SP 1-20 GHz — Proposals to Provide New Opportunities for the Use of the Radio Spectrum in the 1–20 GHz Frequency Range

3.0 Spectrum Utilization Policy Proposals and Policy Decisions

3.1 1427–1452 MHz and 1492–1517 MHz

Interest has been expressed to Industry Canada to permit the operation of MCS networks in this frequency range. Certain companies propose to implement narrow band MCS networks to provide, or access, data from a large number of locations. One example is wireless meter reading systems that require a frequency band of approximately 1 MHz to support the full deployment of the network in urban areas. The Department has conducted technical studies on the feasibility of narrow band MCS systems sharing spectrum with Subscriber Radio Systems (SRS). The results of this work indicate that coordination distances of approximately 70-90 km are required between the central (hub) stations of these systems. Actual separation distances may be considerably less due to terrain blockage and the use of interference mitigation measures.

The Department believes that sharing spectrum is possible given the reasonable separation distances, the urban nature of narrow band MCS applications such as the wireless meter reading systems verses the rural nature of the SRS, and the relatively small amount of spectrum that is required. Consequently, the Department is seeking views on the following spectrum policy utilization proposal:

  1. In addition to subscriber radio systems, narrow band multipoint communication systems are permitted in frequency bands 1427–1430 MHz.
  2. The spectrum for narrow band MCS applications will be assigned on a block area basis.
  3. The MCS and SRS operators shall coordinate their facilities on a co-equal basis.

    In addition to the above proposal, the Department invites responses to the following questions:
  4. Is there a requirement for additional narrow band MCS spectrum, in a separate sub-band, for radio technologies that require separate go and return spectrum?
  5. Given the need to provide sufficient spectrum for two or more narrow band MCS applications in the same area, what is the appropriate frequency block size?

3.2 1700–2010 MHz

With release of SP 1-20 GHz, the frequency band 1700–1850 MHz was identified as the new 'Lower 2' band, and the policy provisions of this band were designed to accommodate microwave stations that were subject to displacement as a result of the introduction of Personal Communications Services (PCS) in Canada. Furthermore, the new SRSP for this band has introduced a frequency grid structure which provides for a diversity of equipment and system configuration.

Further to the release of SP 1-20 GHz, the RABC suggested an amendment to band plan to accommodate very low capacity (VLC1) links. The sub-bands identified for VLC links are 1710–1720 MHz and 1785–1795 MHz. Service providers have indicated that this frequency range offers good propagation characteristics, particularly for rural and remote applications requiring long hops. In addition, they have noted a shortage of spectrum for VLC links in this frequency range.

The Department supports the need to accommodate VLC links in the band 1700–1850 MHz. Interested parties are invited to comment on the proposal to license VLC links in the bands 1710–1720 MHz and 1785–1795 MHz.

3.3 2010–2690 MHz

3.3.1 Mobile Satellite Service

At the 1995 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-95), changes were made to the allocations at 2 GHz for the mobile satellite service including the advancement of the date of entry into force of the mobile satellite allocation. The decision adopted by the Conference was an advancement of the date from the year 2005 to 2000. The impetus for this change was driven by countries supporting commercial interests for an earlier implementation of the mobile satellite service (MSS).

Also, a modification to the frequency allocations was made for the ITU Region 2 (the Americas) by removing the regional allocation for MSS from the band 1970–1980 MHz and replacing it with 2010–2025 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 Table of Frequency Allocations of the ITU that requires the mobile satellite service to not constrain the development of mobile systems in the band 1980–1990 MHz. This is intended to enable the future deployment of personal communications services. These changes of frequency allocations were proposed for domestic implementation through the Revisions to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations (DGTP-003-97) issued in February, 1997.

