Minutes of the Technical Advisory Committee on Broadcasting (B‑TAC) — Final Minutes of the Meeting Held on September 15, 2007
Attendees of the Third Meeting of 2007 Technical Advisory Committee on Broadcasting (B-TAC)
V. Mimis, ChairpersonDirector, Broadcast Planning and Technical Policy
A. Lam, SecretaryBroadcast Engineering and Standards
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
P. MarcouxSpectrum and Broadcast Coverage Planning Engineering
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
G. BerginBroadcast Technology
M. GuilletBroadcast Technology
J. ConradBroadcast Technology
Broadcasters and Consultants
D. MacaulayD.H. Macaulay Engineering
W. StaceyCAB/Wayne A. Stacey & Associates
K. NesbittRogers Media
J. HoeppnerCorus Entertainment Inc.
J. SadounYRH Inc.
K. PelserDEM Allan & Associates
P. LabarrePierre Labarre & Associates Ltd.
J. DadourianBroadcast Terrestrial
D. MacMillanSpectrum Engineering and Standards
J-M BoilardBroadcast Industry Liaison
H. WangBroadcast Terrestrial
J. DexterBroadcast Application Engineering
L. ChongBroadcast Application Engineering
K. AhmedBroadcast Application Engineering
D. RichardBroadcast Application Engineering
M. DumasBroadcast Application Engineering
G. KarouniBroadcast Application Engineering
K. LeBroadcast Application Engineering
A. LeducBroadcast Automated Systems
S. FaucherEngineering, Quebec Region
1. Chairman's Opening Remarks
Mr. Mimis welcomed the members to the meeting. He said that various subcommittees had met over the summer months and would be reporting their work progress later during this meeting.
2. Approval of Agenda
Mr. Moltner proposed adding 'confidential FM applications as item 7.3 for discussion. The agenda was approved as amended.
3. Draft Minutes of the Second Meeting of 2007
The draft minutes were approved as presented.
4. Matters arising from the Minutes
There were no action items arising from discussion at the last meeting.
5. Status Report
5.1 Digital TV/DTV (L band)
On the subject of the different DTV transition dates between Canada and the United States, in which there would be a two-year interim period, Mr. Bergin inquired if both countries had agreed on a planned coordination. Mr. Mimis replied that this issue had been raised in past meetings and Canada agreed to develop a procedure to accommodate the U.S. situation as much as possible and on a case-by-case basis. The post transition Allotment Plan would only come into effect on September 1, 2011. Mr. Dadourian said that the L band would no longer be considered as the replacement band for radio service as a result of the CRTC's new policy for L band. He pointed out that the introduction of the concept of wide band standards by the CRTC would be incompatible with the Departments current allotment plan for this band and therefore would have to develop a new policy for the L band. As a result, the Department had sent a letter to inform the CRTC that no new broadcasting certificates would be issued for new application in the L band. Mr. Mimis added that the Department would be issuing a consultation paper on the use of the L band, including the extension of the band to 1525 MHz. He expected that this would be issued sometime in October/November 2007 time frame.
Mr. Stacey asked if the CRTC were to consider wide-band mobile TV or multi-media applications in the L band, whether the U.S./Canada agreement for the L band would have to be amended.
Mr. Mimis commented that he could not foresee any problems with the United States for the L band to be used for any multimedia wideband broadcasting applications.
Mr. Dadourian informed the members that the FCC was testing licence exempt wi-fi type equipment in the TV band. He said that some devices had been tested, however, with mixed results, and the Department would be monitoring further development on the subject.
Mr. Stacey raised the subject of the recent change in the U.S. Public Safety channel plan and its possible impact on Canadian broadcasters operating in these channels. Mr. Mimis said that under the transition LOU, existing Canadian operations in the safety channels would be protected from U.S. Public Safety operations and he further suggested that all existing Canadian licences operating in these channels would be renewed until the transition date.
5.2 BPR Updates
Mr. Boilard said that work on BPR updates was continuing. On the issue of EMCAB 2, he said that the updates would have to reflect and be compatible with the new antenna policy which would come into effect in January 2008. Other modifications to BPR-3 would include the output from subcom 16.
Other ongoing and impending work included a new issue of the BETS-7, a Gazette notice on the experimentation of FM-IBOC transmission, and the development of criteria for inter DTV systems etc. Mr. Boilard tabled document TAC-7-06, which outlined the proposed changes in BPR-1. A brief discussion ensued on the details of some of the proposed changes and it was suggested that members should submit their comments to the Department as soon as possible. In concluding the discussion, it was agreed that for overload analysis in broadcasting applications, EMCAB 2 standard would now be adopted without requiring overload contours.
5.3 CRTC Updates
Mr. Bergin reported that the Radio and TV review had been completed and the Commission had had discussions with the broadcasters with regard to the L band policy. He said that currently there were three major initiatives under way. First, there would be a review of rules and regulations regarding broadcast undertakings, e.g. capacity, quality and carriage rules, etc. The second major area would be the new media project and the Commission would be meeting with various sectors in the industry to review issues in October 2007. This may result in a public hearing in the future. Thirdly, the issue of media diversity was discussed which included media concentration, media access, as well as some technical issues such as spectrum availability, etc.
