SP Gen — General Information Related to Spectrum Utilization and Radio Systems Policies

4. Future Spectrum Policy Changes

Policy changes arise from the need to respond to new demands on the radio spectrum. These can originate in several ways, such as demand for new radio services, introduction of new technologies, changes in the international frequency allocation or use of the spectrum, or simply frequency congestion in an existing band when demand exceeds supply. So as to ensure that Canadians have timely access to new or improved services, or to uphold our international treaty obligations, it may be necessary to implement changes to radio systems before the whole of their useful service life has expired.

The Department is finding that much of the congestion in certain bands is caused by equipment using technology with spectrum efficiencies much lower than is achievable today. This is a result of excessive bandwidths or low encoding efficiency. It is not uncommon to find radio systems in operation as long as 20–25 years. If radio systems based on old and inefficient technologies are not removed or upgraded, new opportunities for the most effective use of the radio spectrum can be blocked, thereby delaying or making its use more expensive than necessary.

To take into account changes to accommodate new demands, users of the radio spectrum should plan their systems such that a normal return on investment is achieved within a reasonable period of time; however, in cases where unforeseen policy changes are required, the applicant should note that the normal 5 and 2 year rule could apply which may render a system subject to change.

5. Special Procedures for the Implementation of New Policies

The Spectrum Utilization Policies and Radio System Policies provide the general policy guidance on spectrum resources and radio system applications for the orderly development of particular radiocommunications services. SRSP documents detail technical requirements and channelling arrangements for systems for the purpose of efficient spectrum utilization and orderly implementation. In so far as new spectrum utilization policies make changes to the existing uses of the radio spectrum in certain bands, the existing SRSPs for those bands will have to be modified in various degrees so as to agree with these policies. As a result, in the period until the applicable SRSP can be reviewed and updated, the following special procedures will be used.

Systems licensed in a band in which the SRSP is subject to only minor changes or none at all for the particular usage, as a result of these policies, will be considered for licensing as standard systems if they clearly conform with the SRSP as modified by these policies.

Certain SRSPs are materially affected for a particular usage by new spectrum utilization policies; the Department will consider the licensing of new systems as non-standard systems where in the judgement of the Department it is considered likely that the re-issue of the SRSP at some time in the future will result in making these systems standard. When a new SP is issued and there is no SRSP available, any system licensed would be designated nonstandard. In some extreme cases where major revisions in the SRSP may be required and the outcome of these revisions is uncertain (or where no SRSP currently exists for the band), the Department may choose not to license a system at least until a revised SRSP is available. Such uncertainty may occur in bands where there is a broad range of technical options to consider in the formulation of the new SRSP.

Systems operating in accordance with a spectrum utilization policy must take into account the other uses of the radio spectrum which might not be considered by the policy. Radiocommunication services share bands in Canada in accordance with the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations, as amended from time to time. Unless specifically stated otherwise in departmental publications, radio services may use the spectrum allocated to them in accordance with their allocation status on a "first-come, first-served" basis. Similarly protection to radio systems is in accordance with the status of the radio service (primary, permitted, secondary, or other restrictions) according to the frequency allocation in question in the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations. The use of the terms "primary and secondary", apply only between services as given in the Table.

6. Spectrum Policies

Certain spectrum utilization policy documents which were issued as a result of the 1–10 GHz policy review in 1982, and some others, contain a specific section (usually 3.2 entitled "Sharing Aspects with Other Services"). As these statements of sharing may not have been revised to reflect later revisions to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations, they may be inaccurate. Users are advised to disregard these existing sharing statements. As the Spectrum Utilization Policies containing such statements are reprinted, these sections will be deleted.

7. Additional Information for Fixed Radio Systems

7.1 Overflow Bands

Consideration has been given to the use of certain bands to solve coordination problems at crossovers or spurs as "overflow" bands and there was considerable public comment on the respective merits of the use of certain bands for this purpose. On reviewing this matter, the Department has concluded that the choice of any overflow band depends on the particular case and should not be predetermined.

7.2 One-hop Systems

A one-hop system is defined as a stand alone single-hop radio link limited to two stations which communicate only with one another. In the past, this has often been described in departmental publications in terms of distance or by the use of the term short-haul. In general, the term "one-hop" will be used in place of short-haul, as applicable. It should be noted that a one-hop spur from a system operating in the same or another band is not considered a one-hop system.

