Technical Advisory Committee on Broadcasting (B-TAC) Minutes of Third Meeting of 2004, held on September 13, 2004

Attendees

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

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

  • P. Marcoux
    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
  • B. Dormer
    Consultant
  • J. Sadoun
    Y. R. H.

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
  • L. Chong
    Broadcast Application Engineering
  • D. Richard
    Broadcast Application Engineering
  • A. Youness
    Broadcast Application Engineering
  • A. Leduc 
    Broadcast Automated Systems
  • S. Faucher 
    Engineering, Quebec Region

Nav Canada

  • S. Vowles
    Spectrum Management

1. Chairman's Opening Remarks

Mr. Mimis welcomed the members to the third meeting of 2004 and opened the meeting. He said that it had been a busy summer with the various subcommittees studying a number of on-going issues.

2. Approval of Agenda

The agenda was approved by the members as presented.

3. Draft Minutes of the Second Meeting of 2004

The following changes were made to the draft minutes as presented.

5.1 "He said that currently CableLab in the U.S.…"

was changed to:

"He said that currently CableLabs in the U.S.…"

5.3 CRTC Updates

"Mr. Bergin indicated that the Commission was currently processing some applications…"

was changed to:

"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 application for high definition TV Pay Specialty Services through license amendments."

5.8 It was decided at the last SG6 meeting that HF broadcasting requirement would be in the range of 250 – 800 kHz."

was changed to: 

 "It was decided at the last SG6 meeting that HF broadcasting spectrum requirement would be about 250 – 800 kHz."

6.1 "Department would now post the gazette date in a new frame to indicate their status."

was changed to:

"Department would now post the gazette date in a new field to indicate their status."'

7.2 was edited as follows:

"Mr. Stacey referred to tabled document TAC-04-05 and said that sky-wave interference at night from AM IBOC transmission would be a real concern to Broadcasters. He pointed out that AM IBOC is not an in-band-on-channel signal since the primary digital carriers are transmitted on the first adjacent channels. Mr. Stacey referred to the example cited in the TAC-04-05 (CFRB) which showed that such stations would be vulnerable to sky-wave interference at night from distant AM IBOC stations. Mr. Stacey provided an audio demonstration of the effects of such interference with a recording of analog sky-wave signals being degraded by an FM IBOC service associated with an AM station operating on a first adjacent frequency."

7.3 was edited as follows:

"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 57 kHz RBDS signal, the level for SCMO signals in the 53–76 kHz would have to be limited to only 7.3% thus reducing their coverage."

The draft minutes were approved as amended.

4. Matters Arising from the Minutes

Mr. Lam said that matters arising from the minutes with the exception of 'PCS/mobile installations near broadcast transmitting sites' would be covered by item 5 – Status Report in today's agenda. On the matter of PCS/mobile installations near broadcasting transmitting sites, Mr. Mimis reported that the long anticipated Townsend Report was issued in a draft form which the Department was currently reviewing. He indicated that once the Townsend Report was finalized, the Department would address the PCS/mobile installation issue.

5. Status Report

  • 5.1 Digital TV/DRB

    Digital TV

    Mr. Dadourian reported that the FCC was finally ready to sign the amendment to the Canada/U.S. LOU re. DTV channels after clearing with the State Department. The amendment was the result of allocating channels 63/68 as Public Safety Channels. He indicated that details of the amended LOU, including the substituted channels, would be made available in the next few weeks. He further suggested that the Department would issue a Policy document re. channels 60–69 as well as the revised DTV Transition Plan to reflect the changes.

    Mr. Dadourian reported that ATSC had now approved the 'Enhanced VSB' initiative, which Canada did not support, and the 'Distributed Transmission initiative'. He said that additional information on these two initiatives may be obtained at the ATSC website. On a related matter, Mr. Dadourian informed the members that Mexico had finally chosen the ATSC DTV standard and was hoping to have a number of commercial stations on air before the end of 2006.

    Other South American countries however, were still undecided, e.g. Brazil may adopt more than one standard for DTV. Meanwhile, South Korea had reaffirmed its adoption of the ATSC standard but added DVB-H for portable and mobile applications. Mr. Dadourian said that ATSC had also adopted DTV receiver improvements for phase noise, sensitivity, selectivity and multi-path, etc. ( relevant documents can be found at the ATSC website). He also informed the members that the 5th generation commercial ATSC receivers were being tested by the CRC and they seemed to perform significantly better than previous receivers. He suggested that the CRC would issue a test report in due course and the findings would be studied as part of the work of subcommittee 17.

