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

It is worth noting that subsequent designations have been made to accommodate MCS systems, including Wireless Local Loop (WLL) and Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) in the bands 953-960 MHz and 3400-3550 MHz (DGTP-013-98, Spectrum Policy and Licensing Provisions for Fixed Wireless Access Systems in Rural Areas in the Frequency Range 3400-3700 MHz).

Systems operating in the bands 2025-2110 and 2200-2285 MHz should also take note of the international recommendations, which stipulate constraints on emission levels from fixed service transmitters in certain portions of the band, to facilitate sharing with the space science services. These recommendations also specify power flux density (pfd) levels that fixed service systems will have to tolerate.

The decisions described herein supersede the utilization policy provisions for the related bands contained in Gazette Notice DGTP-002-95, and are defined in Annex 2.

5.0 Spectrum Transition Policy to Facilitate the Introduction of the Mobile Satellite Service in the Bands 1990-2025 MHz and 2160-2200 MHz

5.1 Background

At the 1992 World Administrative Radio Conference (WARC-92), a total of 40+40 MHz of spectrum was allocated in the bands 1970-2010 MHz (Earth-to-space) and 2160-2200 MHz (space-to-Earth) to the mobile satellite service (MSS). Shortly after (in 1995), the Department consulted and modified the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations. At the 1995 World Radiocommunication Conference, changes were made to the allocations at 2 GHz for MSS in International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Region 2 (the Americas), which included a revised allocation for Earth-to-space in the band 1990-2025 MHz. As well, the date of entry into force of the mobile satellite allocation has been advanced from the year 2005 to the year 2000. This change was brought on by countries, including Canada, that supported an earlier implementation of MSS in these new bands.

Modifications to the frequency allocations were made for Region 2 by adjusting the uplink allocation for MSS from the band 1970-2010 MHz to 1990-2025 MHz. The worldwide allocations at 1980-2010 MHz and 2170-2200 MHz and the Region 2 allocation at 2160- 2170 MHz were left unchanged. Canada and a number of other Region 2 countries have joined in a new footnote (S5.389B) in the ITU International Table of Frequency Allocations, which requires that the mobile satellite service not constrain the development of mobile systems in the band 1980-1990 MHz. This is intended to facilitate the future deployment of personal communications services.

These modified frequency allocations were adopted in the 1998 Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations. As a result, the following bands at 2 GHz are now allocated to the mobile satellite service, as well as to the fixed service (FS) in Canada:

  • 1990-2025 MHz MSS (Earth-to-space)
  • 2160-2200 MHz MSS (space-to-Earth)

After the WRC-95 decision with respect to the reallocation of the MSS bands and the moratorium placed by Industry Canada on the licensing of new fixed systems in the bands 1990-2010 MHz and 2110-2200 MHz in the January 1995 issue of SP 1-20 GHz, Revisions to Microwave Spectrum Utilization Policies in the Range of 1-20 GHz, the Department further imposed a moratorium in the 2010-2025 MHz band with respect to the licensing of new fixed microwave stations in DGTP-006-97. This new moratorium to accommodate the introduction of new mobile satellite services was established because sharing between FS and MSS operators is not practical.

The issuance of this moratorium for the additional MSS spectrum included a request for comments on the notification/displacement processes. Radio Systems Policy 007 (RP-007), entitled Policy Framework for the Provision of Mobile Satellite Services via Regional and Global Satellite Systems in the Canadian Market, outlines the policy framework applicable to the provision of mobile satellite services in Canada.

5.2 Spectrum Transition Policy

5.2.1 Spectrum Policy Considerations for Implementation of MSS at 2 GHz

In the past (as early as 1992), Industry Canada submitted Advanced Public Information (API) to the International Telecommunications Union for use of the 2 GHz MSS spectrum without prejudice to the decision on future MSS applications. The Department has also been approached by interested parties to initiate mobile satellite services in this spectrum.

