SP 1-3 GHz — Amendments to the Microwave Spectrum Utilization Policies in the 1‑3 GHz Frequency Range

2.3 Licensing Considerations and Provisions

Industry Canada's licensing approach for SRS systems in this band has been to process applications on a first-come, first-served (FCFS) basis. Spectrum users are required to coordinate their systems and frequency assignments in order to accommodate a large number of users and make efficient use of the limited spectrum.

Since initiating public consultation two years ago, similar spectrum (1427-1430 MHz) has been available in the U.S. on a secondary basis for wireless AMR with limited deployment to date, and only one known manufacturer producing the equipment. Furthermore, there has been interest expressed by one potential service provider in Canada.

With the information available, the Department has not seen any indication that the demand for spectrum at 1.4 GHz for wireless AMR will exceed the supply, even with pending deregulation of the power utilities industry and the anticipated level of interest. Moreover, there are many other wireless and wireline facilities that could accommodate this requirement, including the licence-exempt bands (i.e., 902-928 MHz), as well as the integration of meter reading service on existing wireless networks, i.e., PCS, mobile data networks, etc.

For these reasons, the Department believes that the FCFS licensing process with the requirement to implement within a short period is the best approach to pursue. Since there appears to be sufficient spectrum in this band to support up to six providers, the Department will proceed in licensing these narrowband MCS systems for wireless AMR in urban areas on a first-come, first-served basis. Furthermore, the Department wishes to provide a short period, from the issuance of this policy, to allow potential applicants the time to consider their requirements, and prepare and submit their applications. As of March 1, 2000, the Department will begin to consider applications on an FCFS basis in accordance with the principles and requirements of Phase 1 of Radio Standards Procedure 113 (RSP-113), Application Procedure for Planned Radio Stations Above 960 MHz in the Fixed Service. The Department will process applications that demonstrate an ability to deploy their systems within one year and meet commercial commitment service dates and deployment time frames.

However, should the number of applications received exceed the supply in one or a number of areas, the Department would consider initiating a competitive process after consulting with applicants. The approach is consistent with the policy paper entitled Guidelines for Licensing and Spectrum Release Plan, which will be released in the near future.

Interested parties have supported the need to ensure rapid implementation of wireless telemetry meter reading systems in urban areas. Such systems will typically serve large urban areas that require multiple hub stations, thereby making block-area licensing the preferred licensing process. Industry Canada has concluded that the best way to proceed is to issue spectrum licences for frequency assignments or spectrum blocks within a defined urban service area.

Successful applicants under Phase I of RSP-113 will receive a letter of acceptance-in-principle from the Department, which will be valid for a one-year period, after which it will expire if system operations have not begun. When the applicant is ready to commence deployment on a service-area basis within the 12-month period and has successfully co-ordinated with other AMR and SRS systems, the Department will issue a spectrum licence. When deployment has not proceeded by the end of the 12-month period, the acceptance-in-principle period will expire and the applicant will be required to submit appropriate information to the Department to justify a further renewal. The request will be assessed against spectrum availability and other applications at that time.

Spectrum licences will be issued for specific service areas. Licensees will be expected to take measures to minimize radio frequency emissions outside the licenced service areas and co-ordinate with existing SRS systems.

2.3.1 Spectrum Licences

Spectrum licences, also referred to as block area licences, provide for the utilization by licensees of specified radio frequencies within a defined geographical area. Since site-specific radio station licences are not required, this type of licence benefits both the Department and licensees by reducing the administrative burden associated with licensing each radio apparatus.

Successful applicants are reminded that they must still obtain all other appropriate approvals associated with individual sites, as well as abide by relevant Industry Canada policies such as shared use of advantageous antenna sites. The licensees will also have the responsibility to ensure that their networks are properly planned and will be required to abide by the geographical and frequency privileges attributed to the licence.

In accordance with this policy, a Client Procedures Circular (CPC) will be published, outlining the detailed procedure and licensing conditions for spectrum licensing in this band.

2.3.2 Fees

Industry Canada believes 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.

Comments are sought on the proposed annual fees of $10.00/MHz/1000 households for a spectrum licence in the bands 1427-1430 MHz and 1493.5-1496.5 MHz.

