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

1.6 Geographical Differences Policy Guideline

In order to recognize the need for flexibility in spectrum utilization policies and technical standards, Industry Canada will introduce a guideline which will permit enhanced provisions in congested areas and some relaxation of policy and/or technical requirements in uncongested areas. The Geographic Differences Policy Guideline will allow service providers to economically redeploy older equipment in more remote areas. Conversely, in congested areas, service providers will have to meet enhanced policies and standards, such as improved antenna off-axis discrimination performance, to ensure the maximum number of systems can be accommodated. The following definitions of fixed service frequency congestion serve as general congestion level benchmarks upon which various utilization policies and technical standards apply:

Uncongested Area

An area in which the band has been available for use for a number of years but has had little or no use, nor is any projected. In terms of fixed service assignments, an indicator of an uncongested area is where 90% or more of the channels are available for use in 90% or more of the possible directions.

Normal Congestion Area

An area where the population of systems does not preclude the introduction of a significant number of new systems. An indicator may be where 50% to 90% of the channels are available in 90% or more of the possible directions.

Moderately Congested Area

An area in which the band is well used as intended, and there is adequate spectrum for future growth. A suitable indicator may be where 10% to 50% or fewer of the channels are available in 90% or more of the possible directions.

Highly Congested Area

An area in which the possibility of finding an assignment for a specific system application is low, or at least it is very difficult to make an assignment. In this case an indicator may be when 10% or fewer of the channels are available in 90% or more of the possible directions.

In general, the following policy provisions will govern the use of the radio spectrum by the fixed service in the defined congestion areas:

  1. Uncongested Area Policy Provisions

    In an uncongested area, which could be site specific, systems may be exempted from certain provisions of SPs and SRSPs. In such cases Industry Canada may consider these systems as compliant and award them the status of standard, subject to other conditions with SP-GEN and provided the system does not propose to use more than 30% of the spectrum in the band.
  2. Normal Congestion Area Policy Provisions

    Where the use of the spectrum exceeds the uncongested area limit, but has not reached the moderately congested level, the SP and SRSP criteria for a band would apply. Systems meeting these criteria would be standard.
  3. Moderately Congested Area Policy Provisions

    Where the moderately congested level is exceeded, but it is not yet highly congested, new applicants may be required to conform to SPs and SRSPs and the enhanced provisions normally applicable to highly congested areas, where there is an expectation of more demand for spectrum. Previously authorized systems which are in accordance with SP and SRSP criteria can remain on a "standard" basis.
  4. Highly Congested Area Policy Provisions

    In a location of highly congested spectrum, systems or components of systems not conforming to enhanced provisions of the SP and SRSP are non-standard and subject to the provisions of SP-GEN. Furthermore, systems which were originally licensed more than 15 years ago are subject to removal, modification or replacement within 2 years after a written notice from the Industry Canada.
  5. Industry Canada reserves the right to ask applicants to make additional and/or alternative enhancements to their systems, if it is deemed in the public interest.

    New spectrum utilization policies and technical standards may specify enhanced criteria to be applied in moderately and highly congested areas. It should be noted that this policy guideline does not apply to other radio services nor does it affect the conditions of use of a band as given in the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations, and that specific exemptions, differences or criteria may be contained in an SP or SRSP or determined at the point of licensing the system.

1.7 Reducing Types of Use

The transmission of broadcast-related signals can be carried in several fixed services bands where they meet the SP/SRSP criteria. Similarly, fixed bands normally used for broadcast signals networking can be used for other types of traffic, provided broader access in other microwave bands is available to broadcast-related applications. Any policy or standard to do this will be based on the feasibility to support the merging of traffic types in a given band.

Temporary TV-Links

This definition is not needed because of its similarity with TV Pick-ups, and will not appear in a revision of SP-GEN or in specific band policies. Such systems can use any band in which they meet policy and standards criteria.

Unidirectional Transmission

Many analogue video systems are one-way, so certain band SPs specifically address this requirement by exception, and consequently unidirectional transmission may be limited in certain bands. Unidirectional digital video systems shall, in general, have access to a large number of bands.

1.8 Path Lengths

There was a mixed public response on the proposals to require minimum path lengths. It is recommended that the criteria adopted by the FCC shown in Annex A be considered for incorporation in future SRSPs.

