SP 1-20 GHz — Revisions to Microwave Spectrum Utilization Policies in the Range of 1‑20 GHz

2. Policy Development Considerations

2.1 The Fixed Service

Historically, the fixed service or microwave radio service has been the largest user of spectrum above 1 GHz; therefore most of the utilization policies issued for the spectrum above 1 GHz deal with this service. The objectives of spectrum policies have been generally to provide suitable spectrum for a variety of fixed service system applications, such as:

  • long-haul, heavy route microwave systems used predominantly by common carriers;
  • light-to-medium route microwave systems used by common carriers, utility companies, government agencies, and more recently, cellular and private companies;
  • systems supporting broadcast-undertakings which include short studio-transmitter links, highly portable news gathering units, inter-studio video transmission, and a variety of point-to- point and multipoint systems for CATV operations.

In the future, additional spectrum is needed to support fixed service for such applications as:

  • new long distance common carriers which may initially have modest traffic demands;
  • microwave systems to provide broadband wireless access to the information highway;
  • new inter and intra-city private systems;
  • microwave facilities to interconnect local personal communication networks or cells;
  • new microwave radio applications emerging from digital transmission techniques.

Revisions to spectrum utilization policies should respond to fundamental change in transmission technology such as the growing use of fibre optic facilities in the telecommunication infrastructure. The future growth rate of spectrum use by heavy route systems should generally reduce and eventually decline as fibre networks become fully developed by the turn of the century. An exception may be in areas where the terrain provides severe hardship for the installation/maintenance of fibre optic cable systems.

Other services using or planning to use fixed service spectrum will need to be accommodated, for example:

  • the fixed-satellite service, which shares many fixed service bands, should not be unduly disadvantaged by changing policies;
  • digital radio broadcasting;
  • mobile-satellite;
  • personal communications and other emerging mobile applications.

To maintain viable microwave radio systems while introducing new radio services requires a rebalancing of the fixed bands for the different types of traffic capacities in a manner that encourages early change while minimizing the economic penalties. At the same time, spectrum for the new services must become available in reasonable timeframes. New re-arranged bands should be as stable as possible from significant changes for the foreseeable future. Generally, spectrum use by the microwave fixed service should evolve with changing technology and service requirements. Considerations as described below should be given particular attention:

  • Encourage the use of higher frequency bands for short hops and the preservation of lower frequency bands for long hops;
  • Maintain the core bands at 4 GHz and 6 GHz for high capacity and longhaul systems. As mentioned above, the existing heavy-route microwave radio systems will generally decrease as more traffic is transferred to fibre optic systems. However, new heavy-route entrants will likely use these bands and in the longer term, new demands for wideband transmission may arise from digital convergence. For the foreseeable future, the preservation of these bands for higher capacities is appropriate, provided lower capacity systems have adequate access to other bands in the 1-10 GHz range;
  • Encourage licensing of new microwave systems in bands that have the greatest potential for long term stability - often those bands which share easily or uniquely with other services;
  • Avoid significant changes to systems or standards in bands that may be likely candidates for future re-allocation;
  • Provide adequate spectrum for an increasing near-term demand for low and medium capacity systems which may result from new microwave licensing policies fostering the entry of new microwave spectrum users;
  • Provide for the potential increase in demand for the ancillary use of fixed spectrum for emerging broadcast services such as advanced TV and digital radio;
  • Achieve an increase in the efficient use of the spectrum to accommodate the effect of future reductions of the spectrum available to the fixed service;
  • Support equipment designed and manufactured to meet Canadian needs;
  • Permit more flexible and economic use of the radio spectrum, by relaxing policies and technical standards in geographical areas of very low spectrum usage, and by tightening them in areas of frequency congestion;
  • Support effective band sharing arrangements of fixed service with other radio services such as the fixed-satellite service.

