Technical Advisory Committee on Broadcasting(B-TAC) Minutes of Second Meeting of 2004, held June 7, 2004

Attendees

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

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

  • S. Lamarre 
    Delivery Technology
  • François Gauthier
    Delivery Technology

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

  • A. Lubienietzky
    Broadcast Technology
  • G. Bergin
    Broadcast Technology
  • K. Le
    Broadcast Engineering Analysis

Broadcastors and Consultants

  • G. Henke
    D.E.M. Allen & Associates Ltd
  • S. Edwards 
    Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
  • P. Labarre
    Pierre Labarre & Associates Ltd.
  • D. Macaulay 
    D. H. Macaulay Engineering
  • W. Stacey
    CAB / Wayne A. Stacey & Associates
  • J. Feltmate
    Consultant
  • J. Moltner
    Teknyx Limited
  • B. Dormer
    Consultant
  • J. Sadoun
    Y. R. H.
  • E. Bogdanowicz
    Consultant
  • D. Keeble
    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
  • G. Hopkinson
    Broadcast Application Engineering
  • K. Ahmed
    Broadcast Application Engineering
  • A. Leduc 
    Broadcast Automated Systems
  • S. Faucher 
    Engineering, Quebec Region
  • A. Leung
    Engineering, Ontario Region

Nav Canada

  • D. Smyth
    Spectrum Management

1. Chairman's Opening Remarks

Mr. Mimis welcomed the members and opened the second meeting of 2004.

2. Approval of Agenda

The title of agenda item 7.3 was changed to 'SCMO signal injection levels'. Ms. Lamarre added item 7.5 'changes in CBC Human Resources'. The agenda was approved by the members.

3. Draft Minutes of the First Meeting of 2004

3. "Draft Minutes of the February meeting of 2004"

was corrected to: 

"Draft Minutes of the September meeting of 2003"

4. 4th para:  "In the meantime, broadcasters could indicate…"

was changed to: 

"In the meantime, broadcasters may indicate…"

5.2 4th para:  "…when the measured field strength value of the signal was within 130 dBu."

was amended to:

"…when the measured field strength value exceeded 130 dBu."

7th para:  "Mr. Beausejour referred to BPR-3 and suggested that part of Section 14 could be modified…"

was amended to: 

"Mr. Beausejour referred to BPR-3 and suggested that part of Section H could be modified…"

The draft minutes were approved as changed.

4. Matters Arising from the Minutes

Mr. Mimis said that a number of subjects raised at the last meeting were being studied by the various sub-committees and progress on their work would be reported later during this meeting. He also referred to the mobile/PCS installation issue discussed at the last meeting and reported that the Department would review its existing licensing requirement for changes which would require mobile/PCS licensees to consult with broadcasters before erecting towers near broadcast transmitting sites. Any proposed change would be reported back to this committee for discussion.

5. Status Report

  • 5.1 Digital TV/DRB

    DRB

    Mr. Dadourian reported that in the U.S. satellite-based subscription digital radio such as XM Radio and Sirius was progressing well. XM Radio claimed to have surpassed 2 million subscribers with an 80% renewal rate. On IBOC development, Mr. Dadourian said that there were now over 60 FM stations and 20 AM stations in the U.S. carrying HD radio. In DRB, there had been a number of interesting developments, especially for data carriage in multimedia broadcasting or webcasting. He said that a Korean manufacturer had been offering its equipment for such service and should it become a reality in Europe and may be in Canada, the Department may have to review its policy on data transmission capacity in the DRB channels.

