designations. The Department's original proposal would therefore have left the bulk of these two bands intact for use of fixed services.
The RABC strongly supported the Department's proposal for emphasizing a designation for FS in the band 17.8-18.58 GHz, along with a similar proposal for FS in the companion band 19.3-19.7 GHz. These two FS designations were seen as important, as there are currently a large number of LC/MC/HC radio systems operating in the paired bands 17.7-18.14 GHz and 19.26-19.7 GHz, licensed in accordance with SRSP-317.7.
The RABC also urged the Department to leave the 18.14-18.58 GHz MCS/VHCM band intact since the 12.7-13.2 GHz VHCM band available to cable operators is limited to 500 MHz of spectrum. Cable operators' networks are expanding up to 860 MHz in some cases and, therefore, the current capacity of the existing VHCM band is insufficient to support the spectrum requirements of the operators. They will require additional spectrum to enable them to deliver/backhaul signals to their smaller, remote systems. The spectrum band between 18.14-18.58 GHz will provide that relief. These views were supported in a separate submission from the Canadian Cable and Television Association (CCTA). Coordination and equipment procurement were cited as important reasons to retain alignment with the designations for Cable Television Relay Service (CARS) applications in the US.
At the same time, the Department has been active in authorizing future Canadian geostationary Ka band multimedia satellites, in the band 19.7-20.2 GHz, to use associated spectrum for feeder link/gateways in the band 18.3-18.8 GHz. The gateways were expected to be relatively few in number (in the order of 6-10 gateways per satellite to serve North America) and capable of being located in areas which would minimize constraints on the deployment of fixed service systems.
The intent in proposing a definition of gateway/feeder link systems is that they represent the kind of low density applications which could be implemented with minimal constraint to the FS in bands which are designated as priority for the fixed service. Feeder link systems typically require higher performance and reliability and therefore use antennas which are very much larger in relation to the antennas for service links. Comments to the Department indicated that a feeder link/gateway definition may not be appropriate for the kinds of FSS systems envisaged for the Ka band. (i.e. not circuit switched architecture with bent pipe repeaters at the satellite, but an on-board processing model where the traditional double hop could be eliminated).
The Department notes the FCC Second Order on Reconsideration (FCC 02-317) which alters their current band plan to make FSS the sole primary spectrum allocation in the band 18.3-18.58 GHz. This adds to the current allocation to make 18.3-18.8 GHz exclusive GSO FSS spectrum and balances with the amount of uplink spectrum available for GSO FSS at 28 GHz in the US.
In Canada, the band 18.14-18.58 GHz has had little demand for access to date. As described in the CCTA submission, cable systems are only recently being rebuilt to 750-860 MHz capacity. As noted in the discussion on the 12 GHz band, in recent years with the wide deployment of fibre and coaxial CATV networks, a number of links in many VHCM systems have been decommissioned. The Department therefore anticipates that the demand for additional spectrum beyond the capacity currently available in the band 12.7-13.25 GHz to support cable systems can be handled on a case-by-case basis taking the anticipated future use and geographic area into account. With respect to the local MCS applications, this designation has resulted in the band being listed in Radio Systems Policy 20, Guidelines on the Licensing Process and Spectrum Release Plan (RP-020) as requiring a competitive process for licensing, and is currently listed as suspended, pending a future competitive process. The demand for MCS applications in this spectrum has been limited, perhaps in part because this band is either not available or has very limited use for wireless access in other markets. There is also an abundance of spectrum available for broadband wireless access and MCS services in bands between 23 and 38 GHz.
Based on the submissions, there is considerable interest from both terrestrial and satellite service providers to align spectrum in the band 17.8-19.7 GHz to the extent possible with the US to achieve economies of scale for equipment as well as to facilitate coordination. The Department will add a footnote to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations designating priority to the use of fixed services in the band 17.8-18.3 GHz. Multi-channel systems will be considered on a case-by-case basis taking the anticipated future use and geographic area into account. The designation for Local MCS is removed from the band 18.14-18.58 GHz, noting the next section on designations for the fixed-satellite service. The channel plan to accommodate this mix of applications and facilitate sharing, noting the asymmetry of paired spectrum available, will be developed by the Department in consultation with industry.
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