    DRB

    Mr. Dadourian said that the CRTC was currently reviewing 3 applications for digital subscription radio services; two satellite based services and one terrestrial service using the L band. With regard to IBOC development in the U.S., Mr. Dadourian suggested that ClearChannel would implement FM IBOC system for its stations over the next 3 years. As well, Cox stations and other major radio operators had indicated similar plans to adopt FM IBOC for their stations in the coming years.

    Mr. Stacey inquired about the status of the RBDS issue to which Mr. Dadourian replied that the Department would be publishing a Gazette Notice for the implementation of the PI codes for RBDS (recently circulated to the members).

    Mr. Stacey pointed out that the existing software had some difficulties in generating some PI Codes for certain call signs and may need some corrections.

    Mr. Gauthier indicated that the CBC would be looking into this problem. On a related matter, Mr. Stacey suggested that Canada should adopt the same NRSC standard for providing additional text information in the RBDS system e.g. artists' information, etc. Mr. Dadourian indicated that the Department would monitor further development before making any decision on the issue.

  • 5.2 BPR Updates

    Mr. Boilard said that proposed changes in BPR-1 and BPR-7 had been gazetted for comment in July. As well, the Department had now received comments from the CCTA on BPR-8. He indicated that the comments and suggestions were being reviewed by the Department and the final draft would be gazetted when ready.

  • 5.3 CRTC Updates

    Mr. Bergin informed the members that the Commission had issued Policy Notice 2004-58 for comment. It was concerned with the proposed framework for the licensing and distribution of HDTV Specialty Services. Mr. Bergin highlighted a number of issues in the Policy Notice, e.g. guaranteed carriage must be accompanied by minimum high definition programming. Carriage on Cable Service undertaking would go from 'access' to 'must carry' when analog services were dropped. He also noted that for the tiering linkage rules e.g. packaging, Cable Service would be treated the same as Satellite Service undertakings if the policy was adopted as proposed. He indicated that the Commission was currently processing applications through license amendments but would eventually issue new licenses when the new policy was adopted. Mr. Bergin also mentioned that there was a proceeding underway that was considering 'Digital Basic' and 'Discretionary' issues when analog and /or analog with digital become all digital. With regard to satellite carriage of HDTV services, capacity had become an issue. There was an application for Omnibus channels where the distributor would place HDTV programming from multi-sources into common channels. Broadcasters had submitted interventions expressing certain concerns. Meanwhile, the Commission would continue to process applications for digital over the air Pay and Specialty Services.

  • 5.4 Subcom. 13 (SC6 Issues)

    Mr. Lam reported that the subcommittee held a couple of meetings to deal with the issue of measurement uncertainties, in particular, instrumentation uncertainties. He suggested that a solution had been proposed and would be presented to the members after consultation with Regional staff of its practicability in operation. Mr. Mimis added that any solution would be based on sound engineering principles and measurement practices.

  • 5.5 Subcom. 16 (BPR-3 Review)

    Mr. Dexter presented a summary of the work of the subcommittee. He listed a number of relevant issues such as protecting under-utilized allotments, new rules re. contour limitations, implementing allotments at other than city centre co-ordinates, adoption of an overall protection rule, options for protection assessment calculations, e.g. using Predict 2.08 versus the F(50,10) curves, short spacing notification procedure to related stations, modification to Section H of BPR-3 and the relevancy of the IF Interference spacing rule, etc. He indicated that some of the above issues had been resolved, however, many issues would require further study and discussion. On the subject of 'modification to Section H of BPR-3', Mr. Stacey pointed out that rules governing the use of repeaters only covered FM stations. He said that with the increasing number of AM stations using FM repeaters within their AM coverage areas, there may be a need for guidelines to include AM stations as well. A short discussion followed on the circumstances and the impact of using FM repeaters as 'gap-fillers' by both the FM and AM broadcasters. Mr. Lubienietzky commented that ultimately, CRTC approval would be required for the use of repeaters and this would be based on the need and other marketing factors. In concluding the discussion, Mr. Mimis agreed that this issue should be further studied by the Department for a solution.

  • 5.6 Subcom 17 (Post DTV Transition Issues)

    Mr. Dadourian said that a number of issues had been reviewed by the subcommittee. These included choices of parameters, methods and practices to use in DTV Planning. He suggested that the preferred option would be compatible with the FCC methods and practices to simplify planning and coordination. Mr. Dadourian commented on the deficiency of using the low VHF channels, e.g. Ch. 2-6 for DTV and suggested it that DTV channels would be located in the UHF band and in the upper VHF band. The lower VHF channels, if ever used for DTV, would be in remote regions with a low RF noise environment. As for the post DTV Transition Policies, the Department was planning to consult internally as well as with the CRTC. In the meantime, a questionnaire had been circulated to the broadcasters for their comments and preferences in DTV channel selection. He indicated that all the above items would be further discussed at the next subcommittee meeting.

