SP 3-30 — Revisions to Spectrum Utilization Policies in the 3–30 GHz Frequency Range and Further Consultation
6.5.1 Licence-exempt Applications at 57 GHz
In January 2001, the Department announced the release of a spectrum utilization policy (Gazette Notice, DGTP-001-01) for the introduction of new licence-exempt wireless devices in the frequency bands 46.7–46.9 GHz, 57–64 GHz and 76–77 GHz. The band 59–64 GHz was designated for use by licence-exempt devices to accommodate a variety of short range high-capacity wireless communication devices for the delivery of multimedia applications.
In the consultation that preceded the release of the utilization policy for licence-exempt devices in the band 59–64 GHz, the Department solicited comments on proposals for the bands 57–59 GHz and 64–66 GHz. At the time, most respondents preferred to defer comments on technical rules, future services and applications for these bands. Based on the response to the consultation, the Department deferred decisions on the introduction of LE devices in the 57–59 GHz band. Since that time the FCC adopted technical rules for the use of the band 57–59 GHz by unlicensed devices, and the Department received representation from the Radio Advisory Board of Canada to adopt a similar designation and technical rules.
In the consultation the Department therefore proposed the adoption of rules to allow licence-exempt devices in the band, noting that several European administrations had adopted technical rules and channel plans for the band for licensed applications. It was further noted that while the use of the band by licence-exempt devices does not necessarily preclude the introduction of licensed services, it may make sharing difficult.
Comments generally supported the proposal for licence-exempt devices, and there were no representations made about licensable applications. Recognizing the value of harmonizing spectrum use with other countries particularly for applications which involve consumer devices, the Department is adopting a designation in the band 57–59 GHz for use by licence-exempt devices on the basis that such devices cannot claim protection from other radio systems and cannot cause interference into licensed radio services. As a baseline, the technical requirements should align with those adopted by the FCC for the operation of such devices. Details of the technical requirements for certification and operation will be developed by Industry Canada in consultation with interested parties in an industry forum, and the results incorporated in an appropriate Radio Standards Specification.
The Department is adopting a designation in the band 57–59 GHz for use by licence-exempt devices on the basis that such devices cannot claim protection from other radio systems and cannot cause interference into licensed radio services. The technical requirements for certification and operation will be developed by Industry Canada in consultation with interested parties in an industry forum, and the results incorporated in an appropriate Radio Standards Specification.
6.5.2 Licence-exempt Applications at 90 GHz
In the consultation it was anticipated that the band 92–95 GHz would provide good transmission range for very high-capacity last-mile access applications and computer to computer communications. The Department sought comments on the type of applications which would require access to this spectrum and the time frame for that requirement, the amount of spectrum which would be required and whether portions of the spectrum should be made available on a licensed basis rather than a licence-exempt basis. Very little comment was received on the band and there were no representations made about licensable applications. The Department notes the recent Report and Order issued by the FCC (FCC 03-248) which establishes rules to permit unlicensed indoor use of the band 92–95 GHz on the basis of existing regulations for the band 57–64 GHz.
Recognizing the value of harmonizing spectrum use particularly for applications which involve consumer devices:
The Department is adopting a designation in the band 92–94 GHz and 94.1–95 GHz for indoor use by licence-exempt devices on the basis that such devices cannot claim protection from other radio systems and cannot cause interference into licensed radio services. The technical requirements for certification and operation will be developed by Industry Canada, and based on current rules adopted for the band 57–64 GHz, in consultation with interested parties in an industry forum, and the results incorporated in an appropriate Radio Standards Specification.
The Department also notes that in the same proceeding in the US, (FCC 3-248) the bands at 71–76 GHz, 81–86 GHz and 92–95 GHz have been made available for licensed use of fixed services. The licenses are intended to be awarded as non-exclusive and nationwide with rights to access the entire 12.9 GHz of spectrum. Individual station rights would be established by the date and time registration kept in a database. Noting that the allocation changes to these bands which were adopted by the WRC-00 will be treated in a separate review of the Canadian Table, the Department would like to initiate consideration of these bands for similar fixed service applications.
The Department seeks comment on the framework, including technical and operational rules which would be required to open the bands 71-76 GHz 81–86 GHz and 92–95 GHz for fixed service operation on a licensed, non-exclusive basis.
- What are the technical and operational limits which should be established to facilitate co-existence:
- among licensees within the fixed service
- with future implementations of co-primary services (FSS, BSS and MS services as applicable)
- What are the characteristics, data elements and access requirements for a database which could establish rights within an area based on date and time registration?
- Are there propagation models which could be readily incorporated to develop interference contours and increase sharing efficiencies?
