Technical Advisory Committee on Broadcasting (B-TAC) Minutes of First Meeting of 2005, held February 1, 2005

Attendees:

  • V. Mimis 
    (Chairperson)
    Director
    Broadcast Planning and Technical Policy
  • A. Lam (secrétary)
    Broadcast Standards and Procedures

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

  • F. Gauthier
    Delivery Technology
  • P. Marcoux
    Delivery Technology

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

  • A. Lubienietzky
    Broadcast Engineering Analysis

Broadcasters and Consultants

  • G. Henke.
    D.E.M. Allen & Associates Ltd
  • K. Pelser
    D.E.M. Allen & Associates Ltd
  • D. Macaulay 
    D. H. Macaulay Engineering
  • S. Edwards 
    Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
  • J. Hoeppner
    Corus Entertainment
  • M. Beauséjour 
    Y. R. H.
  • J. Moltner
    Teknyx Ltd.
  • E. Bogdanowicz
    Consultant
  • T. Young 
    Consultant
  • W. Stacey
    CAB / Wayne A. Stacey & Associates
  • B. Dormer
    Consultant
  • J. Feltmate
    Consultant
  • M. Mathieu
    Consultant

Industry Canada

  • J. Dadourian
    Broadcast Standards and Procedures
  • D. MacMillan
    Broadcast Planning and New Technology
  • L. Toll
    Broadcast Standards and Procedures
  • M. Guillet
    Broadcast Standards and Procedures
  • J. M. Boilard
    Broadcast Regulation
  • P. Vaccani
    Director, Broadcast Application Engineering
  • J. Dexter
    Broadcast Application Engineering
  • M. Dumas 
    Broadcast Application Engineering
  • A. Youness
    Broadcast Application Engineering
  • S. Faucher 
    Engineering, Quebec Region
  • A. Leung
    Engineering, Ontario Region
  • P. Verma 
    Engineering, Central Region

NAV CANADA

  • S. Vowles
    Spectrum Management

1. Chairman's Opening Remarks

Mr. Mimis welcomed the members to the first meeting of 2005. He said that in today's agenda, there would be a number of work progress reports by the various subcommittees. He also announced the retirement of Mr. Trenholm from the Department.

2. Approval of Agenda

Mr. Beauséjour proposed adding 3 items for discussion:

  1. 7.4 'land use consultation with municipalities'
  2. 7.5 'UTM grid maps'
  3. 7.6 'Navcom Software package'

Mr. Gauthier added 'Longley-Rice' Prediction model as 7.7 for discussion. Mr. Henke added that he would like to make a short presentation on FM 2nd adjacent interference under subcommittee 16 work report.

Item 6 'Informatics' was deleted from the Agenda as there had been no new development.

The agenda was approved as amended.

3. Draft Minutes of the Third Meeting of 2004

The draft minutes of the third meeting of 2004 were approved by the members with minor editorial corrections.

4. Matters Arising from the Minutes

Mr. Lam reported that all matters arising from the minutes would be covered by the activities of the various subcommittees and would be addressed by agenda item 5 – Status Report.

