SP 30-896 MHz, Part 1 — Spectrum Allocation and Utilization in Certain Bands in the Range 30.01–896 MHz

Spectrum Utilization Policy

The following policies are detailed in relation to:

a) Spectrum for Public Safety

The bands 821-824 and 866–869 MHz are designated for use by government safety services. In the specific context of this policy, the Department considers government safety services to be those provided by federal, provincial and municipal governments and their affiliated agents (e.g. private ambulance services) which are exclusively related to the preservation of life and protection of property.

However, if a government, or its affiliated agent, plans to install a trunked mobile system, that system would be considered for licensing in the 821-824 and 866–869 MHz bands, provided that the primary use is for the preservation of life and protection of property.

In recognition of the need to share the designated bands with the United States in the Canada/United States frequency coordination zone, Canadian users will have access to less than the 6 MHz of spectrum in the bands 821–824 MHz and 866–869 MHz, depending on their geographical location (i.e. Canada will have access to approximately one-half of the identified bands), the remaining portion being designated for use in the United States.

The following five channels will be designated for authorized inter-agency communications in Canada, and between Canada and the United States, as necessary:

Channels designated for authorized inter-agency communications in Canada, and between Canada and the United States

821.0125 MHz (Mobile)
866.0125 MHz (Base)
Public Safety Common Channel6
821.5125 MHz (Mobile)
866.5125 MHz (Base)
Tactical Channel7
822.0125 MHz (Mobile)
867.0125 MHz (Base)
Tactical Channel
822.5125 MHz (Mobile)
867.5125 MHz (Base)
Tactical Channel
823.0125 MHz (Mobile)
868.0125 MHz (Base)
Tactical Channel

Applicants seeking access to the bands 821-824 and 866–869 MHz will be required, in consultation with the Department, to develop and justify implementation and growth plans, and provide such other information deemed necessary by the Department to enable the orderly and efficient exploitation of these bands. If existing systems are being replaced, applicants will be expected to identify frequencies in lower bands which may be offered up in exchange for frequencies in the 821-824 and 866–869 MHz bands.

Applicants are encouraged to select spectrum efficient system designs in developing applications for licensing. The use of trunked systems is particularly recommended when operational conditions permit.

The Department will act as arbitrator in disputes involving competing requests for access to spectrum in the 821-824 and 866–869 MHz bands, in consultation with the agencies involved in public safety activities. The Department will retain the sole responsibility for overall spectrum management decisions in relation to the use of these frequencies.

b) Cellular Radio Systems

Cellular radio in Canada and in other parts of the world, is currently enjoying singular success in terms of public acceptance and growth. Bearing in mind that the cellular service is highly competitive and that it is in the best interests of providers and subscribers to operate in an environment as free of restrictions as possible, the Department releases all of the radio frequency spectrum earmarked for cellular radio expansion, without geographic restriction. It is understood that this expanded spectrum can provide temporary service relief through expansion of the analogue systems but that a conversion to digital systems is necessary to meet the foreseen service growth.

To this end, it is to be noted that the cellular radio industry in Canada and the United States has placed a considerable effort on the development of a North American industry standard for digital cellular radio. The Department endorses this initiative as it will greatly increase the traffic capacity relative to the existing cellular systems.

It is unlikely that additional spectrum for cellular systems can be made available in the near future and even longer depending on the outcome of activities such as the World Administrative Radio Conference in 1992 and domestic considerations that could necessitate the displacement of some existing radio systems of other services. Consequently, it is most important that the cellular service providers plan carefully to meet the expected large demands for cellular service within this allocated spectrum for the time frame mentioned.

Accordingly, the sub-bands identified in the table in Annex 2 will be available for the cellular radio service, effective immediately subject to compliance with the normal licensing process.

As in the previous allocation of spectrum for cellular radio, the spectrum is divided equally between the Local Telephone Cellular Service Provider and the Other Cellular Service Provider. The technical requirements applicable to the use of the cellular bands are specified in the Standard Radio System Plan 503: Technical Requirements for Cellular Radiotelephone Systems Operating in the Bands 824–849 MHz and 869–894 MHz.

c) Air to Ground Public Correspondence Service

The bands 849-851 and 894–896 MHz are designated for Air to Ground Public Correspondence Service in Canada. This service enables the use of communication systems from aircraft to ground to provide public radiotelephone service to aircraft passengers.

The Department's consideration of this service has always been based on the premise that service should be interoperable in Canada and in the United States due to the significant number of trans-border flights and to ease frequency coordination aspects. Moreover, such consideration has recognized the desirability of competition which allows consumers to have their choice of provider. The Department has closely monitored developments in this new service. At this time, there are spectrum, administrative and technical considerations which require resolution as a result of the recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission regarding the use of this service in the United States. It is the intention of the Department to announce in a separate Gazette Notice in the near future the process for implementation of this competitive service in Canada.

d) Conventional and Trunked

The bands 806-821 and 851–866 MHz are designated for trunked and conventional systems. The detailed plans and technical requirements are specified in Standard Radio System Plan 502: Technical Requirements for Land Mobile and Fixed Radio Services Operating in the Bands 806–821 MHz and 851–866 MHz.