A comment period of three months from the release of this document will apply.
6.5.3 Licence-exempt Applications at 24.05–24.25 GHz
The band 24.05–24.25 GHz is currently allocated to the radiolocation service on a primary basis and to the amateur service and Earth exploration-satellite service (active) on a secondary basis in the Canadian Table. This band has a designation for use by industrial, scientific, and medical equipment. The lower adjacent band 24.00–B24.05 GHz is allocated on a primary basis to amateur and amateur-satellite services and the upper adjacent band 24.25–24.45 GHz has recently been authorized for fixed service applications. For a number of years, the band 24.05–24.25 GHz has been available for licence-exempt devices including field disturbance sensors which are permitted to operate at field strengths up to 2500 mV/m in the band 24.075–24.175 GHz.
In the consultation paper, the Department requested comments on new service applications which could be introduced in the band 24.05–24.25 GHz. Respondents expressed little interest in the specific proposal that was made. Some respondents expressed concerns regarding sharing with the secondary allocation for the amateur service. Also, a submission was received from one manufacturer on designating this band for licence-exempt transmission links to align with the US market. The Federal Communications Commission issued a Report and Order (FCC 01-357) in December 2001 amending Part 15 Rules to allow the operation of fixed point-to-point transmitters in the band 24.05–24.25 GHz at field strengths of up to 2500 mV/m (average field strength values measured at 3 meters). The Rules state that transmitters operating at these power levels are required to use highly directional antennas with gains of at least 33 dBi or a main lobe beamwidth (half power points) not exceeding 3.5 degrees to minimize the occurrence of harmful interference to other services in the band. The Rules are intended to allow the operation of licence-exempt point-to-point transmitters thus allowing for a variety of innovative products and applications in the band.
The Department was urged in the consultation process to consider harmonizing the band 24.05–24.25 GHz for licence-exempt transmission links and set technical standards under Radio Standards Specification 210 (RSS-210). It is important to harmonise the spectrum policy and technical requirements to operate in a regional and global marketplace in order to ensure maximum benefit to Canadians and so that products achieve economies of scale. As well, it is important to encourage the development of innovative radio communications which may further the governments' connectedness agenda.
The Department concluded that opening the band 24.05–24.25 GHz could provide the opportunity for a range of point-to-point transmission facilities to support local broadband distribution and network applications. The decision to make a designation of spectrum in the band 24.05–24.25 GHz to accommodate licence-exempt fixed point-to-point transmission links using highly directional antennas was announced in Notice No. DGTP-005-03 — Spectrum Designation to Accommodate Licence-Exempt Fixed Point-to-Point Transmission Links in the Band 24.05–24.25 GHz.
6.5.4 Licence-exempt Applications at 21.2–23.0 GHz
In developing the provisions for the introduction of licence-exempt applications in the band 24.05–24.25 GHz, the Department noted that the band was adjacent to the lower half of a band recently licensed for fixed service applications (24.25–24.45 GHz paired with 25.05–25.25 GHz). It had been indicated that this would be interesting to operators wishing to implement licence-exempt links, initially within an area, taking advantage of the ability to rapidly deploy without the delays typically associated with obtaining a licence. Once network requirements developed to the point where the protection afforded by operating in licensed spectrum was required, the radio could readily be retuned to the licensed spectrum. This has been seen as a means to facilitate the best of both worlds in developing a network. Since that time the Department has become interested in exploring the possibility of facilitating such operation in other bands (i.e. opening a portion of the spectrum within a traditionally licensed fixed service band for license-exempt operation). Systems could be readily retuned to operate in the licensed band by selecting another channel, once authorization for licensed operation had been attained.
In reviewing the bands, the spectrum between 21.2–23.0 GHz looks sufficiently interesting, that the Department is seeking comment on the possibilities at this time.
Currently the 23 GHz plan is divided into three band plans. The first is spectrum which is designated for point-to-point operation in 21.8–22.4 GHz paired with 23-23.6 GHz, and is currently open for licensing. The second is spectrum which is designated for point-to-multipoint operation in 21.2–21.6 GHz paired with 22.4–22.8 GHz, this band has been listed as requiring a future competitive process in order for that band to be opened. The third is spectrum which is designated as reserved in 21.6-21.8 GHz paired with 22.8–23.0 GHz.
The Department is seeking comment on the level of interest in opening a portion of this spectrum for license-exempt operation.
- Would spectrum within the point-to-point designation or the point-to-multipoint designation be more appropriate?
- What technical rules would be required to facilitate co-existence with fixed services as well as other co-primary allocated services in the band?