1.9 Fixed System Capacities

A spectrum policy for a band will specify the system capacity (e.g. Low Capacity, Medium Capacity), and if warranted, further specify limits on these capacities. Frequency channel efficiency and channel plans will be specified in SRSPs. The spectrum objectives for the overall carriage capacity of various microwave bands are stated in Section 1.12. The definitions of system capacities continue to evolve to reflect changes in transmission technology and microwave system requirements. The following definitions of system capacities will replace the existing definitions found in SP-GEN:

Definitions of system capacities
RF Channel Capacity a b Traffic Load (Mbit/sc

(a) Smaller system capacities are also permitted in LC bands on a case-bycase basis.
(b) Capacities of less than 1.544 Mbit/s are not permitted in channels identified for MC or HC, unless specifically identified in the spectrum policy for the band.
(c) System capacities do not include radio system overhead bits.

Low Capacity (LC) ≥ 1.544 ≤ 24.704
Medium Capacity (MC) > 24.704  ≤ 51.840
High Capacity (HC) > 51.840  

Digital Signal (DS) levels and their relation in the digital transmission hierarchy are shown in the following table:

Digital Signal DS levels and their relation in the digital transmission hierarchy
DS-0 64 kbit/s 1 voice ch. + signalling
DS-1 1.544 Mbit/s 1 T1 24 DS-0
DS-2 6.312 Mbit/s 1 T2 96 DS-0
DS-3 44.736 Mbit/s 1 T3 672 DS-0
STS-1 51.84 Mbit/s 1 OC-1 672 DS-0
STM-1  155.52 Mbit/s OC-32 2,016 DS-0
16 STM-1 2.48832 Gbit/s OC-48 32,256 DS-0
32 STM-1 4.97664 Gbit/s OC-96 64,512 DS-0

Notes: SONET is the North American technology used for STM-1

T1 24 circuits
T2 96 circuits
T3 672 circuits
OC-1 1 T3
OC-3 3 T3

Analog system capacities will be discontinued from the definitions of system capacities (SP-GEN), however, existing analog systems will remain standard with respect to the capacity definitions. Analog systems will be recognized in specific SPs where analog transmission is still required.

In bands where analog video systems are considered standard, new analog video systems will be required to use the band based on criteria established for digital systems, unless technical constraints suggest otherwise.

1.10 Non-Spectrum and Spectrum Alternatives

While Industry Canada will continue to encourage the use of non-spectrum transmission alternatives, spectrum especially for new high capacity microwave systems will be supported where it fosters the orderly and economic development of telecommunications. The following general policies will address the use of high capacity frequency bands vis-a-vis non-spectrum and spectrum attributes:

  1. Industry Canada may choose not to authorize new high capacity radio systems or the expansion of existing radio systems when the applicant has adequate alternative facilities (such as fibre systems), including routing diversity.
  2. Microwave networks that off-load traffic to other bands or fibre systems may cause an assignment to become non-standard because minimum RF channel capacity requirements are no longer met.
  3. Networks that are primarily based in either the 4 GHz or the 6 GHz band are encouraged to consolidate their use in one of the bands.
  4. Higher frequency bands or FOTS should be considered for entrance links from large systems to major metropolitan areas.

1.11 Frequency Diversity

The existing provisions of SP-GEN for frequency diversity will continue to apply, subject to band-by-band provisions of the Geographical Difference Policy Guideline.

1.12 Overall Carriage Capacity and Spectrum Efficiency

The total transmission capacity of fixed spectrum is determined by, among other things, the efficiency of use of the spectrum, measured in bits/second/Hertz (b/s/Hz). Although the capacity of a system may be dictated by a number of technical and economic factors, high carriage capacity cannot be achieved without high spectrum efficiency. High spectrum efficiency is a crucial objective for good spectrum utilization policy. As a result of the decisions of WARC-92 and the revisions to the Canadian Table, a considerable amount of fixed spectrum was re-allocated to new services in the 1-3 GHz range and more spectrum may be affected in the future. Also in the foreseeable future, the need for more microwave radio transmissions may very well increase as a result of more liberal microwave licensing policies and new digital radio applications. It is therefore in the best interests of the microwave spectrum users as a whole to obtain as much transmission capacity from the available spectrum. This will address several objectives:

  • frequency bands will not fill as quickly, permitting growth for new and existing systems in the same band;
  • more band choices will be available in the event that an allocation change to a band is required;
  • efficiently used spectrum is less vulnerable to change.