As sharing between fixed and mobile satellite systems is marginal, the available spectrum for fixed systems in bands 2010–2110 MHz and 2200–2300 MHz band is impacted. The Department is of the view that it is important to cease licensing new fixed systems in the band 2010–2025 MHz to prevent undue hardship during the licensing of MSS in this spectrum. A similar provision was introduced in the 1-20 GHz policy in January 1995 for the spectrum 1990–2010 MHz and 2110–2200 MHz. Consequently, Industry Canada is making the following policy provision:

Effective immediately, a moratorium exists on the licensing of new fixed microwave stations in the 2010–2025 MHz band. Modifications to and/or extensions of existing systems may be permitted on a case-by-case basis.

The mobile satellite service will be accommodated in the 1990–2025 MHz and 2160–2200 MHz bands. The revision to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations, planned for release in the third quarter of 1997, will incorporate this change. It is anticipated that during the next several years the Department will receive applications from MSS providers to develop geostationary orbit (GSO) and/or non- GSO MSS networks which use this spectrum. Consequently, policy provisions governing the transition of existing microwave stations will have to be developed including the necessary technical criteria to identify interference potential. The Department is seeking views from interested parties on the transition policy provisions, including the following aspects:

  1. Given the broad coverage of a MSS system, what is considered a reasonable notification period for the affected microwave systems?
  2. At what point in the licensing process of MSS system(s) should notification be given to the affected microwave systems?
  3. Under what conditions could microwave systems in the MSS bands continue to operate?
  4. Regarding the transition process, what should be the roles and responsibilities of mobile satellite operators, operators of the affected fixed stations and Industry Canada in it's oversight function?
  5. What is the earliest date by which fixed station assignments would be subject to displacement by the process discussed in the above questions?

3.3.2 Modified Fixed Service Bands

As a consequence of the decision to place a moratorium in the band 2010–2025 MHz the existing band plan for fixed microwave systems should be modified. The existing band plan identified two 100 MHz bands, 2010–2110 MHz and 2200–2300 MHz for use by medium capacity, point-to-point, radio relay systems. As a result of the moratorium, the lower band is now reduced to 85 MHz. The recently developed SRSP for this band specifies a required channel bandwidth of 10 MHz for medium capacity systems. Therefore the 85 MHz in the lower band could accommodate 8 channel pairs. These circumstances suggest that the band plan could be modified to provide two 80 MHz bands for medium capacity point-to-point systems, leaving 25 MHz for other uses.

Taking into account the MSS spectrum requirements as described in the previous section, the Department is seeking comments on the following proposal to amend the band plan for point-to-point fixed systems in 2010–2300 MHz range:

  1. The following paired bands are designated for point-to-point fixed systems (medium capacity): 2025–2105 MHz
    2200–2280 MHz
  2. Existing fixed systems in the band 2010–2110 MHz and 2200–2300 MHz will be grandfathered2 as standard systems, provided they meet the current provisions of SRSP-302.0.
  3. No new fixed microwave assignments for point-to-point systems will be authorized in the bands 2105–2110 MHz and 2280–2300 MHz. (See sub-sections 3.3.3 and 3.3.4 for proposed use).

3.3.3 TV-Pickups

Television broadcasters have indicated a need to find additional spectrum for TV-pickups. This is a growth area of microwave applications with new digital equipment becoming available and new demands emerging particularly in sporting events and conventions. The existing 3 channels designated for TV-pickups in the 2400 MHz band are not enough capacity to support the current demand. In the U.S., broadcasters use the spectrum in the band 1910–2110 MHz3. Canadian broadcasters would also like access to part of this spectrum to meet their TV-pickup requirements and to take advantage of readily available equipment.

The Department recognizes the need for additional spectrum for TV-pickups in this frequency range. SP 1-20 GHz designated the bands 2400–2483.5 MHz and 2500–2690 MHz to TV-pickups on a shared basis with other fixed service applications and radio services. The 2500–2690 MHz band is also designated to MCS and multipoint distribution systems (MDS) applications. Until recently there has been little interest to develop MCS or MDS in these bands. However, advances in digital video compression have opened new business opportunities for MCS and MDS services. Consequently, the Department expects that this spectrum will be well occupied by new MCS and MDS systems leaving little opportunity for use by broadcasters for TV-pickup applications.