  • 5.7 Subcommittee 18 (Windmills and Structures)

    Mr. Gauthier said that Subcom. 18 held its first meeting to define the scope and the schedule of the work. Unfortunately, Hydro Quebec and the Provincial Department of Natural Resources were unavailable to attend the meeting. He indicated that a set of guidelines governing the construction of  windmills and other large structures near broadcasting towers would be recommended by this subcommittee and this could be adopted by Industry Canada as national guidelines. Mr. Gauthier also proposed to submit this set of guidelines to the RABC for information to the other sectors of industry. A brief discussion followed on the potential problems caused by these structures to the broadcasting signals and Mr. Gauthier indicated that the study would continue and report back to members at subsequent meetings.

  • 5.8 Subcom 15 (Government-on-line)

    Mr. Vaccani updated on the work of this subcommittee. He said that all the results thus far had been posted on the Department's 'experimental' site. These included the e-application form, e-engineering brief submission and the commitment form etc. Recently, work had been focused on the implementation issues. Mr. Vaccani highlighted two main aspects of the issue, namely the integration of 'Spectrum Direct', currently used for landmobile and microwave application submission, and the status tracking of applications. Mr. Vaccani indicated that once the planning and the scheduling could be arranged, he would recall the subcommittee to define specifications and requirements of the work required. In the meantime, he invited the members to visit the Department's 'experimental' site for more information.

6. Informatics

Mr. Leduc reported that there had been no significant development in the Informatics area except changes in accessing the broadcast database. For security reasons, members could no longer access the database directly but would have to go through the Department's Strategis site.

7. Other Business

  • 7.1 AM IBOC Tests

    Mr. Lam said that the Department was planning to conduct subjective testing of different receivers at the Nautel location in Halifax. The tests would involve using the local AM station signals as reference signals and a locally generated AM IBOC 1st adjacent channel signal as the interfering signal. Unfortunately, the intended reference signals measured inside the Nautel building were found to be too weak and testing may have to be done outside the complex, and with it, difficulties in planning the test set-up.

    After a brief discussion, Mr. Labarre suggested using a 'helmholtz coil' as an alternative method for testing. He said that such a test method would be done under controlled conditions and would be repeatable. Mr. Lam agreed to investigate further on this method of testing.

    Mr. Mimis added that as a result of a recent CITEL resolution, the Department had asked the FCC to assist in acquiring the IBOC equipment from Ibiquity for testing.

  • 7.2 Modifications to the NRSC AM Emission Standard

    Mr. Stacey referred to document TAC-04-13 which outlined a possible recommendation from the NRSC to the FCC to modify the existing AM emission standard to accommodate adjacent channel AM IBOC signals. This recommendation may require the AM audio bandwidth to be scaled down to 5 kHz with a corresponding reduction in the stop-band mask level and the pre- and de-emphasis curves, etc.

    Mr. Stacey suggested that should this be accepted by the FCC, the Department could either reaffirm the existing 10 kHz standard or go along with the recommendation. In either case, the Canada/U.S. AM Agreement may have to be amended. Mr. Dadourian commented that the Department would be monitoring its development before taking any appropriate action.

  • 7.3 CITEL Activities

    Mr. Mimis reported that at the last CITEL meeting in July, a resolution (TAC-04-12) regarding the implementation of AM IBOC was adopted by Region II countries which required the U.S. Administration to provide technical assistance for interference assessment study. Mr. Mimis suggested that this may result in the availability of the Ibiquity system for laboratory testing. In the meantime, Canada would not object to IBOC transmission in the U.S. as long as they did not cause interference to Canadian stations. Mr. Stacey suggested that AM IBOC interference would be difficult to identify but he urged broadcasters to be vigilant and report any AM IBOC interference to the Department for further action.

    On another matter related to DTV, the U.S. was active in promoting the ATSC standard to the Region II countries.

    Mr. Mimis reported that in the ITU-R, two issues may be of interest to broadcasters; one was the HF Spectrum requirement which broadcasters such as 'Voice of America' and the 'BBC' etc. and some telecommunication operators showed a great deal of interest. However, there was resistance from NATO and other Defence Departments for such a requirement. He urged Canadian broadcasters to actively participate in the discussion to safeguard their own interests. The other issue concerned with the French proposal to implement non-geostationary satellite for broadcasting in the TV band and ITU-R would be looking at protection criteria for terrestrial TV broadcasting. He suggested that Canada would submit a contribution on the characteristics of portable receivers and its protection requirement. He asked the members to provide comments and suggestions on the subject.

8. Date of Next Meeting

The date of the next meeting will be on Tuesday, February 1, 2005.