- How would cross-border interference/coordination be managed with the US?
(One possibility would be to only authorize entities capable of becoming radiocommunication carriers to operate license-exempt equipment in the band. Rules could then be established which would avoid the possibility of cross-border interference).
A comment period of three months from the release of this document will apply.
In October 1999, Industry Canada released a Spectrum Utilization Policy, entitled Amendments to the Microwave Spectrum Policies in the 1–3 GHz Frequency Range (SP 1-3 GHz) in which it designated the band 2025–2110 MHz, on a shared geographical basis, for TV-pickups and point-to-point fixed systems. Since that time, industry has identified a need for TV-pickup operations from airborne platforms transmitting to receivers on the ground. Anticipating that coexistence with the fixed service systems would be difficult due to the large area over which these systems would operate, the Department sought comment on whether suitable additional spectrum for these applications could be found in the existing video distribution band at 8275–8500 MHz or the current TV pick-up band 6930–7125 MHz and whether these applications could share with LE devices.
Comment on the band 8275–8500 MHz from both the RABC and the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) expressed concern for the existing TV distribution systems, and cited a lack of equipment for the band that would not likely be remedied for a Canadian only market.
Comments on the band 6930–7125 MHz cited congestion of current TV pick-up use in the major markets as an impediment to the introduction of operations from airborne platforms. The Department does not agree with these observations since it would be possible for individual broadcasters operating TV pick-ups to decide whether to use a channel in a terrestrial or airborne mode, or both, at any particular time. Further, congestion for these applications is compounded by the slow development and acceptance of digital equipment.However, more sympathy is extended to the argument submitted on behalf of NGSO MSS feeder link operation in the space-to-Earth direction (receiving earth terminals) which could potentially receive interference airborne operation over large distances.
There was no support in the comments for these applications to be accommodated in LE spectrum.
The Department will not make designations for TV pick-ups operating from airborne platforms at this time.
The frequency range 31.8-33.4 GHz has primary allocations to the radionavigation, space research (space-to-Earth) (deep space) and the inter-satellite services. WRC-00 dealt with the allocation to the FS at 31.8–33.4 GHz, and as a result, the band was identified as available for high-density fixed service (HDFS) in footnote 5.547. It was noted in the consultation that this band is one of very few bands allocated internationally and in all regions that the fixed service does not share on a co-primary basis with the fixed-satellite service. It would therefore be well suited for HDFS applications including both point-to-point and point-to-multipoint configurations.
It is generally accepted that it is preferable for HDFS implementations to have access to spectrum blocks within a geographic service area rather than site by site authorization. This band therefore fits the general rule for situations where the Department foresees using a competitive licensing process (where there is, or could be excess spectrum demand relative to supply).
Comment was requested on possible applications which would make use of this spectrum and the anticipated time frame in which this spectrum would be required.
While there was some support expressed for opening this spectrum for applications such as those currently being implemented in Europe, others advocated delaying the designation of applications until there is a clearer picture of the requirements.
The Department tends to agree with the latter, noting the amount of spectrum above 20 GHz that is currently available for fixed applications.
The Department will make the band 31.8–33.4 GHz available for HDFS with the precise definition of applications in a future policy and licensing framework consultation.
Although not discussed in the consultation, comments were received relating to several aspects of domestic footnote C44. The first is the submission by Telesat anticipating that the 24.75–25.25 GHz band might be used for other signals associated with the BSS in addition to the feeder link signals, in other words, innovative services requiring a degree of interactivity which could involve transmissions from ubiquitous earth stations.
Telesat therefore proposed a modification to the first sentence to read:
“The use of the fixed-satellite service (Earth-to-space) in the band 24.75–25.25 GHz is limited to feeder links to broadcasting-satellite space stations, or to other digital carriers in the fixed-satellite service that are associated with the broadcasting-satellite service, operating in the band 17.3–17.8 GHz.”
The second proposal from Telesat was to urge the Department neither to award any additional fixed service licences in the 24.75–25.25 GHz band, nor to re-allocate any forfeited fixed service licences in the 24.75–25.25 GHz band on the basis that that substantial limitations will be imposed on where feeder link stations may be located, particularly since the fixed service is licensed on an area basis, for ubiquitous FS deployments.
The Department notes that both these comments pertain to the entire 500 MHz allocated for FSS use in the band 24.75–25.25 GHz whereas the restrictions placed on the FSS with respect to the fixed service in FN C44 is for 200 MHz in the band 25.05–25.35 GHz.