Comments should be forwarded to Mr. Terry Rudeen via electronic mail on or before December 31, 1999 at the following address:

ic.spectrumpublications-publicationsduspectre.ic@canada.ca.

The number of households will be calculated using the latest available data generated by Statistics Canada for each census area within the area of coverage proposed by the applicant.

3.0 Fixed Services in the Band 1700-1990 MHz

With the release of SP 1-20 GHz in January 1995, the frequency range 1700-1850 MHz was identified as the new "lower 2 GHz" band for low capacity (LC) point-to-point systems. One of the priorities of the policy provisions was to accommodate microwave stations that were subject to displacement as a result of the introduction of personal communication services (PCS) in Canada.

Further to the release of SP 1-20 GHz, industry recommended an amendment to the band plan to accommodate the shortage of very low capacity (VLC) links. Service providers indicated that the good propagation characteristics of this frequency range make it particularly suitable for rural and remote applications requiring long hops. Public comment was solicited on the proposal to accommodate VLC links in the band 1700-1850 MHz in the spectrum utilization policy consultation paper entitled Proposals to Provide New Opportunities for the Use of the Radio Spectrum in the 1-20 GHz Frequency Range, Gazette Notice DGTP-006-97.

It is appropriate to note that utilization policy SP 1-20 GHz, issued in 1995, included a cautionary statement that the band 1710-1850 MHz may be subject to a future policy review to determine whether the band is required for other uses after the year 2000. Since that time, a number of domestic and international developments have led to the consideration of this spectrum at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conference in May 2000 (WRC-2000) for the implementation of new mobile services commonly referred to as third generation personal communication services or IMT-2000.

The timing of this implementation could occur in incremental stages between the years 2005-2010. Based on the experiences with PCS roll-out, it could subsequently be necessary to transition existing fixed systems out of the spectrum to facilitate the implementation of the new services. Consequently, the Department does not support any growth in this band at this time, particularly for large-scale multi-hop networks, or for systems deployed in urban areas and their vicinities. Shortly after the results of WRC-2000, Industry Canada will decide on the steps to be taken to accommodate new mobile services in the band 1710-1850 MHz.

4.0 Modified Fixed Services Bands 2025-2110 and 2200-2285 MHz

In August 1997, Industry Canada initiated a comprehensive spectrum policy review proposing new opportunities for use of the radio spectrum in the 1-20 GHz frequency range. This was based on the considerable interest in the introduction of various services such as fixed wireless access systems, multipoint communication systems, and licence-exempt voice and data equipment. Canada Gazette Notice DGTP-006-97 put forth a number of new spectrum policy proposals.

4.1 Modified Fixed Service Bands

With the release of SP 1-20 GHz in January 1995, the frequency range 2010-2110 MHz paired with 2200-2300 MHz was identified as the new "upper 2 GHz" band for medium capacity (MC) point-to-point systems. A moratorium on the licensing of new fixed microwave applications was placed on the 1990-2010 and 2160-2200 MHz bands to facilitate the future implementation of mobile satellite services (MSS), and on the band 2110-2160 MHz for emerging PCS services. In August 1997, a similar moratorium was added to the band 2010-2025 MHz, which was allocated to mobile satellite services at the 1995 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-95).

Due to the moratorium imposed for the MSS spectrum in the band 2010-2025 MHz, the Department sought industry comments on their proposal to redefine the band plan for pointto- point fixed systems for medium-capacity links from 2010-2110 and 2200-2300 MHz (100+100) to 2025-2105 and 2200-2280 MHz (80+80).

Comments from industry indicated that the proposed 80+80 MHz was adequate to satisfy the needs of new MC applicants, however, additional low-capacity spectrum was requested.

Decision:

Based on public response and the need to increase mobile satellite spectrum, the Department has rearranged the band 2025-2110 MHz paired with 2200-2285 MHz for point-to-point systems as the "upper 2 GHz band". It is the view of the Department that this spectrum could be available for medium- and low-capacity applications.

This spectrum has been recognized by international footnote as being difficult to share with high density deployments of one mobile service. It is also appropriate to note that current international opinions have been expressed this paired spectrum should be excluded from the spectrum being considered for the implementation of third generation mobile services (IMT-2000) in bands below 3 GHz.