Although a number of proposals addressing ways to designate the spectrum efficiency level within various frequency bands were presented in the discussion paper (DGTP-005-93), the responses did not indicate a preferred direction. Consequently Industry Canada will continue to study this issue and, as an interim measure, adopt the "Option 2" presented in the discussion paper2 which allows restrictions on the digital transmission rates of the current system capacities where congestion levels or other conditions warrant this measure. For example, a medium capacity band which is expected to be heavily used may be restricted to systems of DS-3 rates in moderate to highly congested areas, as defined by the Geographical Difference Policy. Furthermore, in order to balance the spectrum use, limits on available channel bandwidth and possible partitioning of bands to accommodate various LC, MC and HC systems may be introduced in various SPs or through provisions of the Geographical Differences Policy.

With the reduction of the amount of spectrum available for microwave fixed systems below 10 GHz, it is imperative that SRSPs be developed to foster highly spectrum efficient systems.

2. Spectrum Utilization Policies for Certain Frequency Bands

This section contains the new revised microwave spectrum utilization policies. The spectrum policy provisions deal primarily with, but not limited to, the fixed service. A full description of the relationship between bands and services, as contained in related international and domestic footnotes, can be found in the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations (1991 edition) and in the Revisions to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations (1994).

Each frequency band has a descriptive bar chart showing the division of spectrum between the various radio services. This is followed by detailed policy provisions. In the bar charts, a service written in capital letters is a primary service, and one written in both upper and lower case is a secondary service. This document addresses the major revisions to the spectrum utilization policies. There were many policy provisions in SP-GEN and a limited number of policy provisions in various SPs that were not proposed for revision during the consultation process. In general, these provisions are in effect and will be included in future consolidation of the policy documents.

Additional spectrum utilization policies that may apply to more than one of the following bands are contained in the SP-GEN publication. Spectrum Policy (SP) documents will be revised according to the usage policies set forth in this document.

The domestic use of the fixed-satellite service, as identified in the North American Trilateral Agreement and in Appendix 30B of the ITU Radio Regulations, is contained in Radio System Policy RP-002 Policy for the Use of the Geostationary Satellite Orbit by Canadian Satellite Networks.

1350 - 1400 MHz

  1. A full description of the relationship between bands and services, as contained in related international and domestic footnotes, as well as the limitations on the use of the band 1350–1400 MHz by the fixed and mobile services, can be found in the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations.

1427 - 1525 MHz

  1. A full description of the relationship between bands and services, as contained in related international and domestic footnotes, including the relative status of the broadcasting/broadcasting-satellite and fixed, and of mobile-satellite and fixed services, can be found in the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations.
  2. Fixed Service Use:
    1427–1452 MHz Subscriber Radio Systems (SRS)
    1492–1517 MHz Subscriber Radio Systems (SRS)
  3. Existing fixed stations operating according to policies and standards in place in 1993 may continue to operate subject to criteria and procedures which may be established for the mobile-satellite service in the band 1515–1525 MHz and which will be established to implement digital radio broadcasting as part of the allotment plan in the band 1452–1492 MHz.
  4. New Subscriber Radio Systems (SRS) shall be limited to the 1427–1452 MHz and 1492–1517 MHz bands. Where necessary, existing SRS may be re-tuned to these bands. The SRS use of this band shall start at the second highest frequency channel pair and work down in channel pairs in order to avoid potential conflicts with other services in adjacent bands. The highest frequency channel pair should be the last used noting that the 1515–1525 MHz band may be used by the mobile-satellite service.
  5. New point-to-point fixed stations will not be permitted in the 1427–1525 MHz band. Existing point-to-point fixed stations are non-standard in this band with respect to SRS systems operating in the 1427–1452 MHz and 1492–1517 MHz bands.
  6. The development of SRS stations may be limited by existing aeronautical mobile (telemetry) operations along the Canada/U.S. border.

2 "Option 2". Restrict the digital rates of the current system capacities where congestion levels or other conditions warrant this measure.

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