Technical Advisory Committee on Broadcasting (B-TAC) Minutes of Third Meeting of 2005, held October 3, 2005

Attendees

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

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

  • F. Gauthier
    Delivery Technology
  • I. Munro
    Delivery Technology

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

  • G. Bergin
    Manager, Broadcast Technology

Broadcasters and Consultants

  • G. Henke
    D.E.M. Allen & Associates Ltd.
  • P. Labarre
    Pierre Labarre & Associates Ltd.
  • D. Macaulay
    D. H. Macaulay Engineering
  • S. Edwards
    Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
  • J. Hoeppner
    Corus Entertainment
  • M. Beauséjour
    Y. R. H.
  • J. Moltner
    Consultant
  • B. Sawyer
    Y. R. H. Associates
  • W. Stacey
    CAB / Wayne A. Stacey & Associates
  • B. Dormer
    Consultant
  • J. Feltmate
    Consultant
  • A. Lubienietzky
    Consultant
  • M. Mathieu
    Consultant

Industry Canada

  • J. Dadourian
    Broadcast Standards and Procedures
  • D. MacMillan
    Broadcast Planning and New Technology
  • J-M Boilard
    Broadcast Regulation
  • L. Toll
    Broadcast Regulation
  • K. Le
    Broadcast Application Engineering
  • D. Kinross
    Broadcast Application Engineering
  • P. Vaccani
    Director, Broadcast Application Engineering
  • J. Dexter
    Broadcast Application Engineering
  • M. Dumas
    Broadcast Application Engineering
  • D. Roy
    Broadcast Automated Systems
  • A. Leduc
    Broadcast Automated Systems
  • S. Faucher
    Engineering, Quebec Region
  • A. Leung
    Engineering, Ontario Region
  • K. Anderson
    Engineering, Atlantic Region

NAV CANADA

  • S. Vowles
    Spectrum Management

1. Chairman's Opening Remarks

Mr. Mimis welcomed the members to the third meeting of 2005. He said that the subscription radio issue was finally settled with the Cabinet supporting the CRTC's decision. He also informed the members that the Department met with the FCC to discuss issues such as the post DTV planning, TV coordination, changes to the AM agreement to accommodate digital systems through a Regional Conference before WRC-07. Mr. Mimis suggested that the FCC would be submitting draft questions to the ITU to invite studies for the development of protection criteria for AM and digital systems (TAC-05-07). Members were urged to provide their comments to the Department on the issue before the next working party meeting.

2. Approval of Agenda

The agenda was approved as proposed.

3. Draft Minutes of the Second Meeting of 2005

The following amendments were made to the draft minutes.

5.1  Digital TV/DRB

'Mr. Stacey added that the real intent of the Broadcast Flag was not for fear of copying by the consumer but rather to stop showing the program on the Internet.'

was amended to:

'Mr. Stacey added that the real intent of the Broadcast Flag was not to prevent copying by the consumer for personal use but rather to prevent program streaming on the Internet.

DRB

'However, all the three licenses were conditioned upon…'

was changed to:

'However, all the three licenses were conditional upon…'

5.2  AM IBOC Test

'however, its objective would be to evaluate the impact of reducing the AM bandwidth from 10 kHz to 5 kHz.'

was changed to:

'however, its objective would be to evaluate the impact of reducing the AM audio bandwidth from 10 kHz to 5 kHz.'

5.3  BPR Updates

'BET-6 (SCMO) and BET-7 (TV Receivers)'

was amended to:

'BETS-6 (SCMO) and BETS-7 (TV Receivers)'

5.4  CRTC Updates

'Mr. Bergin also said that the Commission would be conducting…'

was changed to:

'Mr. Bergin also said that the Commission might be conducting…'

'In the meantime…HDTV Special Services'

was amended to:

'In the meantime…HDTV Pay and Specialty Services'

'Mr. Bergin indicated that…some doubt on the 'market driven'…'

was changed to:

'Mr. Bergin indicated that…some concern on the 'market driven'…'

6.   Informatics

'ASCII/dbf'

was changed to:

'Dbf/ASCII'

The minutes were approved as amended.

4. Matters Arising From The Minutes

Mr. Mimis said that a number of issues were identified at the last meeting and some of these had been dealt with as follows:

  1. Information package relating to e-application had been sent to the members;
  2.  The databases would now be updated daily instead of weekly;
  3.  A proposal (TAC-05-03) to relax the call-sign rules had been drafted.

On item c), Mr. Dadourian added that the proposed changes would balance the Department's obligation to regulate the requirement for station call-signs and the right of applicants to select their own call-signs. He indicated that the proposed changes would be gazetted to allow a 60-day comment period before implementation.

5. Status Report

5.1 Digital TV/DRB

DTV

Mr. Dadourian said that in the U.S. the Senate DTV Bill would become public on October 19, 2005. In the Budget Reconciliation package, the analogue TV cut-off date would be revealed. He suggested that the two likely dates would be either December 2008 or mid 2009. The Bill would outline the subsidies for set-top boxes for analog TV receivers, which could cost the U.S. government up to $800 million for the project. Other elements in the Bill may include carriage requirement for broadcasters in case of multitasking and D/A conversion for cable operators to continue analog programming. Mr. Mimis suggested that the FCC may also try to have the authority to introduce the Broadcast Flag in the same package. On a related note, Mr. Mimis said that Sweden had begun the process of ceasing analogue TV transmission.