There remains 300 MHz of spectrum from 24.75–25.05 MHz for which there is no fixed service allocation. The determination to partition the spectrum in this manner was made in the original policy and licensing framework for services in this band prior to the auction of this spectrum. The restriction of FSS use to feeder links for the BSS remains an issue since it does not include allowances for ubiquitous deployments, however it is beyond the immediate scope of this consultation and should be dealt with in a future consultation related to the provision and licensing of BSS services.
The third issue raised by the RABC was a proposal to align C44 with the intent of the FCC footnote NG167 which restricts the FSS use of the band 24.75–25.25 GHz to feeder links for BSS operating at 17.3–17.7 GHz, rather than prescribe the use of 25 GHz for feeder links for BSS operating at 17.3–17.8GHz as in C44.
While NG167 apparently allows BSS at 17 GHz to use spectrum other than 25 GHz for feeder inks, the band at 25 GHz is still restricted to use for BSS at 17 GHz. It is also noted that in the US domestic table there is no allocation for FSS in the Earth-to-space direction in the band 17.9–18.4 GHz so the point appears to be moot since the choices for feeder link spectrum for BSS are even more restricted.
Canadian Domestic Footnote:
US Domestic Footnote:
While it was not raised in the 3-30 GHz consultation itself, the Department will address footnote C44 in a future consultation relating to the provision and licensing of BSS services.
In May 1999 the Policy and Licensing Procedures for the Auction of the 24 and 38 GHz Frequency Bands, (DGRB-003-99/DGTP-005-99) was released to facilitate the timely and orderly implementation of broadband wireless telecommunications in Canada. Among the various policy provisions, the document established a spectrum cap (or spectrum aggregation limit) to foster competition in the provision of broadband facilities and services. The Department concluded that certain spectrum limits were required to stimulate competition and consequently provide the possibility for new broadband services.
In the Framework for Spectrum Auctions in Canada publication, the Department expressed that when multiple licences in a given geographic area are auctioned, and can be used to provide closely substitutable services, limits on the amount of spectrum that any single bidder is allowed to acquire may be required to ensure competitive markets. Moreover, the Department established that, “aggregation limits may be imposed in the following circumstances:
- a bidder that acquires an amount of spectrum beyond a certain level would not face effective competition from providers of closely substitutable services provided by firms that use infrastructure other than the spectrum being auctioned; and
- the anti-competitive effects arising from the acquisition of an amount of spectrum beyond a certain level by a single bidder would not be offset by lower costs or higher valued services resulting from having a single entity hold this amount of spectrum.”
The Department established the spectrum cap as follows:
- In a given service area, any entity (and its affiliates) other than an incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC), whose local exchange area overlaps that area, may hold up to 1000 MHz in spectrum licences in the Local Multipoint Communication Systems (LMCS) 28 GHz band OR up to 600 MHz in spectrum licences in the LMCS 28 GHz band and the 24 or 38 GHz bands; and,
- An ILEC (and its affiliates) in an area which is overlapped by its local exchange area, may hold up to 200 MHz in spectrum licences in the LMCS 28 GHz band OR up to 200 MHz in spectrum licences in the LMCS 28 GHz band and the 24 GHz or 38 GHz bands.
Refer to Sections 2.3.5 of the Policy and Licensing Procedures for the Auction of the 24 and 38 GHz Frequency Bands (DGRB-003-99/DGTP-005-99) for further information.
The policy stated that these broadband spectrum cap limits would be reviewed when a subsequent licensing process was announced for other wireless broadband spectrum or three years following the close of the auction, whichever came first. Moreover, depending on the degree to which competition had developed in the local broadband services marketplace, as evidenced by factors such as the concentration of market shares or the availability of choice of local broadband services, the Department could modify or remove the established limits.
Three years have passed since the establishment of the spectrum cap. The Department had anticipated that with a diversity of service providers, resulting from the 1999 auction, Canadians would be well served with new broadband services. Unfortunately, the roll-out of wireless broadband facilities using these spectrum resources have been minimal. Moreover, the LMCS 28 GHz spectrum (1000 MHz) has been returned to the Department.
In light of the present limited use of the spectrum in the bands 24, 288 and 38 GHz and the recent addition of spectrum available for the purpose of broadband internet access and local distribution (i.e. at 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz and 3.5 GHz), the Department deems there to be ample spectrum availabile for the provision of such services. Furthermore, the Department recognizes that a number of other technologies are also available for the delivery of similar services. The Department is of the view that there now exists an opportunity for competition and delivery of a choice of services and that the spectrum cap is no longer required.
The Department seeks comments, with supporting rationale, on the proposal to rescind the spectrum cap for the bands 24, 28 and 38 GHz.
A comment period of three months from the release of this document will apply.
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