In addition to the mobile satellite service policy framework document mentioned above, a number of spectrum utilization considerations will be taken into account in opening this new MSS band in order to accommodate a number of MSS systems. The following aspects will be considered in reviewing future MSS applications for the use of this important resource:

  1. provisions for the orderly displacement of fixed systems to other frequency bands to accommodate mobile satellite system spectrum requirements;
  2. a requirement to support a number of mobile satellite systems and service providers offering a range of innovative mobile satellite services with due regard to their economic and operational viability;
  3. access to the mobile satellite spectrum for both geostationary and non-geostationary satellite (GSO and non-GSO) systems (spectrum sharing/partitioning); and
  4. designation of spectrum to MSS with the objective of supporting regional and global systems offering a range of services including roaming.

Industry Canada recognizes that the licensing activities of global and regional MSS systems in other countries, particularly U.S. licensing proceedings, will have an impact on how the spectrum will be designated for a number of new MSS systems. This will also be taken into consideration in the designation of spectrum for particular systems and technologies.

5.2.2 General Principles

The Spectrum Policy Framework for Canada issued in 1992 outlines, among other things, the policy guidelines dealing with the allocation of spectrum resources and the displacement of radio systems. The policy states:

The radio frequency spectrum, as a national public resource, will be allocated and planned to advance public policy objectives, while ensuring a balance between public and private radiocommunication use to benefit the Canadian public. The allocation of and access to the spectrum will be adapted to meet changing user requirements, to provide spectrum that best meets the needs of the user, and to facilitate new and innovative services.

As a guideline for radio system or services displacement, the policy states:

As a radio licence does not confer ownership nor a continued right to a particular radio frequency, the Department will continue to provide reasonable notice to inform users of any conditions or circumstances which could result in the displacement of their services or systems to other bands.

Moreover, the policy framework reconfirms that there is no liability or responsibility or intent by the Department to financially compensate spectrum users being displaced. Furthermore, as new services have been introduced, it has not been the practice of Industry Canada to ask new radio users to compensate existing users being displaced. Of course, private arrangements may be made between new radio users and existing users on a voluntary basis, within the provisions of the spectrum transition policy.

The terms of the policy are reinforced by Section 40 of the Radiocommunication Regulations, which provides that the assignment of a radio frequency not confer a monopoly on the use of the frequency or any right of continued tenure.

5.2.3 The Development of Transition Provisions for the 2 GHz MSS Frequency Bands

Public comments on the proposal for a transition policy to notify and displace fixed microwave systems were part of DGTP-006-97. The proposal was a follow-up to footnotes C35A and C36 provided below, which indicate the Department's intention to develop an appropriate spectrum transition policy in the future.

C35A (CAN-98) In the bands 1990-2025 MHz and 2110-2200 MHz, the implementation of the mobile service will be subject to future policy review.

C36 (CAN-94) In the bands 1990-2010 MHz and 2160-2200 MHz, the fixed service may become secondary to the mobile-satellite service in certain sub-bands as may be determined by future policy review.

There was general agreement that co-ordination would not be practical for the coexistence of MSS and FS services in the same bands. It was also indicated that finding clear MSS spectrum within Canada would be difficult because of existing FS installations.

The Department notes that a moratorium has been in effect in the bands 1990-2010 MHz and 2110-2200 MHz since 1995. The implementation of PCS in the spectrum 1900-1990 MHz has also initiated the displacement of a number of paired channels located in the MSS downlink spectrum 2160-2200 MHz. The fixed service channels A2', A3', and B3' are paired with channels that overlap and affect the PCS spectrum blocks A, B, D and F in the band 1930-1975 MHz. Within urban areas, most of these incumbents have already been displaced, with the remaining operating predominately outside. There are approximately 340 frequency assignments (in-band or adjacent band) that are currently in use in the new MSS spectrum, and that would be affected if all the spectrum were to be used.

The Department received submissions that addressed the transition process of affected fixed stations, including the kind of notification or displacement measures that should be implemented. The Department has taken these public comments into consideration in developing a transition policy to accommodate MSS.