7.3 Diversity and Protection Channels

The term "frequency diversity" refers to the simultaneous transmission of the same traffic over two RF channels operating at different frequencies. Polarization diversity refers to the re-use of the same frequency with a different polarization. Both of these are used to provide equipment redundancy and/or improved propagation reliability. In systems having more than one RF working channel, a similar but lesser form of protection is provided whereby one protection RF channel acts as back-up for several working channels. This is commonly referred to as 1 for N operation, i.e., one protection channel for N working channels. An operating back-up channel for a single working channel is designated "a diversity channel" whereas an operating back-up channel for more than one working channel is designated "a protection channel". A diversity channel will be authorized on a standard basis if the applicant is able to successfully demonstrate that the desired level of reliability cannot be achieved by the use of either or both of the techniques of hot standby and space diversity, as applicable, except in those bands where other conditions are specified.

7.4 Sharing/Protection Considerations

Provision has been made for lower capacity fixed systems in various frequency bands together with higher capacity fixed systems. There has been concern that a lower capacity fixed system operating at minimum capacity could block the growth of higher capacity fixed systems, with a consequent loss in spectrum efficiency. In this and in similar cases, the Department will attempt to maintain frequency or geographic separation between large and small systems by taking into account the anticipated service demands of existing and new users in its assignment practices. In addition, frequency plans will generally designate separate sub-bands for widely differing channel capacity requirements.

8. Numbering of SP Documents

In the SP series of documents, the SP identity number is taken from the lower band edge of the subject band and expressed in gigahertz (GHz), megahertz (MHz) or kilohertz (kHz) as needed to provide a unique identifier. The band edge is expressed in kHz below 27,500 kHz, in GHz above 10 GHz and in MHz between these two frequencies. Where an SP embraces two sub-bands, the number identifies the lower edge of the lower band. For example, the policy documents for bands 6425–6590/6770–6930 MHz and 6590–6770/6930–7125 MHz are designated as SP-6425 MHz and SP-6590 MHz respectively.

9. Definitions

In-plant Video
A fixed service for the transmission of industrial or security video signals within the geographic boundary of the premises of the user.
Multipoint Communications Systems (MCS)
A fixed service consisting of a central radio station communicating on a (MCS) one or two way basis with two or more associated stations.
Standard System
A system which conforms to the most recent issue of the spectrum utilization policy/radio systems policy and to the associated SRSP (see section 3).
Non-standard System
A system which does not conform to the most recent issue of the spectrum utilization policy/radio systems policy or the SRSP or which is authorized while an SRSP is under preparation (see section 3).
Subscriber Radio System (SRS)
A multipoint communication service normally employed for rural telephone applications.
Studio Transmitter Link (STL)
A fixed service for one way transmission between a broadcast studio and a (AM, FM or TV) broadcast transmitter.
Temporary TV Link
A fixed service for transmission of a television signal on a temporary basis.
TV Pick-up
A fixed service between a temporary remote television camera location and the studio. A TV pick-up may consist of a camera to mobile studio link and a mobile studio to TV broadcast studio link.
Very High Capacity Microwave (VHCM)
A fixed service used primarily for the delivery of Microwave (VHCM) broadcast programming signals to broadcast receiving undertakings.

10. Definitions of System Capacities

Note: The definitions of system capacities for low capacity (LC), medium capacity (MC), and high capacity (HC) shown in the table below have been revised and are replaced by those found in section 1.9 of SP 1-20 GHz.

Definitions of System Capacities
Radio Frequency
Channel Capacity
voice channels)
Digital 6 7 8 9 
Very Low (VLC) 1–24 ≤ 1.54410  
Low (LC) 25–120 ≥ 1.544  ≤ 18.936
Medium (MC) 121–600 ≥ 18.936  ≤ 103.68
High (HC) 601–1200 ≥ 89.47211  
Very High (VHC) 1201 & up    

6 These limits do not include overhead bits used by the digital radio system which will result in a small increase in transmission bit rate beyond the indicated upper limits in the order of 5% (or possibly more).

7 Applicants must use frequency bands in which the system design channel capacity is met. For example, radio equipment capable of 135 Mbit/s or greater performance must be operated in a HC digital band, even if the initial traffic loading consists of the equivalent of 45 Mbit/s or less.

8 In frequency plans containing more than one channel capacity, new applicants should use the highest capacity channel permissable instead of using more than one lower capacity channel.

9 The table is not intended to imply equivalence between analogue and digital traffic for any given capacity range.

10 Very Low Capacity (VLC) digital capacities may be multiples of the ISDN B and D data rates up to a maximum of 1.544 Mbit/s. The exact multiples will be determined by the RF channel bandwidths and spectrum efficiencies given in each SRSP, subject to the availability of spectrum in the band to support VLC.

11 New HC digital systems exceeding 155.52 Mbit/s in the band 6425–6590/ 6770–6930 MHz are nonstandard, and are limited to two RF channels.

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