On the subject of TV digital tuners, Mr. Dadourian said that all TV sets in the U.S. would have to include digital tuners by December 2007. He suggested that the Department would monitor the market for signs of 'dumping' before imposing regulations for digital tuners. Mr. Boilard said that over 30 TV receiver manufacturers had indicated that their TV receivers would include the ATSC tuners for sale in Canada. On the U.S. DTV transition front, Mr. Dadourian said that it was progressing well with over 90% of stations had selected their channels and the rest would be resolved by mid-2006. Mr. Mimis added that the U.S. would like Canada to speed up the transition so that any vacant channel could be planned for mobile service. With regard to the cable 'plug and play' (PNP) card, Mr. Dadourian suggested that currently, over 300 TV models had the digital cable PNP capability. In order to further help speed up the transition to DTV, the FCC now required major cable companies to file progress reports on 'plug and play' (PNP) card implementation every three months.

DRB

Mr. Dadourian reported that digital subscription radio would now proceed as decided by the CRTC. In the U.S., Mr. Dadourian suggested that there were now about 500 stations carrying the IBOC signals (both FM and AM) and this number would continue to grow.

Mr. Lam tabled TAC-05-04 which outlined an AM-IBOC test plan. He said that the test had been scheduled to last for two weeks starting from the last week of October 2005. Mr. Labarre said that the proposed test plan had many uncertainties, one of which was to establish a steady test field strength for the receivers. He suggested that the subcommittee should reconsider the 'Helmholtz coil' method. After a brief discussion, it was agreed that the subcommittee should reconsider the test plan for other alternatives, e.g. the 'Helmholtz coil' method, etc.

 Mr. Mimis referred to the tabled document TAC-05-07 which outlined the U.S. submission to the ITU on digital sound broadcasting for Region 2. He asked the members to provide their comments to the Department on the issue as soon as possible.

5.2  BPR Updates

Mr. Boilard reported that BPR-8 was gazetted in July and BPR-3 was gazetted in September for comments. Currently, the Department was working on updating the BETS-7, e.g. to modify the technical parameters to be compatible with the U.S. standard, etc. Mr. Boilard also referred to the ongoing work of the Antenna Working Group which may result in a CPC for all telecommunication facilities. He indicated that all the BPR may have to be updated to align with the CPC recommendations, e.g. tower sharing, municipal consultation, NavCom analysis, overload, NIR and other environmental issues etc. Mr. MacMillan referred to the draft BPR-9 (Provisional) which had incorporated comments from the Regions. He asked the members to provide comments as soon as possible. Mr. Stacey raised a concern with regard to NIR analysis for sites where conventional broadcasting and DARS repeaters were co-located. Mr. Mimis agreed to look into this issue.

5.3  CRTC Updates

Mr. Bergin said that the process to develop policy proposal re. HDTV, Specialty Services and Cable carriage and packaging etc. were underway. He said that the Commission was still concerned with the pace of DTV transition. For over the air distribution a preliminary procedure had been established which would address the Industry's concern and allow the applications process to proceed. With regard to the expected Radio review, Mr. Bergin indicated that there was internal discussions to define the scope of the review, e.g. the when, how and why to call for application, etc. As to the recent discussion on subscription satellite radio, the commission was still awaiting for formal acceptance of the conditions by the applicants.

5.4 Subcom 15 (Gov-on-line)

Mr. Vaccani said that the subcommittee recommended that submission would be done in PDF files and the process would be integrated with Spectrum Direct, currently used by the Department for other applications. He said that an e-applications package had been sent to the members since the last meeting and a number of applications had been received. Mr. Vaccani urged the members to try out the new procedure and send the application to the specified email address for processing. On the subject of mapping requirement, he suggested that the subcommittee would be studying a proposed method by Mr. Stacey for e-map submission.

5.5 Subcom 17 (Post DTV Transition Issues)

Mr. Dadourian said that planning for Ontario and Quebec had been completed and efforts would now be directed to Manitoba and British Columbia, especially along the U.S./Canada border. He suggested that such planning would be needed for the upcoming negotiation with the U.S. In the meantime, Mr. Dadourian indicated that the FCC had yet to finalize its own plan which was expected to be in place during the latter half of 2006.

Mr. Edwards referred to the DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting for Handheld) system which he said had attracted worldwide interest. He suggested that the Department in its DTV planning, may want to consider allocating some spectrum for possible DVB-H deployment in Canada. Mr. Dadourian replied that such service would need qualification and involvement by the CRTC before implementation.

5.6 Subcom 18 (Windmills and Structures)

Mr. Munro presented the findings of the subcommittee on the potential impact and assessment of Windmills on Radiocommunication systems. The presentation included a review of current documents on the subject, a summary of field measurements and a video demonstration of the effects of dynamic interference caused by windmills. He said that the subcommittee had prepared a report on the subject with guidelines for determining the impacted areas and calculations for point-to-point links, Broadcast receivers and satellite ground stations. Mr. Gauthier proposed to have the document posted on the Department's website for reference and information. Mr. Boilard suggested that this document could be posted at the Department's site but on the B-TAC page to avoid any legal implication for the Department.

6. Informatics

Mr. Leduc reported that the work on the new NavCom analysis package was on-going and expected to be finished by the end of October. It would then be sent to NavCanada for testing and approval for use. He also said that the CBC long range plan had been added to the Department's extract. With regard to the CBC long range plan, Mr. Stacey requested that the plan should include all the intended channel numbers for information. Mr. Gauthier agreed to look into this matter.

7.    Other Business

7.1   Measurement Uncertainty Issue

Mr. Lam tabled document TAC-05-06 which presented the steps to address measurement uncertainties. Essentially, a section would be added to highlight 'Measurement Uncertainties' in the document 'Guidelines for the Measurement of Radiofrequency Fields' in frequencies from 3 kHz to 300 GHz'. As well, an appendix entitled 'Measurement Uncertainties Procedures' would be added to the same document to address the issue. Mr. Lam suggested that the revised document would be posted on the Department's website for reference and information.

8. Date of Next Meeting

The date of the next meeting will be on Tuesday, January 31, 2006.