The Department is seeking comments on the use of the 2025–2130 MHz band by TV-pickups. Interested parties are asked to address the issues related to this proposal including the following:

  1. Methods and criteria for successful coordination of TV-pickups and the point-to-point microwave systems. (Note: See sub-section 3.3.4 for additional services proposed in the 2105–2130 MHz band.)
  2. The spectrum requirements for TV-pickups in urban areas.
  3. Expected technology advances in TV-pickup equipment that would minimize interference and lead to more efficient use of the spectrum.
  4. Any potential impact on a future requirement to deploy mobile systems, for example IMT-2000 (FPLMTS).

3.3.4 Subscriber Radio and Point-to-Point Systems in the 2.3 and 2.5 GHz bands

With the release of SP 1-20 GHz, the Department made provisions for point-to-point (low capacity) and subscriber radio systems (SRS) in the 2290–2360 MHz and 2520–2590 MHz bands. This decision was based on the need to identify additional spectrum for SRS and low capacity systems in the 2 GHz frequency range. The introduction of Personal Communications Services (PCS) in the 1850–1990 MHz band and the Digital Radio Broadcasting (DRB) service in the 1452–1492 MHz band reduced the available spectrum for SRS and low capacity microwave systems. Consequently, after extensive public consultation prior to the release of SP 1-20 GHz, the Department designated 70+70 MHz for these services, in the bands 2290–2360 MHz and 2520–2590 MHz.

Since the release of SP 1-20 GHz, two major events have occurred that impact the 2.3 and 2.5 GHz bands:

  1. The band 2500–2596 MHz is also designated for use by multipoint communications systems (MCS). Until recently this band has generated little interest from Canadian service providers. There are 16 channels (6 MHz bandwidth) available and systems are currently licensed on a site-by-site basis. With advances in digital compression technology and subsequent availability of cost-effective equipment, service providers are expressing a strong demand for the use of this spectrum for a variety of applications.
  2. The United States have recently licensed two satellite operators to provide Digital Audio Radio Service by satellite (satellite DARS) in the frequency band 2320–2345 MHz. They plan to use two geostationary satellites to deliver audio broadcasting services to receivers in vehicles, homes and elsewhere in the United States. It is expected that power flux density levels from these satellites could result in some constraints to the operation of SRS and point-to-point microwave systems, particularly those close to the border. The extent of the impact of the satellite DARS signals in Canada is currently being discussed between the Canadian and U.S. administrations.

    In order to provide access to spectrum in this frequency range for new subscriber radio systems, and taking into account the above factors, Industry Canada has developed the following proposal for public comment:

    1. The paired frequency bands 2105–2130 MHz and 2280–2305 MHz be made available for use by subscriber radio systems. As per sub-section 3.3.3, SRS would share the band 2105–2130 MHz with TV-pickups. Given that SRS is typically deployed in rural areas, comments are requested on the feasibility of SRS and TV-pickups sharing this spectrum.
    2. The paired frequency bands 2290–2360 MHz and 2520–2590 MHz continue to be available for low capacity, point-to-point systems and subscriber radio systems.
    3. Existing fixed systems in the bands 2105–2130 MHz and 2280–2305 MHz would be permitted to continue to operate as standard systems. In addition, comments are requested on the following related matters:
    4. What is the estimated demand for SRS and low capacity point-topoint systems in this frequency range?
    5. Should types of MCS applications other than SRS be permitted in the 2105–2130 MHz and 2280–2305 MHz bands?
    6. The potential of spectrum sharing between SRS and future mobile radio systems, for example IMT-2000 (FPLMTS)?
    7. What is the flexibility of coordination of MCS, SRS and point-to-point systems?

