SP 3400-3700 MHz — Spectrum Policy and Licensing Provisions For Fixed Wireless Access Systems in Rural Areas in the Frequency Range 3400‑3700 MHz
Industry Canada is of the view that licence fees should reflect the economic value of the radio frequency spectrum being used. However, in the absence of a market based mechanism by which this economic value can be revealed, the Department recognizes that such determinations are difficult.
Industry Canada proposes to apply a fee proportional to the geographic area being licensed. For each 25 Km2 an annual fee of $120.00 for each 25 MHz block in the 3400–3550 MHz band is proposed. This fee was derived, in part, using the current per telephone channel licensing fee established in the Radiocommunication Regulations as a base and assumes that the block is shared, whether this is the case or not. The number of potential telephone channels that could be accommodated within 25 MHz of spectrum using state-of-the-art data transmission technology was then calculated. The resulting figure was tested against a calculation of the cost of the wireline substitute as reflected in the monthly line access charges of the carriers.
Interested parties are invited to comment on the proposed fee as described above.
Comments should be submitted on or before October 13, 1998 to the office of:
Radiocommunication and Broadcasting Regulatory Branch
Jean Edmonds Building
300 Slater Street
The fixed service allocation in the band 3400–3700 MHz needs to take into account other service allocations including those in adjacent spectrum. The band 3100–3300 MHz is allocated to the radiolocation and radionavigation services on primary basis. While there is no co-channel operations with fixed wireless access systems in the band 3400–3700 MHz, there may be out-of-band emissions from radars in areas adjacent to waterways with international traffic, including the Great Lakes which may cause interference.
The band 3300–3500 MHz is allocated to radiolocation on primary basis and is limited in Canada to government use. In the United States, the band 3300–3700 MHz is allocated to radiolocation on a primary basis for government use. Consequently, FWA systems will need to coordinate with the U.S. in certain coastal areas due to the operation of ship-borne radars. As well, there are some operations of airborne radar in the band. Studies are underway to determine the susceptibility of FWA systems to these operations. Upon request, the Department will provide advice to applicants, based on available information, as to the potential of interference to proposed FWA systems from radars operating in Canada and the United States. Protection of FWA systems from radars will be afforded to the extent that coordination or assurance against interference can be achieved with domestic and foreign operations.
The frequency band 3500–4200 MHz is allocated to fixed and fixed-satellite service on a co-primary basis. Coordination of FWA and FSS stations is required and studies are underway in conjunction with the Radio Advisory Board of Canada (RABC) to determine the relevant coordination criteria. Furthermore, FWA systems in the band 3500–3700 MHz will be required to coordinate with multi-hop point-to-point radio systems operating in the band 3500–4200 MHz in accordance with SRSP 303.5 Issue 4. (See Section 3.3 for more information.)
Upon release of this policy document, the Radio Advisory Board of Canada (RABC) will be consulted on a number of technical issues to facilitate implementation and coordination of FWA systems in the band 3400–3700 MHz.
The band 3300–3500 MHz is also allocated to amateur service on secondary basis. It should be noted that the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations was amended in 1997. Included in the changes was a new primary allocation for the fixed service in the band 3400–3500 MHz. Consequently, operators of amateur systems will continue to have access to this band on a secondary basis. Operators of amateur stations will be required to protect FWA systems and other primary services from interference and operate on a no protection basis. Radio amateurs are encouraged to consult the Department for information on FWA system deployment.
As FWA systems will be authorized using spectrum licences, and pending the finalization of co-existence criteria, individual site licensing and coordination of hubs will be required on an inter-system basis. The subscriber stations however, will require a measure of protection throughout the licensed service area. This can be accomplished by specifying a field strength or coordination distance to the desired service area boundary. Either one will require the assumption of typical system characteristics and configuration to minimize the potential for interference while still retaining a measure of spectrum reuse efficiency. The characteristics and precise mechanisms for coordination will be developed in consultation with the RABC, taking into account existing and planned equipment as well as band usage to the extent possible.
The use of spectrum blocks of 25 MHz has evolved as an industry recognized structure for the band which will allow sufficient capacity and flexibility for deployment of systems within a desired service area. The selection of a channel plan within the band i.e. the pairing of the 25 MHz blocks, will accommodate transmit/receive frequency pairings of 50 and 100 MHz to accommodate frequency division duplexing systems. Within the 25 MHz blocks, a common hub/sub or go/return designation is expected to facilitate coordination of FWA systems sharing the same channel block(s). Provisions for time division duplexing systems using a single 25 MHz block(s), will also be accommodated in the frequency band plan.