5. Status Report

  • 5.1 Digital TV/DRB

    Mr. Dadourian informed the members that the Canada/U.S. LOU amendment had been signed which together with the revised DTV Plan would eventually be posted at the Department's Strategis site for information. In the U.S., DTV transition was progressing well but with the number of analog TV sets still in use, it had been suggested that one way to shorten the transition period would be to provide subsidized set-top conversion boxes for analog receivers. At the current rate, It would appear that the transition to DTV would not be completed until the end of 2009. Most of the U.S. stations were simulcasting and the process of channel selection was well underway. He suggested that a better picture would probably emerge by June/July 2005. Mr. Dadourian further indicated that digital TV sets were selling well in the U.S. In terms of DTV content, satellite TV providers were active in promoting HDTV, e.g. DirecTV was planning to increase the number of HDTV channels from 49 to 70 by March 2005, as well as experimenting to increase the number of HDTV channels by using MPEG 4. In Canada, it was estimated that approximately 1 million HDTV receivers were in use. With regard to the latest HDTV models available on the market, all plasma sets and about 50% of LCD and DLP projector sets were equipped with ATSC tuners. Mr. Dadourian suggested that EBU was also trying to promote HDTV in Europe by standardizing on HDTV receiver formats and specifications. On the subject of cable "plug and play" receivers, Mr. Dadourian suggested that by July 2006, U.S. cable subscribers should be able to receive the basic digital cable service by a "plug and play" card from the cable company rather than through the secured channel via the set-top box. On the subject of DAB development, Mr. Dadourian said that there were currently 3 applications before the CRTC to provide satellite and terrestrial based DAB services. The Department had outlined the technical requirements for all three applications and a decision from the Commission would be expected in March/April 2005. Mr. Stacey was interested if the Department would be issuing a policy amendment to the utilization of U.S. satellites in the near future. Mr. Mimis replied that the Department was in the process of reviewing all the comments and a decision was expected soon. Mr. Lam reported that at the last CES (Consumer Electronics Show), a number of Far East manufacturers were displaying low cost Eureka 147 DAB receivers, primarily for the European market but could be converted to the L band for the Canadian market. Mr. Edwards commented that for DAB to properly develop in Canada, receiver availability and distinct programming were the two critical issues.

    Mr. Leung raised the issue of terrestrial repeaters as gap fillers for satellite radio service. Mr. Dadourian replied that the Department had established 12 .5 W as a limit for coordination, however, for the very low power repeaters, e.g. below 1 W, they may be exempted.

  • 5.2 BPR Updates

    Mr. Boilard informed the members that the Notice re. SCMO would be re-Gazetted due to a minor error in the original Notice. With regard to BPR-8, the Department was in the process of consulting with Transport Canada, the CCTA, and additional internal discussion with the Regions on the subject of cable leakage monitoring and measurement before finalizing on a Draft version for comment. Mr. Boilard referred to the Townsend Report on Antenna Towers and indicated that it may have an impact on Broadcast Procedures. He said that an executive summary of the Townsend Report would be posted on the Department's website in the next week and the Department intended to issue a single document, e.g. a CPC, to address issues such as and use consultation for all telecommunication services. Mr. Boilard also suggested that the Department would strongly encourage co-locating facilities using existing towers and structures. Mr. Mimis added that all the proposed changes would go through the usual process for public comment before implementation. He agreed to report any progress to the members on the matter. Mr. Edwards commented that the proposed CPC as mentioned should be comprehensive enough to address all the related antenna issues, e.g. SC6, etc.

  • 5.3 CRTC Updates

    Mr. Beauséjour raised the issue of CRTC application deadline and would like the Commission to clarify its policy on the issue. In response, Mr. Lubienietzky said that the Commission usually coincided the application deadline with the Department's technical approval deadline. He suggested that the Commission would usually grant an extension at the request of the applicant and depending on the circumstances and the wording of the deadline notice, late application would either be returned or retained for processing. He added that the Commission did not have a specific policy on application deadline and maintained a flexible approach on the issue. After a brief discussion, it was suggested that the current situation on accepting late applications could create problems for all parties concerned especially if the process was abused by some applicants, e.g. late submission of unrealistic technical approval applications before the hearing, etc. In concluding the discussion on the subject, it was agreed that members should read the notice carefully and respect the deadline as stated. In case of known abuses, members should report such cases to the Commission. Mr. Mimis added the Department's official policy was that applicants should receive the technical approval of the application before the Commission would issue a licence and such a concern was expressed in a recent communication to the Commission.

  • 5.4 Subcom 13 (SC6 Issues)

    Mr. Lam tabled TAC-05-01 which outlined a recommendation from Subcom 13 on the subject of measurement uncertainties. He said that the subcommittee had consulted extensively with Health Canada before proposing the said recommendation. Mr. Mimis indicated that should this committee accept this recommendation, the Department would react in a speedy manner to address the issue. Mr. Stacey suggested that it would be important for the Department to implement its decision uniformly across the Regions without ambiguity or interpretation. The proposed recommendation was approved and accepted by the members.