3.4 3400–4200 MHz

The Department has received indications from telecommunications service providers and equipment manufacturers that there is a demand for fixed wireless access (FWA)4 facilities in the frequency band 3400–3700 MHz. Wireless point-to-point and multipoint systems may offer an economical means to provide telephony and data services to business and residential customers located in rural areas. Also, it may provide local wireless distribution facilities in urban areas. At this point, there are opportunities for telecommunication service providers to use spectrum in the band 3 400-3 700 MHz for FWA systems as this spectrum has currently a small number of existing systems.

Under Gazette Notice DGTP-003-97 dealing with revisions to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations, the Department asked interested parties to comment on a proposal for a primary allocation to the fixed service in the band 3400–3500 MHz for applications such as FWA. (Note: the fixed service is currently allocated on a primary basis in the band 3500–3700 MHz.) In addition, a footnote (C15) was proposed to indicate that the radiolocation service (radars) has priority over the fixed service and, as a consequence, the deployment of fixed systems was subject to successful coordination with radar facilities. The proposal further noted that coexistence with radar stations in the United States, operating in parts of this band, would also need to be taken into consideration in the deployment of FWA facilities in Canada.

The comments received in response to the above proposals supported the additional use of the band 3400–3500 MHz by the fixed service. Therefore, Industry Canada is making the following policy provisions in the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations:

  1. The fixed service is allocated on a primary basis in the band 3400–3500 MHz.
  2. The use of the fixed service allocation in the 3400–3500 MHz band is subject to the following Canadian footnote:
    • C15 (CAN 97) In the band 3400–3500 MHz, in certain regions of Canada the radiolocation service has priority over the fixed service. Consequently, the deployment of fixed systems will be subject to successful coordination with radar facilities operated by the Government of Canada.

The above changes will be incorporated in the next revision of the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations.

The next step in accommodating FWA systems in the 3400–3700 MHz band is the development of spectrum utilization policy provisions which support a broad use of FWA systems, technologies and applications. It has been a long standing policy of the Government of Canada to promote reliable and affordable telecommunications services of high quality to rural regions of Canada. In this regard FWA systems could play an important role in upgrading rural local telecommunication systems, including the provisioning of single line telephone service and improved data communication capabilities. Therefore it is considered in the public interest that spectrum policy provisions support rapid deployment of FWA systems to provide a high level of rural telephone and data communication services.

The Department is seeking views on the introduction of FWA facilities in the 3400–3700 MHz band, taking into account certain service objectives such as improvements in rural telephony and data telecommunication services. The questions below were developed to act as guide on the key issues related to FWA in this band. Interested parties are invited to respond to these questions and to provide any other comments they feel are of importance to the use of this spectrum.

  1. FWA systems may be used to improve telecommunication services in rural areas. Should special policy provisions be introduced to ensure that there is adequate spectrum in the 3400–3700 MHz band for rapid implementation of FWA systems in rural areas? Comments are also invited on possible uses and spectrum requirements of FWA systems in urban areas.
  2. Taking into account the response to Question (a):
    1. Should frequency assignments of FWA systems be made on an area basis using paired spectrum blocks? If so, what is the recommended spectrum block size and transmit/receive spacing, taking into account the requirements of different FWA technologies? Also comments are requested on the size of the service areas to be licensed to a single operator.
    2. Should there be provisions to site licence individual FWA stations? If so, should the spectrum for site licensing be limited to 1 or 2 paired blocks?
    3. Should applicants be permitted to apply for multiple FWA paired blocks? Should there be a limit on the number of paired blocks granted to a single operator in a given area?
  3. For many years the band 3500–4200 MHz has been used almost exclusively for high capacity, long-haul, point-to-point microwave systems. In the 1980s and 1990s, a number of these systems were replaced by fibre optic facilities. However, in certain parts of Canada, microwave systems continue to serve as part of regional and trans-Canada transmission routes. Comments are requested on the spectrum requirements for high capacity microwave systems using channel assignments in the 3500–3700 MHz band. Should new point-topoint systems be permitted in this band? What should be the status of existing systems with regard to new FWA systems?
  4. Fixed Wireless Access systems are a subset, or single application, of the broader category of multipoint communication systems. Should MCS applications be limited to FWA systems, or should other types of MCS systems be permitted? If MCS applications in this band are to be limited to FWA systems, comments are invited on a suitable definition of Fixed Wireless Access systems.

