SP 2285 MHz — Revisions to the Spectrum Utilization Policy for Services in the Frequency Range 2285–2483.5 MHz

3.4 Mobile Aeronautical Telemetry Systems in the Band 2300–2360 MHz

Industry Canada solicited comments on the viability of retaining the designation of Mobile Aeronautical Telemetry Systems or MATS, on a secondary basis, for use by the Department of National Defence around major military bases and vicinities in the band 2300–2360 MHz.

Most respondents indicated that MATS may be retained for two reasons. First, it has successfully co-existed for several years with fixed service systems operating under the 'Super 2 GHz' channel plan. With proper coordination, MATS and WCS applications should be able to continue co-existing. Second, continued operation of MATS on a secondary basis with U.S. DARS is part in the draft Canada/U.S. agreement.

Industry Canada is making the following policy provisions:

Where MATS does not impact the implementation of WCS and other services, it may be authorized to the Department of National Defence, on a secondary basis, on major military bases and vicinities, in the band 2300–2360 MHz. However, if required, the Department of National Defence would have to cease MATS operation upon notification from the Department of Industry. The operation of MATS in the band 2320–2345 MHz is also subject to the conditions of the Canada/U.S. agreement on coordination with U.S. DARS.

3.5 Band 2360–2400 MHz

In DGTP-003-00, Industry Canada designated the band 2360–2400 MHz for mobile aeronautical telemetry system (MATS) applications. 2 At that time, comments were solicited on the time period to be given to fixed systems for protection from MATS operating in the band 2390–2400 MHz.

Some respondents suggested that Super 2 GHz fixed systems should be permitted to continue to operate with protection, and that the displacement of fixed systems be considered on a case-by-case basis where co-existence with MATS is not possible. An initial minimum timeframe of two years for notification was also suggested.

Taking the above into consideration, Industry Canada is making the following policy provisions:

Fixed systems operating in the band 2390–2400 MHz will be afforded protection from MATS operations until April 1, 2002. After this date, fixed systems may continue to operate on a no-protection basis (from MATS operations). Fixed systems that have the potential to interfere into MATS operations will be subject to displacement within 1 year of being notified by the Department of Industry. Notices may begin to be served as early as July 1, 2001, at the request of the Department of National Defence.

Respondents have encouraged the Department to consider the needs of the Radio amateurs noting that in the U.S. the Amateur service has been granted primary status in the band 2390–2400 MHz and 2402–2417 MHz. In Canada the Amateur service has a secondary allocation in these bands. Given the critical nature of the MATS service adopted for the band 2390–2400 MHz and the public interest for licence-exempt devices above 2400 MHz, the Department did not find a compelling interest to elevate the status of the Amateur service with respect to these outlined services. The Amateur use of these bands will therefore remain on a secondary basis.

In response to issues raised on TV-pickup operations using airborne platforms, law enforcement agencies have expressed interest in spectrum in the 2 GHz range for surveillance purposes. The Department deems it appropriate to allow the Government of Canada operations in this band to include airborne surveillance applications by federal and provincial law enforcement agencies.

The Department is, therefore, making the following spectrum policy provisions:

Access to a limited number of channels (in the order of 10 MHz) will be permitted for airborne surveillance applications by federal and provincial law enforcement agencies in the band 2360–2390 MHz. Coordination is however required with the Department of National Defence MATS operations. This access may be extended to include metropolitan police forces on a case-by-case basis, noting that priority status will be given to Department of National Defence MATS operations, particularly on major military bases and vicinities. In certain areas coordination may be required with mobile telemetry and telecommand uses in the United States.

3.6 Band 2400–2483.5 MHz

One key objective of this policy is to greater facilitate the operation of licence-exempt radio devices and systems in the band 2400–2483.5 MHz and to permit microwave transmitters using directional antennas. This would result in harmonization with the U.S. which has become an increasingly important particularly when consumer devices are involved. Harmonization of the spectrum policy and technical requirements with regional and global activities will ensure that maximum benefits are derived. As indicated in the consultation paper, the Department has set out the technical standard requirements for transmitters using directional antennas, taking into account the developments in other countries, specifically those of the U.S. or Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

In Canada, the operation of licence-exempt devices, including low power equipment and spread spectrum transmitters, is governed by Radio Standards Specification 210 (RSS-210). This standard gives technical criteria for which these devices may operate on a licence-exempt basis in the band 2400–2483.5 MHz. Spread spectrum systems that do not comply with RSS-210 may be certified under RSS-139 and be licensed. The rules governing spread spectrum transmitters are required to protect existing fixed microwave systems (including TV-pickups and those licensed under the Super 2 GHz Plan). Principally, the RSS-210 devices are those that either operate entirely above 2450 MHz, or those which operate indoors with very low power, below 2450 MHz. For more details, both RSS-210 and RSS-139 should be consulted at Spectrum Management and Telecommunications.