4.2 TV-Pickups

In the consultation document, the Department recognized the need to find additional spectrum for TV-pickups. A proposal was made to designate the band 2025-2130 MHz for TV-pickups in urban areas. Part of that proposal included reviewing both present and future spectrum requirements for TV-pickups.

This proposal was the result of the current situation of TV-pickup spectrum. In particular, two channels that used to be available in the industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) band at 2450-2483.5 MHz are suffering gradual degradation with the increased use of ISM devices such as microwave ovens. This situation is not expected to improve with the introduction of licence-exempt microwave links in the band.

The same TV-pickup equipment that operates at 2450-2483.5 MHz is capable of operating at 1990-2110 MHz, as it has been available for broadcast auxiliary services in the U.S. for many years. Recent decisions in the U.S. have reduced the available spectrum to 85 MHz between 2025-2110 MHz.

There was strong support for additional TV-pickup channels in the proposed designated band, but there were also strong concerns over the potential reallocation issues with the deployment of IMT-2000 in the band 2110-2150 MHz.

Decision:

The Department is designating only part of the proposed band, that is, 2025-2110 MHz, for TV-pickups to be shared on an urban/rural basis with point-to-point systems. As 2110-215MHz is designated for future PCS, no new fixed systems will be implemented in this band.

The spectrum requirement for TV-pickups is expected to be proportional to the population and total geographical area of urban centres. In some areas, e.g., Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, new point-to-point systems may not be accommodated because of the need for TV-pickups. However, it is expected that for the less congested major city centres, the majority of point-to-point systems can and will be accommodated on a case-by-case basis.

In addition to population and geographical areas, the highest concentration of use is expected to be within urban areas because of the nature of TV-pickup applications, with the highest congestion occurring at temporary installation sites located at major sporting events or conventions.

Preference will normally be given to TV-pickup implementations within urban areas. Outside of urban areas, access to the spectrum will be on a first-come, first-served basis, although Industry Canada will monitor the deployment of radio systems to ensure adequate access for foreseen requirements of TV-pickups. Considerations for sharing the spectrum can be developed with industry and be included in the determination of urban areas. The precise definition of individual urban areas and spectrum requirements will be managed by the Department of Industry on a regional basis.

The Department expects improved technology to be deployed in order to considerably reduce spectrum requirements and facilitate a greater number of channels and installations.

4.3 Subscriber Radio and Very Low Capacity Point-to-Point Systems

A further proposal was made to accommodate subscriber radio systems (SRS) in the bands 2105-2130 and 2280-2305 MHz. Part of that proposal included reviewing whether or not low-capacity, point-to-point and subscriber radio systems should continue to be available in the paired frequency bands 2290-2360 and 2520-2590 MHz.

This proposal was in part due to events that have transpired since the release of SP 1-20 GHz in 1995 and have reduced the viability of the revised "super 2 GHz band", which was designated in portions of the 2.3 and 2.5 GHz bands. Two of these events are: the advancement of digital compression technology that has rekindled interest in multipoint communication services in the 2500-2596 MHz band, and the licensing of American satellite operators to provide digital audio radio service by satellite (DARS) at 2320-2345 MHz. A moratorium was established in December 1997 (Gazette Notice DGRB-007-97, Multipoint Communications Systems (MCS) in the 2500 MHz Range; Spectrum and Licensing Policy Discussion Document) for further licensing of SRS and point-to-point systems in the 2500-2596 MHz MCS band. A comparative licensing process was initiated in early June 1999 to license MCS systems at 2.5 GHz (refer to the document entitled 2500 MHz Multipoint Communications Systems - Policy and Licensing Procedures).

Responses to the public consultation on accommodating SRS systems showed that there is little support from the SRS community for this proposal due to future mobile service deployment. Some concerns were expressed by PCS advocates that no new spectrum should be designated for fixed services as it would compromise the future of IMT-2000.

Decisions:

SRS may continue to be authorized in the bands 2025-2110 and 2200-2285 MHz in remote and distant rural areas under the provisions of the Geographical Differences Policy (GDP) Guideline outlined in the SP 1-20 GHz.

It is appropriate to designate a portion of the band 2025-2110 and 2200-2285 MHz, in the order of 10+10 MHz, for very low-capacity applications under the same geographical sharing conditions as those described above for TV-pickups and point-to-point systems.


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