Emission limits will be required to prevent inter-system interference. Point-to-multipoint systems are less constrained when the emission limitations are applied to a block of spectrum rather than to individual channels within the block. This flexibility is workable when spectrum is allocated on a block and area basis, and consideration should be given to the application of emission limits at the frequency block edge. These issues will be further developed in consultation with the RABC. Coordination will be facilitated within a common area by co-location to the extent possible to avoid near/far problems. The point-to-area implementations with ubiquitous subscriber locations lends itself to type approval of equipment. A certification specification will be required and developed by the Department.
FWA licensees will be expected to meet Industry Canada's policy of encouraging shared use of antenna sites. Further, interconnection standards may be required to facilitate the interconnection with public switched networks and the Terminal Attachment Program Advisory Committee (TAPAC) may be asked to develop any necessary standards. Also, Canadians have clearly expressed, in a number of fora, that they value their privacy. The possible use of radiocommunications to effect the link between the communications of individual consumers and the conventional public switched telephone network (or other networks) has obvious ramifications for the privacy concerns of users. Licensees providing public commercial service should consider measures to ensure that privacy concerns are addressed.
Licensees operating as radiocommunications carriers must comply with the Canadian ownership and control requirements as outlined in subsection 10(2) of the Radiocommunication Regulations. In addition, carriers must notify Industry Canada of any change which would have a material effect on ownership or control in fact. Such notification must be made in advance of any proposed transactions within the knowledge of the carrier.
In the consultation process most organizations supported the eventual deployment of FWA in urban areas. The CRTC local competition decision (Local Competition, Telecom Decision CRTC 97-8), released on May 1, 1997, put in place the rules that enable cable companies, wireless service providers and others, to enter the local telephone market in competition with the incumbent telephone companies. The Department intends to provide sufficient spectrum to support a wide range of wireless access systems and competitive service offerings.
Currently, manufacturers have developed products that primarily operate in parts of the lower 150 MHz, 3400–3550 MHz. The Department wishes, as previously indicated, to proceed expeditiously with the licensing of FWA systems on a first-come first-served basis in rural areas, to advance the level and range of communication service toward what exists in urban areas. The Department will defer the licensing of FWA systems in the band 3400–3700 MHz in urban areas, until equipment is more readily available in the full 300 MHz of the band and service applications are better defined in order to accommodate a range of service providers and innovative services. Also, licensing of FWA systems in urban areas will be subject to a competitive process as the demand could likely exceed the available spectrum. It should be noted that further public consultation will be required before FWA system licensing is initiated in urban areas over the spectrum range 3400–3700 MHz.
High capacity, point-to-point microwave systems have used the frequency band 3700–4200 MHz for many years with certain cross-sections also using the band 3500–3700 MHz. The telephone companies developed these systems as part of their telecommunications network backbone, handling inter-city voice, data and video traffic. As a consequence, the Department has ensured over the years that this spectrum, coupled with spectrum in the 4400–5000 MHz band is available for heavy-route, long haul microwave systems. However, during the last decade, telecommunication companies have developed extensive inter-city fibre optic facilities which carry much of the traffic once found on the heavy-route microwave systems using the 4 GHz and 6 GHz bands. As a result, a number of microwave systems have been decommissioned and there has been little growth in either new systems or expansion of existing systems.
The comments received from industry support the continued use of assignments in the 3500–4200 MHz bands by point-to-point systems. However, recognizing the importance of finding spectrum for FWA technology, industry supported the direction of not authorizing new point-to-point systems in the band 3500–3700 MHz. The Department concurs with this view and will permit the use of the 3500–3700 MHz band for expansion of an existing microwave route, on a case-by-case basis, where justification supports such assignments outside of urban areas.
As outlined in Section 3 of this document, the introduction of FWA systems in the 3400–3700 MHz band affects the use of the spectrum by other radio services in the frequency range of 3400–4200 MHz. A summary of these policy provisions can be found in Annex 3 of this document and, effective upon release of this policy, the aforementioned Annex will replace the provisions for the 3500–4200 MHz band in the spectrum utilization policy document entitled Revisions to Microwave Spectrum Utilization Policies in the Range of 1-20 GHz, (SP 1-20 GHz), dated January 1995.
It is suggested that applicants contact the nearest office of Industry Canada regarding licensing in the band 3400–4200 MHz. General inquiries about the policy provisions contained in this document may be addressed to the Spectrum and Radio Services Directorate, Telecommunication Policy Branch, 300 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0C8 or by calling 613-998-3949 or faxing 613-952-0567.
Issued under the authority of the Radiocommunication Act
Telecommunications Policy Branch
Initially, the rural areas1 available to operators of fixed wireless access (FWA) systems in the 3.4 GHz band, are generally defined as high cost, low teledensity serving areas. Licensees may operate public commercial and private FWA systems in these rural areas. The provision of public commercial services is subject to the appropriate regulatory authorization (e.g. CRTC, provincial authority).