  • 5.5 Subcom 15 (Government-on-line)

    Mr. Vaccani reported on the work of Subcom 15 re. on-line delivery system for the submission and processing of broadcasting applications. He said that the main principles of the work were to be in partnership with Broadcast consultants to simplify submission of Broadcast applications and to develop a single applicant commitment to replace all existing commitments, etc. Mr. Vaccani cited a number of issues/constraints, e.g. the integration of Broadcasting applications into Spectrum Direct which had been developed and used for land mobile and microwave, the authentication of applicants/consultants, i.e., electronic signature, etc. He suggested that there would be three basic steps to prepare and file an application for a broadcasting certificate: obtaining a web profile, application preparation and submission and communication. Mr. Vaccani outlined the planned schedule for fiscal years 2004/2005 and 2005/2006. The planned work would include the development and testing of web profiles, development of internet processing, reception of regular power applications and updating of database, etc.

  • 5.6 Subcom 16 (BPR-3 Review)

    Mr. Henke presented some measurement results on FM 2nd adjacent channel interference at Mount Royal site in Montreal. He said that test parameters included basic band deviation vs. distance from the transmitter site, multipath, field intensity, etc. Mr. Henke indicated that there was no significant 2nd adjacent interference recorded in the test and therefore he suggested that consideration should be given to permit 2nd adjacent channel co-site transmission in some situations. He added that this issue should be further studied by subcommittee 16 (BPR-3 Review).

  • 5.7 Subcom 17 (Post-DTV Transition Issues)

    Mr. Dadourian reported that the planning parameters had been finalized and being applied to develop the DTV Plan, starting from Toronto and all the way down to Windsor and eventually to other areas and cities. Mr. Dadourian indicated that the planning parameters were based on a (90,90) coverage using the curves to establish the ERP and EHAAT values for the stations. Mr. Dadourian said that stations would be allotted to channels 7 to 51 and where possible, would respect channel priority based on existing station channel allotments. He expected that a preliminary DTV Plan should be completed by the end of 2005.

    Mr. Stacey raised the concern that Canada had disadvantaged itself by using a lower service distance parameter than that of the U.S. i.e. 82 km vs. 90 km. He suggested that planning parameters between the two countries should be harmonized for better coordination. In reply, Mr. Dadourian said that 82 km was chosen for planning purposes only. However, the Department would allow maximum parameters similar to the FCC's where possible. After a short discussion, Mr. Mimis suggested that we should first have a framework of a DTV Plan before examining detailed adjustments. In concluding the discussion on the subject, Mr. Dadourian agreed to recall a subcommittee to further study this issue.

  • 5.8 Subcom 18 (Windmills and Structures)

    Mr. Gauthier reported on the work of the subcommittee. He presented a number of documents re. the meeting and the findings of the subcommittee since the last B-TAC meeting. Amongst the documents was a draft report outlining the problems caused by windmills and a set of proposed guidelines for site coordination near broadcasting sites. Mr. Gauthier said that in Quebec, construction of windmills for power generation was progressing rapidly and there was an urgent need for site coordination guidelines. He asked the members to review this document and forward their comments to the CBC for the final report.

7. Other issues

  • 7.1 AM IBOC

    Mr. Lam reported that the Department had overcome the legal obstacle of purchasing the AM IBOC transmitter in Canada and was in a process of acquiring an AM IBOC transmitting system. He expected that the equipment would be in place by the end of March 2005. Mr. Lam indicated that the tests would be conducted in the Department's engineering laboratory under controlled conditions. The tests had been scheduled over the summer months and he expected that the measurement results would be available at the September B-TAC meeting.