5.2.4 Transition Provisions for MSS in the Bands 1990-2025 and 2160-2200 MHz

The transition provisions being adopted are intended to facilitate the implementation of MSS service in Canada through the orderly displacement of fixed station frequency assignments. The provisions provide a reasonable notification period for the displacement of fixed assignments, and allow for the introduction of new mobile satellite services in the near term, based in part on demonstrated service dates to access Canadian and regional markets. Moreover, the provisions advocate a "necessary sub-band" displacement approach that links the displacement of fixed assignments to the MSS service implementation and spectrum requirements for the Canadian and North American markets.

The provisions are as follows:

  1. The Department will issue formal notifications for the displacement of specific frequency assignments of fixed stations to make spectrum available on a country-wide basis, based on sufficient evidence from an approved MSS service provider1 that such displacements are critical in meeting their service requirements, including:
    • a thorough justification that the commercial in-service date is viable;
    • justification of the spectrum requirement;
    • a technical assessment of affected fixed stations; and
    • justification that the spectrum will be accommodated on an (ITU) regional basis.
  2. The earliest mandatory date for fixed frequency assignments that may be subject to displacement will be January 1, 2003. A minimum notification period of two years will be afforded to fixed station incumbents. Earlier displacement to the formal notification date may be achieved through mutually acceptable arrangements between MSS operator(s) and the affected fixed station operator(s).
  3. The displacement of frequency assignments of fixed stations and the date indicated in the notification will be based on the amount of spectrum necessary (parts of bands or sub-bands) for the implementation of a particular MSS system and the projected traffic for the Canadian market. The MSS operator(s) will ensure that such displacements, including dates and access to the Canadian and North American markets, are critical to meet the MSS service dates. The Department will consider the extent to which regional and global MSS systems have been assigned MSS spectrum for the North American market by other administrations as an indication of the service date of these systems.
  4. The Department may enter into an arrangement for the assignment of the mobile satellite systems with other administrations or partition the spectrum according to technology or system operational characteristics in these allocations so as to improve the access to these bands to more MSS systems. Such an arrangement would likely be derived on a multinational basis in the near future.
  5. In the event an MSS operator identifies a need to defer a notified displacement date due to delays in implementing an MSS service, an amendment to the notice of displacement must be issued at least one (1) year prior to the displacement date in effect or earlier.
  6. The FS operators will cease operation of the identified frequency assignments on or before the displacement date indicated in the served notification.
  7. The MSS operator shall not commence service prior to the displacement date indicated in the served notification unless a mutually acceptable arrangement has been made beforehand.
  8. Industry Canada will retain oversight of the displacement process and will assist, where necessary, affected fixed operators in identifying new replacement frequency assignments.
  9. Industry Canada will develop procedures based on the policy provisions in this document for the displacement of fixed service stations in the near future, and will incorporate them in the Department's mobile satellite service licence application procedure.
  10. The operation of MSS service along the Canada-U.S. border will depend on the status of FS operation on either side of the border and on whether the frequency bands (in part or in whole) have been cleared for MSS service.

A significant and/or unjustified delay in the use of released frequency spectrum by MSS licensees, after the displacement date, will be viewed by Industry Canada as a serious breach of service commitment, particularly if fixed stations were displaced prematurely.

Industry Canada will monitor the effectiveness of the spectrum policy provisions related to the displacement of fixed systems. Changes to these provisions may be made to ensure that the continued availability of spectrum for MSS services is accomplished in the most efficient manner.

6.0 Implementation

The Department will closely monitor the deployment of N-MCS systems in the band 1.4 GHz to ensure an orderly roll-out through the first-come, first-served process. Alternate arrangements may ensue if the Department feels this process is not proceeding as planned. Note that new applicants to the band 1.4 GHz must co-ordinate with the subscriber radio system incumbents.