Industry has approached the Department asking for a relaxation of RSS-210 in order to harmonize the use of the band 2400–2483.5 MHz with the U.S. This action would allow spread spectrum transmitters to operate in Canada on a licence-exempt basis throughout the entire band 2400–2483.5 MHz with high gain antennas. The capability to establish microwave links on a licence-exempt basis, has merits for applications such as connecting schools and other public institutions to the Internet, without incurring the additional costs and delays associated with licensed systems. Fixed service users have stated that licence-exempt links can be used in a timely fashion until a licensed system, protected from interference, can be implemented.

There are approximately 400 existing licensed frequency assignments which qualify as "grandfathered" under the spectrum utilization policy in the band 2390–2450 MHz. With the proliferation of licence-exempt low power radio devices in the band 2400–2483.5 MHz providing broadband wireless connectivity and the need for higher power and licence-exempt status for spread spectrum transmitters, extending protection to these licensed systems becomes more difficult. On the other hand, given that many of these systems are located in areas where the potential for interference in the near term is small, these systems could continue operation on a no-protection basis.

In an April 1997 decision, the FCC amended their Part 15 rules to eliminate the limit on directional antenna gain for licence-exempt spread spectrum transmitters operating in the band 2400–2483.5 MHz. These amended rules also imposed the requirement that the output power of a given spread spectrum transmitter be reduced by 1 dB for every 3 dB that the directional antenna gain exceeds 6 dBi. These changes permit the establishment of radio links capable of transmission distances of up to 10 km or greater without the delays and costs associated with formal frequency coordination and licensing.

This policy makes provisions in sections 3.6.1 and 3.6.2 which will facilitate the operation of licence-exempt radio devices and systems in the band 2400–2483.5 MHz at power levels consistent with those currently adopted by the FCC.

Industry Canada has also recognized that the expected proliferation of licence-exempt devices, the current use by Industrial, Science and Medical Devices (ISM) equipment and the requirement for TV-pickup operation would make it difficult to operate MATS on an unconstrained basis in the band 2400–2483.5 MHz. However, the Department has maintained the view that it is still desirable to retain some additional spectrum for MATS operation particularly in the downlink from aircraft to ground. Industry Canada retained the designation for access to the band 2400–2483.5 MHz by MATS applications on a no-protection basis3.

Licence exempt devices are radio apparatus which are exempt under the Radiocommunication Act from the requirement to operate under a radio licence in specified radio frequency bands and which conform to appropriate Industry Canada spectrum policies, regulations and technical standards. Licence exempt devices or systems cannot claim protection from other radio systems and cannot cause harmful interference into licensed radio services.

Licence exempt devices may constitute transmission facilities as defined in the Telecommunications Act. The use of such devices in providing telecommunications services to the public for compensation could be subject to the provisions of the Telecommunications Act including those pertaining to Canadian ownership and control requirements.

Industry Canada solicited comments on the limitations, if any, required to facilitate co-existence between licence-exempt radio devices and other incumbent systems in the band 2400–2483.5 MHz including fixed, mobile, radiolocation, amateur services and ISM applications. Comments were also solicited on limitations required to facilitate co-existence between high powered spread spectrum fixed systems and low power radio devices.

Most respondents are of the view that retaining the current requirements in RSS-210 with respect to transmitter power and antenna gain would maximize the probability of successful co-existence in the near-term. They also propose that the Department not introduce new limitations on licence-exempt radio devices; rather, an orderly and responsible transition plan for the incumbent microwave systems should be put in place.

3.6.1 Treatment of Incumbents in the Band 2400–2450 MHz

Industry Canada solicited comments on the protection time-period to be given to fixed systems from other services operating in the band 2400–2450 MHz. It is noted that these systems became non-standard in 1995 with the release of the spectrum utilization policy SP 1-20 GHz.