  • 7.2 Digital Multi-Media Broadcasting (DMB)

    Mr. Voyer presented an overview of the technical aspects of Digital Multi-Media Broadcasting (DMB) technology and contending technologies. He said that DMB was an extension of DAB using it as a data pipeline to portable, hand-held and mobile receivers. He cited Bosch, Germany and Korean S-DMB and T-DMB as examples of such a system. He suggested that the World DAB Technical Committee was in the process of standardizing enabling technologies for multimedia broadcasting. Mr. Voyer also pointed out that there were other contenders to DMB such as 3G and DVB-H, etc. As for the spectrum for DMB, he said that Korea was looking at using Band III (174–240 MHz), Europe was planning on using Band III and L-Band, while the U.S. may use DVB-H and L-Band (1600 MHz). He said that the CRC would be studying the possibility of introducing 1.5 MHz DAB or DMB signal(s) into 6 MHz TV channels for large area coverage.

  • 7.3 IEEE Activities

    Mr. Mimis said that the IEEE was developing a standard to be used within the television broadcast band to provide broadband services in remote and rural areas in the U.S. He believed the system would have some sensing device to detect co-channel and 1st adjacent channel TV signals in order to avoid using those frequencies. Mr. Dadourian added that this system may also be used by other low power, licence exempt consumer products. He suggested that the adoption of this system may be a concern to broadcasters and the Department would be monitoring its development in the U.S. to determine its impact on TV broadcasting service.

  • 7.4 Land-Use Consultation with Municipalities

    Mr. Beauséjour said that the issue had been extensively debated by the members at previous B-TAC meetings and it was understood that the Department would accept broadcast applications with an undertaking from the applicant that land-use consultation with municipalities would be done at a later date. However, not all Regions were treating broadcast applications the same way and he suggested that the Department should inform all its officers of this decision. Speaking on behalf of the Quebec Region, Mr. Faucher said that Quebec Region would accept most broadcast applications with an undertaking of a later submission of municipal consultation except in cases where it knew or suspected that the municipality would likely reject the chosen location. Mr. Stacey referred to the forthcoming CPC on antenna structure which would apply to all telecommunication services, and he suggested that broadcasters should not be required to meet additional conditions in broadcast applications. Mr. Mimis said that the existing Rules in the BPR would apply and any changes in the BPR would only be done after the release of the Townsend' s Report. In the meantime, HQ would consult with the Regions to ensure uniform application of the BPR requirements.

  • 7.5 UTM Grid Maps

    Mr. Beauséjour proposed that the Department and the CRTC should consider accepting UTM grid maps together with the site's longitude and latitude coordinates in broadcast applications. He pointed out that other agencies e.g. Transport Canada had accepted such format. Mr. Mimis said that the Department would consider this request and would report back to the members at a later date.

  • 7.6 NavCom Software Package

    Mr. Beauséjour reported that there had been some problems with the existing NavCom Software package and he would like to know when the new version of the software would be made available for use. Mr. Vowles commented that the new version had corrected the error of the original package. Mr. Lam agreed to forward a reply* from the Informatics Section.

    *(the new version is expected to be available at the next B-TAC meeting in June).

  • 7.7 Longley-Rice Prediction Model

    Mr. Gauthier said that using Predict 2.08R2 for analysis had some limitations, especially when trying to integrate with other software packages. He suggested that the Longley-Rice method would be a better choice since it could be integrated with other software packages. As well, it had been used by the FCC for coordination. After a brief discussion on the differences of the two methods, Mr. Voyer presented a comparison between the results of both methods with actual measurement data. He said that the L-Band CW measurement was conducted in Ottawa and FM measurement were done (CKKQ-FM) in Victoria. In general, Longley-Rice appeared to be more optimistic in its predicted value. However, Mr. Voyer suggested that more studies would be needed to better quantify the differences with the CRC-Predict version. In concluding the discussion on the subject, it was suggested that CRC and the CBC would look further into this issue and report back to the committee at a later date.

8. Date of next meeting

The date of the next meeting will be Monday June 6, 2005.