Based on the policy decisions in Section 5, Industry Canada will develop guidelines for the displacement of fixed service stations using the bands 1990-2025 and 2160-2200 MHz in the near future, and will incorporate them into the Department's mobile satellite service licence application procedure, Client Procedures Circular 2-6-06 (CPC-2-6-06), Guidelines for the Submission of Applications to Provide Mobile Satellite Services in Canada and to License Subscriber Earth Stations. Once available, it will be posted on the Industry Canada Web site.

Inquiries about the policy provisions found in this document may be addressed to the Spectrum and Radio Services Directorate, Telecommunications Policy Branch, 300 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0C8.

Issued under the authority
of the Radiocommunication Act

Michael Helm
Director General
Telecommunications Policy Branch


Revision to SP 1-20 GHz

Annex 1

Spectrum and Licensing Policy Provisions for the Band 1427-1525 MHz


1.0 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.

2.0 Fixed Service use:

1427-1430 MHz Multipoint Communication Systems (Narrowband MCS (N-MCS))
1493.5-1496.5 MHz Multipoint Communication Systems (Narrowband MCS (N-MCS))
1427-1452 MHz Multipoint Communication Systems (Subscriber Radio Systems (SRS))
1492-1517 MHz Multipoint Communication Systems (Subscriber Radio Systems (SRS))

3.0 Existing fixed stations operating according to policies and standards in place in 1993 may continue to operate subject to the 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 (DRB) as part of the allotment plan in the band 1452-1492 MHz. Existing point-to-point fixed stations are non-standard in the bands 1427-1452 MHz and 1492- 1517 MHz.

4.0 Subscriber Radio Systems (SRS) in the Bands 1427-1452 MHz and 1492-1517 MHz

4.1 Subscriber Radio Systems shall be assigned frequencies in the bands 1427-1452 MHz and 1492-1517 MHz.

4.2 The use of SRS in 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, specifically with respect to digital radio broadcasting (1452-1492 MHz).

4.3 The development of SRS stations may be limited by existing aeronautical mobile (telemetry) operations along the Canada/U.S. border.

5.0 Narrowband Multipoint Communication Systems (N-MCS) in the Bands 1427-1430 and 1493.5-1496.5 MHz

5.1 N-MCS will be limited to fixed telemetry applications such as automatic meter reading systems.

5.2 The spectrum will be assigned on an FCFS basis, for a maximum of 1 MHz per licensee according to the frequency block plan below:

Block A: 1427 - 1428 MHz
Block B: 1428 - 1429 MHz
Block C: 1429 - 1430 MHz
Block D: 1493.5 - 1494.5 MHz
Block E: 1494.5 - 1495.5 MHz
Block F: 1495.5 - 1496.5 MHz

Note: Other frequency plans may also be incorporated in the Standard Radio System Plan (SRSP) for this spectrum.

5.3 A frequency block will be assigned only once within a geographical area.

5.4 Licensees will be limited to 1 MHz of spectrum in a given area.

5.5 Licensees will be permitted to use any channel arrangement within the assigned block.

5.6 Point-to-point fixed service links are also permitted on a limited basis in this band. Such use should be complementary or incidental to the deployment of multipoint systems. Point-topoint links in a hub configuration are also permitted.

6.0 The use of the frequency bands 1427-1430 MHz and 1493.5-1496.5 MHz will be shared on a geographical basis between SRS and N-MCS systems. Access to this spectrum will be managed on a regional basis, and preference will normally be given to N-MCS implementations within urban areas. Outside of urban areas, access to the spectrum will continue to 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 N-MCS.

7.0 N-MCS and SRS operators shall co-ordinate their facilities.

1 An approved Canadian MSS service provider is a service provider that has been issued an approval in principle to use radio spectrum for the provision of mobile satellite services in Canada pursuant to an application submitted in accordance with Client Procedures Circular 2-6-06 (CPC-2-6-06), Guidelines for the Submission of Applications to Provide Mobile Satellite Services in Canada and to License Subscriber Earth Stations.


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