Within the serving areas of the Stentor companies, the following description provides the rural telephone exchanges, or rural serving areas that are being opened for implementation of FWA systems. Operators of FWA systems may also serve local telephone exchanges or small communities of less than 4000 households, provided that their systems can be reasonably coordinated with future deployment in large urban areas.
All areas outside of the local telephone exchanges served by the Stentor companies, including Stentor's associate members, Quebec-Telephone and North West Tel are open for implementation of FWA systems. These areas include the territories of some 50 independent telephone companies including their urban telephone exchanges. It is noted that competition in local telephone exchanges is limited to the service areas authorized by the regulator.
The rural telephone exchanges or rural serving areas are described as follows within the Stentor local telephone exchanges:
Alberta — TELUS Communications Inc.
Operators of FWA systems may serve customers in band 'D' exchange areas. Refer to the response to the CRTC Interrogatories TELUS - TCI (CRTC) 14 July 1997, 1510 for detailed description of the tariff bands. For information, the tariff bands are shown below. A limited number of customers in certain band 'C' exchange areas may also be served by an FWA operator. Permission to serve such customers in band 'C' areas will be granted on a case-by-case basis, where such service continues to be in a rural area, there are clearly demonstrated benefits to these customers, and the coverage is incidental to coverage of a band 'D' areas. In addition, operators of FWA systems cannot serve the greater Edmonton area which is not covered in the above tariff.
Band A : Calgary
Band B : Calgary (other exchanges)/Ft. McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Lloydminster, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, Sherwood Park, St. Albert
Band C : Airdrie, Brooks, Camrose, Drayton Valley, Ft. Saskatchewan, Leduc, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Wetaskiwin
Band D : all other exchanges
British Columbia — BC TEL
Operators of FWA systems may serve customers in bands 'D1-D4' exchange areas. Refer to the CRTC General Tariff Item 30 - BC TEL for a detailed description of the tariff bands. For information, the tariff bands are shown below. A limited number of customers in certain band 'C' exchange areas may also be served by an FWA operator. Permission to serve such customers in band 'C' areas will be granted on a case-by-case basis, where such service continues to be in a rural area, there are clearly demonstrated benefits to these customers, and the coverage is incidental to coverage of a band 'D1-D4' areas.
Band A1/B3: Vancouver
Band B1: Victoria
Band B2: North Vancouver, Saanich, Sooke, West Vancouver
Band B3: Ladner, New Westminster, Port Moody, Whalley
Band B4: Aldergrove, Cloverdale, Fort Langley, Haney, Langley, Newton, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Richmond, White Rock, Whonnock
Band C: Abbotsford, Aspen Park, Cedar, Chilliwack, Courtenay, Dallas, Hartway, Kelowna, Ladysmith, Lakeview Heights, Lantzville, Nanaimo, North Kamloops, Okanagan Mission, Pineview, Prince George, Rutland, South Kamloops, Vanway, Wellington, Westbank, Westsyde
Band D1-D4: all other exchanges
Manitoba — Manitoba Telecom Services Inc.
Operators of FWA systems may serve customers in bands 'D' and 'E' exchange areas. Refer to the CRTC General Tariff Item 460 - Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. for a detailed description of the tariff bands. For information, the tariff bands are shown below.
Band A: Winnipeg Core
Band B: Winnipeg Suburban
Band C: Brandon
Band D: Exchanges with 1500 and over lines
Band E: Exchanges with fewer than 1500 lines
E2: Exchanges previously in Rate Group 2
E1: Exchanges previously in Rate Group 1
EA: Exchanges not having community calling service or extended area service
New Brunswick — The New Brunswick Telephone Company Limited
Operators of FWA systems may serve customers in band 'B' exchange areas, with the exception of Bathurst and Edmundston. Refer to the response to the CRTC Interrogatories NBTel (CRTC) 14 July 1997 1510 (PCII) for a detailed description of the tariff bands. For information, the tariff bands are shown below.
Band A: Fredericton/Moncton/St. John
Band B: all other exchanges
Newfoundland — NewTel Communications Inc.
Operators of FWA systems may serve customers in band 'B' exchange areas. Refer to the CRTC General Tariff Item 50 - NewTel for a detailed description of the tariff bands. For information, the tariff bands are shown below.
Band A: St. John's
Band B: All other exchanges
1 Industry Canada will evolve the definition of rural service areas according to any future decision of the CRTC on General Tariffs for low teledensity, high cost serving areas. The Department also recognizes that certain rural areas and small communities of local telephone exchanges may have been inadvertently omitted and that these rural service areas could be permitted for FWA systems.
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