Part B — Revisions to the Microwave Spectrum Utilization Policies in the Range of 1-20 GHz

1. Policy Conclusions

1.1 Background

As a result of the comprehensive Spectrum Policy Review undertaken in the spring of 1993 to take advantage of the new frequency allocations made by WARC-92, Industry Canada announced in October 1994, in Gazette Notice DGTP-005-94 a series of revisions to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations. Several new allocations were made in the 1-3 GHz range which have significant impact on existing microwave spectrum policies. The Proposed Spectrum Utilization for Certain Services Above 1 GHz, issued in May 1993, under Gazette Notice DGTP-005-93, provided the basis to carry out the widest public consultation on the necessary revisions to the microwave spectrum utilization policies. This document also covered many frequency bands above 3 GHz to address the need to accommodate new growth of microwave radio systems.

Thirty-one public responses were received providing extensive insight into future policy directions, some of which were fairly diverse in their conclusions. Based on the extensive public comments received and the findings from industry meetings, Industry Canada is now in a position to issue revisions to the existing fixed service microwave spectrum policies which will meet the spectrum requirements of Canada. To the extent possible the new spectrum policies address and satisfy most of the identified spectrum needs.

1.2 Relationship Between Spectrum Allocation and Utilization Policies

The general spectrum policy principles document referred to as General Information Related to Spectrum Utilization and Radio Systems Policies (SP-GEN), will be revised to include several new principles outlined in Section 1.0. This will include, among other aspects, the following provisions:

The allocation principles of "primary" and "secondary" define the priority between two radiocommunication services (such as the fixed service and the mobile service) which share the same band. The spectrum utilization principles of "standard" and "non-standard" status apply solely to systems within the same radio service, and are based on compliance with Spectrum Utilization Policies (SPs) and Standard Radio System Plans (SRSPs). The relative spectrum status between any two radio services is determined in the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations and the accompanying footnotes, while relationships within a service are prescribed by the relevant SPs and SRSPs.

Thus a "primary service" system that does not meet all of the conditions established within that service by an SP or SRSP is not considered to have a lower status than a system in another primary service. A non-standard system in one "primary service" will not have a lower status compared to a system in another primary service. The other service may not even have a specific spectrum policy or standard that must be met.

Primary/secondary and standard/non-standard designations can both distinctly and separately apply to a given assignment.

This distinction will be added to SP-GEN along with the existing definitions of standard and non-standard and the terms and conditions of the 5 and 2 year rule for non-standard systems.

1.3 Re-accommodation of Existing Fixed Systems and the Introduction of New Personal Communications Services and Terrestrial Digital Radio Broadcasting

The Spectrum Policy Framework for Canada issued in 1992 outlines, among other things, the policy guidelines dealing with the allocation of spectrum resources and the displacement of radio systems. The Policy Framework states that the frequency spectrum is a public resource which needs to be allocated and planned to advance public policy objectives, and that access to the spectrum would be adapted to meet the changing user requirements and facilitate new and innovative services. Industry Canada's policy remains that a radio licence does not confer ownership or continued right to a particular radio frequency, and that reasonable notice is to be given to users of any conditions or circumstances which could result in the displacement of their services or systems to other bands. Moreover, there is no liability or responsibility or intent by Industry Canada to financially compensate spectrum users being displaced.

In the 1-3 GHz range, most of the bands recently re-allocated are already in use by the fixed service. As discussed in DGTP-005-93, the 5 and 2 year rule for the removal or upgrade of a non-standard existing system to permit the entry of a new system in the same service is not appropriate to enable the changes required to permit the use of a frequency band by another service.

1.3.1 Terrestrial Digital Radio Broadcasting

The revised Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations (Revisions to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations (1994)) has allocated the frequency band 1452–1492 MHz for Digital Radio Broadcasting (DRB). Canadian footnotes C29 and C30 supporting the new allocation indicate that existing fixed stations may continue to use the band provided that they do not cause interference to, or claim protection from, stations operating in the broadcasting service which are to be implemented according to a domestic allotment plan. Furthermore, it indicates that as the domestic allotment plan is developed it will take into account stations in the fixed service, to the extent possible.

It is anticipated that a broadcasting allotment plan will be adopted by Industry Canada by the end of 1995. The DRB allotment plan will stipulate the DRB channel blocks to be assigned in various geographical areas of the country for terrestrial broadcasting. Industry Canada will identify the DRB channels blocks that may impact on existing fixed stations as the broadcasting service is gradually implemented.