Respondents indicated that existing Super 2 GHz fixed systems would likely receive unacceptable interference from the proposed high-powered licence-exempt systems without successful frequency co-ordination. Under this circumstance, such fixed systems would be required to modify their system in order to operate in the interference environment or to relocate. Most respondents agreed that the Department should afford fixed service operators protection for a period of about two years from the date of issuance of this policy to prepare a replacement plan for their Super 2 GHz systems.

Respondents however, were not interested in establishing an industry maintained database to enable coordination of licence-exempt high powered directive systems so that users are more aware of the Electromagnetic Capability (EMC) environment.

Taking the above comments into consideration, Industry Canada is making the following policy provision:

Fixed systems operating in the band 2400–2450 MHz will be afforded protection from other services operating in the band until July 1, 2002 to the extent possible. After this date, these systems may continue to operate on a no-protection basis and devices meeting the technical requirements of RSS-139 will no longer require a licence.

3.6.2 TV-Pickups in the Band 2450–2483.5 MHz

In DGTP-006-97, the Department accommodated TV-pickups in the band 2400–2483.5 MHz. Since that time, equipment has continued to operate only in the top half of the band (2450–2483.5 MHz). There has been little or no interest shown in the lower half of the band below 2450 MHz. As a result, the designation for TV-pickups in 2400–2450 MHz is being removed. This band remains available for TV-Pickup applications operating as LE devices in accordance with the appropriate RSS.

The Department sought comments on affording protection to the extent possible to fixed TV-pickup receiver base station locations from other services operating in the band 2450–2483.5 MHz until April 1, 2001. In the submissions to the Department, a sunset date for protection of TV-pick-up receivers of 2003 was suggested. However, it is the intent of the Department to facilitate the operation of licence-exempt radio devices and systems in the band 2400–2483.5 MHz and to harmonize such use with that permitted in the U.S. This has become increasingly important particularly when consumer devices are involved. The Department will therefore not make extended provisions to protect TV-pickup base station receivers in this band.

The Department also sought comments on the continued operation of TV pickups in the band 2450–2483.5 MHz on a no-protection basis after the April 1, 2001 date. Most respondents agreed with the continued operations of TV pick-ups in this band, so long as they could operate effectively. It is noted that while the U.S. has facilitated the operation of licence-exempt devices in the band 2400–2483.5 MHz, the original designation for broadcast auxiliary service (BAS) in the band 2450–2483.5 MHz has not been removed.

The Department is therefore making the following policy provisions:

To the extent possible, fixed TV-pickup base station receiver will be afforded protection from other services operating in the band 2450–2483.5 MHz until July 1, 2002. After this date, TV pick-ups may continue to operate on a no-protection basis and devices meeting the technical requirements of RSS-139 will no longer require a licence.

Respondents to the consultation indicated that the use of low-altitude airborne platforms, such as helicopters, should also be accommodated. Concern was expressed that the level of interference between use by airborne TV-pickups and licence-exempt devices would become unacceptable, particularly in large urban areas.

The interference environment between airborne TV-pickups and other devices operating in this band should be assessed by the applicant and the Regional Office. It is expected that there will be urban areas, and even many areas within larger urban areas, where the use of airborne TV-pickups will continue to be feasible. Due to the mobile nature of operation from airborne platforms such as helicopters, the band 2450–2483.5 MHz should be considered for these applications before other spectrum alternatives are sought.

4.0 Implementation

The Department is of the view that the provisions adopted in this document will permit the orderly development of services in the band 2285–2483.5 MHz. Complementary technical specifications will be developed in consultation with industry and incorporated in the relevant Radio Standards Specification (RSS) and Standard Radio System Plan (SRSP) documents.

Issued under the authority
of the Radiocommunication Act

Michael Helm
Director General
Telecommunications Policy Branch

2 The band 2360–2400 MHz is designated for mobile aeronautical telemetry service (MATS) applications. The Government of Canada has priority on the use of this spectrum. Access by others for MATS may be permitted subject to coordination with the Government of Canada systems.

3 The mobile use of the band 2400–2483.5 MHz is limited to the Government of Canada for mobile aeronautical telemetry service, aircraft to ground, on a no-protection basis. The use of aeronautical mobile service will be restricted to Canadian military bases and vicinities to minimize interference to terrestrial systems and devices.

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