4. Supplementary Information

4.1 Related Documents

  • Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations - March, 1986 (Reissue planned for 1990)
  • General Information Related to Spectrum Utilization and Radio Systems Policies - (SPGEN) June, 1987 (Reissue planned for 1990)
  • Spectrum Utilization Policy for the Fixed, Mobile, Radiolocation and Amateur Services in the Band 896-960 MHz - (SP-896 MHz) February, 1990
  • Standard Radio System Plan 502: Technical Requirements for Land Mobile and Fixed Radio Services Operating in the Bands 806–821 MHz and 851–866 MHz - February, 1990
  • Standard Radio System Plan 503: Technical Requirements for Cellular Radiotelephone Systems Operating in the Bands 824–849 MHz and 869–894 MHz - (planned for issue in May, 1990)
  • Policy for the Utilization of the 0.890-10.68 GHz Radio Spectrum by Fixed Services - December, 1982

5. Implementation

Applicants should contact one of the Department's Regional Offices regarding the status of radio licensing in the bands discussed in this policy paper.

Issued under the authority of the
Minister of Communications

K.T. Hepburn
Senior Assistant Deputy Minister

Annex 1

Bands Included in This Document
MHz Domestic Frequency Allocations
74.6-74.8 FIXED, MOBILE
137-138 SPACE OPERATION (space-to-Earth)
SPACE RESEARCH (space-to-Earth)
156.7625-156.8375 MARITIME MOBILE (distress and safety)
225-328.6 FIXED, MOBILE
335.4-399.9 FIXED, MOBILE
SPACE RESEARCH (space-to-Earth)
Space Operation (space-to-Earth)
SPACE OPERATION (space-to-Earth)
Mobile except aeronautical mobile
406-406.1 MOBILE SATELLITE (Earth-to-space)
608-614 Radio ASTRONOMY
Mobile satellite except aeronautical mobile
satellite (Earth-to-space)
806-890 MOBILE, Fixed
890-896 FIXED, MOBILE except aeronautical mobile Radiolocation

Annex 2

Spectrum Utilization Policy Frequency Band 806-896

---------------------------------------------------- 896 MHz
Air/Ground Public Correspondence (New)
---------------------------------------------------- 896 MHz
Local Telephone Cellular Service (New)*
---------------------------------------------------- 891.5 MHz
Other Cellular Service (New)
---------------------------------------------------- 890 MHz
Local Telephone Cellular Service (Existing)
---------------------------------------------------- 880 MHz
Other Cellular Service (Existing)
---------------------------------------------------- 870 MHz
Other Cellular Service (New)
---------------------------------------------------- 869 MHz
Public Safety (New)
---------------------------------------------------- 866 MHz
Conventional & Trunked Mobile (Existing)
---------------------------------------------------- 851 MHz
Air/Ground Public Correspondence (New)
---------------------------------------------------- 849 MHz
Local Telephone Cellular Service (New)
---------------------------------------------------- 846.5 MHz
Other Cellular Service (New)
---------------------------------------------------- 845 MHz
Local Telephone Cellular Service (Existing)
---------------------------------------------------- 835 MHz
Other Cellular Service (Existing)
---------------------------------------------------- 825 MHz
Other Cellular Service (New)
---------------------------------------------------- 824 MHz
Public Safety (New)
---------------------------------------------------- 821 MHz
Conventional & Trunked Mobile (Existing)
---------------------------------------------------- 806 MHz

*(New or Existing Spectrum Utilization Policy)

1 During the course of this Review, it was decided to extend the upper limit from 890 to 896 MHz. This amended upper frequency limit will be used in the titles of all documentation, effective immediately.

2 The Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations was last reissued in 1986. A further reissue of the Table will be made in 1990.

3 a) Non-aeronautical mobile services ceased to be assigned in the band 136-137 MHz after January 1, 1989.
b) Aeronautical mobile services are afforded full interference protection from non-aeronautical mobile services still operating in this band.
c) On January 1, 1990 the international allocations for the Space Operation, Meterological Satellite and Space Research Services were changed from a primary basis to a secondary basis.

4 The Spectrum Utilization Policy (SP 300.89) was reissued in February 1990 as SP 896 for the band 896-960 MHz.

5 Frequency diversity is defined in General Information Related to Spectrum Utilization and Radio Systems Policies, also known as SP-GEN, which was released in June 1987.

6 The Public Safety Common Channel will be used by safety agencies for calling and day-to-day coordination.

7 Tactical Channels will be used by safety agencies for coordination and response communications in times of emergency.

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