As the planning and licensing process for particular digital radio broadcasting stations begin or the planning for such broadcasting stations becomes known, the incompatible fixed stations will be identified and notified as early as possible. During the two year period after the allotment plan has been formally adopted, fixed service licensees would be given a minimum of a two year notification by Industry Canada for displacement of specific installations in order to accommodate the implementation of DRB stations. After the two year period following the adoption of a DRB allotment plan has elapsed, the minimum notification period will be one year.

Fixed service operators are expected to take advantage of opportunities, such as transmission equipment replacement, to re-engineer their systems to cease using identified potentially impacted frequencies in the 1452–1492 MHz band, even if a displacement notification has not been issued. Also, broadcasters are expected to take advantage of available alternate channel blocks to permit the continued operation of near-by fixed stations.

1.3.2 New Personal Communications Services

In the public submissions received from Gazette Notice DGTP-005-93, there was strong public support and interest for the designation of spectrum for a new family of personal communications services (PCS) near 2 GHz. Also, the public comments supported the development of a transitional mechanism to take into account the existing microwave facilities that were being displaced and to vacate an appropriate amount of spectrum for the introduction and development of PCS services. Accordingly, as indicated in the policy proposal paper dealing with PCS at 2 GHz (DGTP-006-94) issued November 5, 1994, Industry Canada proposes to proceed with the accommodation of spectrum resources relating to existing microwave systems and the new PCS, as follows:

  1. The Revisions to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations (1994) issued on October 29, 1994 (Gazette Notice DGTP-005-94) has established the general range of spectrum that may be designated for PCS service. Canadian footnote C351 in the Table indicates the earliest dates that some of the fixed radio systems may be impacted by PCS in certain sub-bands and geographical areas. The timing of the implementation of the PCS will become known as the licensing process progresses. The allocation has served as a general notification to existing microwave users of potential displacement.
  2. Further, a series of Microwave Spectrum Utilization Policies is being issued in this policy document to, in part, re-arrange fixed radio bands at 2 GHz and permit the establishment of spectrum policies to accommodate new services, including PCS. Industry Canada strongly encourages existing microwave users to take advantage of the availability of frequencies in the modified fixed bands, on a first-come, first-served basis, so as to economically modify their equipment outside the general spectrum range designated for PCS as indicated in the Canadian Table (1850–1990 Mhz).
  3. A PCS Policy Framework will be developed from the comments received in response to the Gazette Notice (DGTP-006-94) dealing with issues such as service aspects, the band limits and the specific blocks of spectrum to be designated, and the provisions of a Spectrum Transition Policy regarding the displacement of fixed stations to make frequency spectrum available, where necessary for PCS systems. A large number of existing 2 GHz users can be re-accommodated in other parts of the non-affected 2 GHz bands. Also, it is recognized that operators may choose to re-build their systems at higher frequency bands or use other communication media such as fibre optic facilities.
  4. DGTP-006-94 indicated that effective November 5, 1994 there is a moratorium on licensing of new fixed microwave applications in the 1850–1990 MHz band.

1.4 Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) Devices

Interference can occur to fixed systems from certain unlicensed devices in the ISM bands. Since these devices will increase in number with time, Industry Canada will not encourage licensing of systems in ISM bands, particularly in highly populated areas, unless future developments reduce this problem. On this basis, there are no spectrum utilization policies proposed for the ISM bands of concern, namely 2400–2500 MHz and 5725–5875 MHz.

1.5 Very Low Capacity (VLC) Fixed Systems

General arrangements are not required for Very Low Capacity systems (VLC: less than 1 DS-1), but they may be accommodated on a band-by-band basis. Generally, VLC systems will be discouraged in Medium and High Capacity (MC and HC) bands to avoid blockage of MC and HC systems by narrow band VLC systems.

1 C35 (CAN-94) Existing fixed stations operating in the band 1850–1990 MHz will have priority over the mobile service until 1 July 1997. After this date, specific fixed stations will need to be displaced where necessary to enable the implementation of new mobile systems such as personal communications. The displacement of fixed stations as well as the implementation of new mobile systems will be governed by spectrum utilization policies.

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