    DTV

    Mr. Dadourian referred to the cable plug-and-play standard which would allow receivers to have digital services from cable operators and be compatible with cable outputs in all regions of the country. He said that currently CableLabs in the U.S. was the sole certifier for this equipment and at least 5 or 6 manufacturers with about 12 models of their receivers had been certified and available on the market. Mr. Dadourian estimated that by Christmas 2004, there would be over a million such receivers available for the public. On the subject of DTV transition in the U.S., he suggested that the projected target date of January 2006 seemed unreasonable and that 2009 would be more realistic to achieve the 85% target. Indeed, the FCC had issued a Notice of Inquiry to address the need of the remaining 15% of households without DTV sets. Among the suggestions, one was that spectrum licensees should provide financial support to maintain local services. With regard to DTV receiver performance, Mr. Dadourian cited two important initiatives currently being considered by the ATSC; one was the 'enhanced VSB' to make receivers more robust to error at the expense of reduced bit rates for picture quality. The other initiative entitled 'Distributed Transmission' would seek to enhance synchronization of multiple transmitters in terms of reception power and other parameters within a coverage area. Mr. Dadourian indicated that these two initiatives were still being studied and had not yet been adopted by the ATSC. In other development, the ATSC had set up a committee to develop minimum performance guidelines for DTV receivers and it proposed that minimum performance specification should be regulated. However, the FCC had rejected regulation in favour of market competition.

    A short discussion followed on the current DTV development in the U.S. Mr. Edwards suggested that with the mandated feature requirement in the U.S., Canada may become a 'dumping ground' for older models of TV sets. Mr. Mimis pointed out that Canada, unlike the U.S., preferred the market driven option and therefore had no deadline for DTV transition. Mr. Dadourian acknowledged that initially there may be some dumping of older model sets without digital tuners. However, he believed that manufacturers would want to standardize their products for the whole of the North American market. He also suggested that the Department would monitor the situation and take any appropriate action if needed.

    In concluding the discussion on the subject, Mr. Dadourian informed the members that the revised DTV plan to accommodate the Public Safety channels would be published sometime this summer. As well, a revised BPR-7 to allow minor variation of parameters would also be published in the near future.

  • 5.2 BPR Updates

    Mr. Boilard informed the members that BPR-1 and BPR-7 would soon be gazetted. He also said that BPR-8 was under review and the Department was waiting for comments from the CCTA before gazetting the document. Mr. Boilard also indicated that Mr. Stacey's proposal (TAC-04-03) to add remote monitoring equipment would be included in Section 5 of BPR-1. Members then discussed the frequency in which calibration of the equipment would be required in light of the stability of modern equipment. After some discussion, it was suggested that references to calibration intervals could be incorporated into regular maintenance schedules of systems using remote monitoring equipment. The Department would seek comments from the Regions before finalizing on the text.

  • 5.3 CRTC Updates

    Mr. Bergin reported that public hearings for subscription Digital Radio Service would be called soon. He also said that the Commission had announced in its Distribution Notice to the upcoming proceedings that carriage requirements for the High Definition Pay Specialty Services would be issued soon and for those via satellite would be issued at a later date. Mr. Bergin indicated that the Commission was currently processing applications for transmission over the air stations through the issuance of new licenses as well as applications for high definition T.V. Pay Specialty Services through license amendments. Mr. Edwards inquired about the so called 'fast-track' application and the conditions for such applications. Mr. Bergin replied that to qualify for the 'fast-track' approval, the application must meet the CRTC's policy. As well, there must be no intervention from other parties.

  • 5.4 Subcommittee 13

    Mr. Lam reported that the subcommittee initially met to discuss how to address the issue of measurement uncertainties and it was decided to seek clarification from Health Canada on the safety margin. However, the reply from Health Canada was somewhat ambiguous in terms of whether instrumentation uncertainty factors should be added to the measured values. It was agreed at a second meeting that further clarification from Health Canada would be required. Mr. Lam hoped that the issue would be resolved by the next B-TAC meeting. He also indicated that the Department was planning a training seminar for all its inspectors on the subject of Safety Code 6 and R.F. measurement methods.