5.4 Subcom 15 (Govt-on-line)
There was no progress report as the subcom had not met since the last meeting.
5.5 Subcom17/21 (Post DTV Transition Issues)
Mr. Dadourian said that both subcoms were dealing with similar issues. Essentially, the work would involve developing basic guidelines for the BPR to deal with all the impending issues e.g. transition date and speed of transition, etc. A meeting took place in September at which a set of basic technical principles for post transition was presented and discussed. A number of issues were discussed, e.g. prediction model for the Plan, class designation and minimum separation tables, etc. Mr. Dadourian said that the subcom also looked into the possibility of phased transition in some major markets to ease congestion of last-minute transitions.
Mr. Stacey pointed out that any phased transition model may necessitate more immediate changes to the CRTCs BDU regulations. Mr. Bergin commented that should the decision be made to allow phased transition, the Commission would likely assist in the process.
5.6 Subcom 16 (BPR-3)
Mr. Dexter said that a draft Gazette notice had been circulated to subcom members for comments and he expected that the Gazette notice would be finalized and issued by the end of October 2007. He also said that the subcom would also be looking into the 3rd and 4th adjacent channel interference levels.
5.7 Subcom 20 (Consumer Info)
Mr. Dadourian reported that this subcom was set up to look at consumer issues in the digital age, e.g. TV receivers purchase in light of DTV transition, etc. He said that a meeting took place recently in which DGSE, the Departments Consumer Affairs section, the CRTC and others to develop a set of common definitions for consumer information. He tabled document TAC-07-05, which presented various definitions. He also said that the Consumer Affairs sector would try to work with the CMC (a federal/provincial committee) to inform retailers of the situation and place advertisements in local media to inform consumers of DTV development. Mr. Dadourian suggested that broadcasters should also do their part to alert their audience to the consumer issues associated with the DTV transition.
Mr. Stacey felt that this should only be done after set-top D-to-A converter boxes were available in Canada and when the CRTCs BDU issues respecting HDTV were addressed. Mr. Lubienietzky suggested that since over-the-air converter and cable set-top digital boxes were different, this information should be part of the consumer information package. Mr. Bergin proposed that cable and satellite operators should also be included in the process. In concluding the discussion, Mr. Dadourian said that TAC-07-05 would be used as the basis for information definitions which would be posted at the Departments website when finalized.
5.8 Subcom 22 (IBOC Issues)
Mr. MacMillan said that this subcom had held meetings to discuss IBOC issues. He informed the members that the Department had decided to authorize experimental IBOC operations. He tabled TAC-07-07 and TAC-07-08, which outlined an experimental licence application process and applicants obligations, etc. He added that the main concern for analog FM would be with the short spaced 1st adjacent IBOC stations as the IBOC carriers would fall within the analog FM signal.
Mr. Stacey commented that CRTC authorization would be required if new programming was part of the experimental operation. He also asked about the potential of increased NavCom interference especially for channel 300. Mr. Vowles added that IBOC had not been part of the NavCom analysis. Mr. Mimis asked the members to review the tabled documents and to forward their comments to the Department as soon as possible. He expected that the Gazette notice to be issued by the end of October 2007. The next subcom meeting would be held on October 24, 2007 in Ottawa.
Mr. Leduc informed the members that there had been a name change to the Strategis website, from 'Strategis.ic.gc.ca' to 'www.ic.gc.ca'. Mr. Stacey again raised the issue of stand-by site information in the database and would like to know its current status. Mr. Leduc replied that this item had been on his work list and would be addressed soon.
7. Other Business
7.1 Proposed Changes to NRSC AM Broadcasting Standards
Mr. Stacey tabled document TAC-07-03, which outlined the proposed changes to NRSC AM Broadcasting Standards to provide some flexibility to broadcasters by permitting the use of audio bandwidth less than 10 kHz on a voluntary basis. He indicated that Canadian broadcasters should be able to support the proposed NRSC changes since they were not mandatory and Canadian stations could continue to operate under the current 10 kHz bandwidth standard if they so wish.
Mr. Mimis took the opportunity to ask the members to look at possible changes to the AM Agreement and he asked the members to forward their suggestions to the Department for consideration.
7.2 U.S. AM IBOC Night-Time Operation
Mr. Stacey tabled document TAC-07-04, which highlighted U.S. AM IBOC Night-time operation starting on September 14, 2007. He expected that there may be sky-wave interference from some U.S. AM IBOC stations within the interference free contours of some first adjacent Canadian stations. He suggested that there should be a procedure to address interference complaints. Mr. Mimis said that broadcasters should forward any evidence of IBOC interference to the Department so that it would take the matter up with the FCC.
7.3 Confidential FM Application
Mr. Moltner said that the FCC appeared to ignore the Canadian Confidential rule in FM applications and that information regarding Canadian FM applications was readily available in its database. However, Mr. Mimis explained that the FCC had to abide by U.S. laws of access to information.
Mr. Dexter added that it may not be in the applicant=s interest to delay notification to the FCC to risk channel frequency protection. Ultimately, the applicant could choose the no-notification to the FCC option and assume the risk of losing the frequency.
8. Date of Next Meeting
The date of the next meeting will be on Tuesday, January 15, 2008.
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