3.5 5000–5850 MHz

The Department expects to release a separate public consultation on the use of certain bands in the range of 5000–5850 MHz for licence exempt, wireless data network applications in the near future.

3.6 6700–7025 MHz and 19.3-19.6 GHz

One of the objectives of Canada at WRC-95 was to seek the designation of suitable spectrum for feeder links for non-geostationary MSS networks. These designations for feeder links are made in the bands allocated to the fixed satellite service. Feeder links route the communications traffic between the satellites and earth stations used for the interconnection to the gateways of the public switched telephone network. MSS networks require only a few feeder link earth stations in any country.

A discussion paper was released in February 1997 (DGTP-003-97) which addressed the need to adopt the following new allocations and designations for non-GSO MSS feeder links:

5091–5250 MHz (Earth-to-space) and
6700–7075 MHz (space-to-Earth)

19.3-19.6 GHz (space-to-Earth) and
29.1-29.4 GHz (Earth-to-space)

A revision to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations is planned for release in the third quarter of 1997. The revised Table will accommodate these requirements and SP 1-20 GHz will be updated accordingly. Coordination of fixed service links and feeder link Earth stations will be required. The appropriate procedures and criteria will be included in the technical standards governing the affected bands (e.g. SRSP, RSP, etc.).

In order to assist the Department in developing coordination criteria, comments are invited on the following aspect:

  1. In order to facilitate the growth of fixed systems, what consideration should be given in locating non-GSO MSS feeder link earth stations?

3.7 10.7-11.7 GHz

It was brought to the attention of the Department during the preparation of the SRSP-310.7 that the provision for low capacity, point-to-point systems in the sub-bands 11.115-11.195 GHz and 11.605-11.685 GHz was preferable to the current provision for low capacity systems in SP 1-20 GHz. SP 1-20 GHz allows low capacity systems to use up to 80 MHz of spectrum in the band 10.95-11.45 GHz.

Industry Canada is seeking comments on the above adjustment to accommodate low capacity point-to-point systems in the 10.7-11.7 GHz band.

4.0 Conclusion

Based on the results of the public consultation initiated by this Notice on the proposed policy revisions and related questions, Industry Canada will enunciate a set of revisions to SP 1-20 GHz.

Annex 1

Summary of MCS Bands Available in Canada
MCS Band Current Use Comments
1427–1452 MHz and 1492–1517 MHz Subscriber Radio Systems Provide rural telephony
2500–2596 MHz MCS - One or two way voice, data and video applications Department has received a variety of applications and is considering approaches to licensing.
3400–3700 MHz MCS-fixed wireless access applications The Department is preparing a spectrum policy proposal to make the 3.4-3.7 GHz band available for FWA.
10.5-10.68 GHz MCS This band has been available for low capacity MCS applications for 15 years. It is also used by point-to-point systems.
12.7-13.25 GHz VHCM (Very High Capacity Microwave) VHCM systems are multichannel, hub-and-spoke, microwave systems used in urban areas by cable TV operators to transport the signal package to various points in the cable distribution plant.
18.14-18.58 GHz MCS This band was recently made available for use by MCS. Companies have expressed an interest however, equipment availability is a problem. Also this band is shared with other applications including VHCM systems.
18.58-19.26 GHz MCS Limited use by MCS systems to date. Considerable number of point-to-point systems in this band.


1 VLC systems are defined as systems carrying less than 1.544 Mbit/sec (DS-1) in a radio frequency channel.

2 Fixed systems in the 2010–2025 MHz band would be subject to the MSS transition policy provisions.

3 The FCC is considering a proposal to shift the broadcast TV-pickup band to 2025–2130 MHz.

4 FWA and SRS systems are considered similar MCS applications. For the purposes of this discussion paper, the term FWA will be used in Section 3.4.

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