  • 5.5 Subcommittee 16

    Mr. Dexter reported that the subcommittee met to discuss possible changes to BPR-3. He said that a number of issues were discussed including protection criteria, allotment issues, etc. He said that the subcommittee also examined the IF short spacing issues, however, he suggested that some tests may be required to establish those limits. Mr. Dexter also referred to repeater issues in Section H which the subcommittee would be studying. Mr. Marcoux referred to the discussion at the last B-TAC meeting in which subcommittee 16 was mandated to study the DTV interference issues. Mr. Dexter said that the terms of reference of subcommittee 16 included the DTV interference issues which would be a part of the subcommittee's output. Mr. Dadourian suggested that the current specification in BPR-7 on DTV interference would remain until further information was available on the subject.

  • 5.6 Subcommittee 17

    Mr. Dadourian said that the subcommittee would meet in the coming week to discuss post DTV transition issues. These would include objectives and priorities of the broadcasting industry as well as those of the Department and the CRTC. There would also be technical issues to deal with, e.g. appropriate protection ratios for co-channels and 1st adjacent channels, criteria for coverage prediction and interference prediction, etc. Other topics may concern with the definition of the 'core' DTV spectrum, channel short spacing, etc. Mr. Mimis added that the Department would be meeting with the FCC later this month and many of the above mentioned issues would be on the agenda of the meeting and it would be helpful for the subcommittee to provide some guidelines for principles and priority issues. Mr. Stacey said that there had been some criticism in the U.S. of Canada's channel allotment policy in the transition plan and he would like to know if the Department would maintain the channel protection principle in the upcoming negotiation with the FCC. In response, Mr. Dadourian indicated that full protection for all stations would be the objective, however, depending on certain situation, some adjustments of the Plan may be negotiated. In concluding the discussion, Mr. Stacey said that the CAB had briefed its members on the Transition Plan and was awaiting feedback on some of the relevant issues.

  • 5.7 Subcommittee 18

    Ms. Lamarre informed the members that a meeting had been planned for July/August and would report back to this committee at the next meeting.

  • 5.8 ITU-R SG6 Meeting

    Mr. Mimis referred to tabled document TAC-04-11 which summarized recent works of ITU Study Group 6. Mr. Mimis highlighted two items; the first concerned with additional frequencies in the HF band for digital transmission. It was decided at the last SG 6 meeting that HF broadcasting spectrum requirements would be about 250 – 800 kHz. He was seeking input from the broadcasting Industry on this topic in order to help formulate Canada's position at the next WRC. The second item was the deployment of ultra wide band applications over the broadcasting band. Another agenda item which may be of interest to Broadcasters was the planning of non-geostationary satellites for broadcasting. He suggested that members should monitor the activities of the ITU to safeguard their interests regarding broadcasting.

  • 5.9  FCC NPRM on Broadcast Spectrum

    Mr. Mimis referred to a recent FCC NPRM on Broadcast Spectrum which proposed to use vacant broadcast spectrum for internet wireless broadband services. He suggested that this type of service would likely be unlicensed and may cause some interference to the Broadcasting Service. Mr. Stacey commented that once again the FCC appeared to have targeted vacant broadcast spectrum for non-broadcasting services without a similar policy for other vacant spectrum. Mr. Mimis indicated that the Department would be monitoring its development in the U.S. and asked the members to submit their comments on the subject to the Department.

6. Radio Broadcasting and Related Questions

  • 6.1  Informatics

    Mr. Vaccani reported that the database was now 99% up to date and that the updating would soon be completed. With regard to those applications which were 'referred' to the CRTC, the Department would now post the gazette date in a new data field to indicate their status. These applications would then be made available using the extractor program. Mr. Vaccani indicated that this would be implemented very soon. Mr. Dexter added that another banner (CN) would also be introduced soon to indicate applications which had been conditionally approved by the CRTC but required changing the channel.

7. Other Business

  • 7.1 NavCanada/Transport Canada Single Form

    Mr. Lam introduced Mr. Smyth from NavCanada to present the latest development re. the single land use form. Mr. Smyth said that the original intention of the joint Transport Canada/NavCanada/Industry Canada joint working group was to develop a single land use application form. However, this was interrupted last year by organizational changes within NavCanada. Since then, NavCanada management had had second thoughts on the single form idea and had decided to maintain the status quo, ie. separate NavCanada and Transport Canada forms. Mr. Smyth suggested that NavCanada felt that the current system worked well and it did not want to become the liaison point between the clients and Transport Canada. He further indicated that NavCanada would be centralizing the land use application processing (September 2004) to create a single contact point for clients, thus, further reducing the processing time. Mr. Boilard added that BPR-1 would be modified to specify when application forms would have to be submitted to NavCanada for land use approval.

  • 7.2 AM IBOC

    Mr. Stacey referred to tabled document TAC-04-05 and said that skywave interference at night from AM IBOC transmission would be a real concern to Broadcasters. He pointed out the AM IBOC is not an in-band-on-channel signal since the primary digital carriers are transmitted on the first adjacent channel. Mr. Stacey referred to the example cited in the TAC-04-05 (CFRB) which showed that such stations would be vulnerable to skywave interference at night from distant AM IBOC stations. Mr. Stacey provided an audio demonstration of the effects of such interference with a recording of an analog skywave signal being degraded by an IBOC service associated with an AM station operating on a first adjacent frequency. He urged the Department to take all necessary steps to protect AM stations in Canada. A short discussion followed on the interference problem and issues related to the obligation for the U.S. to respect international agreements etc. Mr. Mimis said that the Department was mindful of the potential impact of AM IBOC systems and was planning to conduct tests of the AM IBOC system. The subject would also be an agenda item in the upcoming FCC/IC meeting (June 29, 2004). He referred to the tabled document TAC-04-10 which the Department would be presenting to other Region 2 countries at the next CITEL meeting. Comments from members on the issue would be welcomed.

  • 7.3 SCMO Signal Injection Levels

    Mr. Dadourian said that under the current rule, SCMO signal injection levels in stereo mode may be up to 10% of the main signal level for both the 53–76 kHz and the 76–99 kHz range. However, if one were to include the 2.7% injection for the 57kHz RBDS signal, the level for SCMO signals in 53–76 kHz would have to be limited to only 7.3% thus reducing their coverage. In view of this, it was decided that this rule would be changed to allow a combined total of 20% for the lower and the upper range, i.e. 53–76 kHz and 76–99 kHz but with no more than 10% above 76 kHz (TAC-04-04). Mr. Dadourian pointed out this would harmonize with the U.S. standard and the proposed change would be published in a Gazette Notice in the near future. On a related topic, Mr. Dadourian reported that the CBC had developed an algorithm

    m to calculate RBDS PI codes for Canadian stations. He suggested that once permission was obtained from the CBC, it would be made available, e.g. on the Department Website for broadcasters to obtain their PI codes.

  • 7.4 TV Coordination re Ch. 63-68

    Mr. Dadourian said that the RABC had set up a joint study group to deal with the TV/Landmobile coordination issues re. Ch. 63/68 which had been allocated for Public Safety use. He said that a number of TV receivers had been tested for mobile interference in the immediate adjacent channels, i.e. Ch. 62, 64, 67, 69 etc. in order to develop the required protection criteria. Mr. Dadourian indicated that further development on the subject would be reported back to the members at future meetings.

  • 7.5 Changes in CBC Human Resources

    Ms. Lamarre informed the members that there would be some personnel changes in the CBC's Engineering Section. She indicated that she herself would be leaving the CBC Engineering Department in pursuit of a new career. However, Ms. Lamarre indicated that she would still like to be involved in Broadcasting in the future. She said that Mr. Francois Gauthier would likely assume responsibility of managing engineering projects in the CBC and there would also be enough experienced technical staff to maintain CBC's participation in this and other Committees dealing with Spectrum issues. Ms. Lamarre concluded by suggesting that the CBC would be sending a letter to the Department formally announcing the personnel changes.

8. Date of next meeting

The next meeting will be on Monday, September 13, 2004 in Ottawa.