Policy and Call for Applications — Wireless Personal Communications Services in the 2 GHz Range — Implementing PCS in Canada

7. Transition Policy

7.1 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 that:

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 that:

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 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 20 of the General Radio Regulations, Part II, which provides that the assignment of a radio frequency does not confer a monopoly on the use of the frequency or any right of continued tenure.

7.2 Policy provisions for PCS

As established by public consultation, there is strong support and interest for the implementation of PCS in the 2 GHz range. Also, the public comments received on DGTP-006-94 support, with some variations of certain aspects, the general direction and rules proposed for a transition mechanism to take into account the specific fixed stations that need to be displaced to make frequency spectrum available, where necessary, for the implementation of PCS.

Industry Canada has taken the following policy actions as a first step to accommodate the spectrum requirements of PCS and fixed services.

The Revision to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations (1994), announced in Gazette Notice DGTP-005-94 dated October 29, 1994, makes frequency allocations for the implementation of mobile service such as PCS. The new footnote C353 in the Canadian Table establishes the inter-service provisions for the fixed and mobile allocations in the band 1850–1990 MHz.

Industry Canada adopted a full Revision of the Microwave Spectrum Utilization Policies in the Range of 1-20 GHz with the publication of Gazette Notice DGTP-002-95 on January 21, 1995. These policies include the re-arrangement of fixed microwave bands at 2 GHz to enable the implementation of PCS service. Also, effective January 21, 1995, a moratorium has been placed in effect on any further licensing of new fixed microwave stations in the bands 1990–2010 MHz and 2110–2200 MHz, in order to facilitate, in due course, the introduction of emerging wireless communications, including future generations of personal communications. The microwave spectrum policies will assist existing microwave users to take advantage of the availability of frequencies in the modified fixed service bands at 2 GHz (outside the frequency spectrum designated for PCS and the bands identified in the above-mentioned moratorium) and in other suitable bands above 3 GHz.

As announced in Gazette Notice DGTP-006-94, Industry Canada has put a moratorium on the licensing of new fixed microwave applications in the band 1850–1990 MHz effective November 5, 1994.

7.3 Transition policy for PCS implementation

A Spectrum Transition Policy and the provisions being adopted in this section will provide for the release of frequency spectrum for PCS systems and the orderly displacement of fixed stations.

The following provisions of the Spectrum Transition Policy recognize the need to provide a reasonable period of notification for displacement of fixed stations and the need to introduce PCS in the marketplace in the earliest time frame. Moreover, the provisions outline a "where necessary" displacement approach which links the relocation of fixed stations to the PCS service implementation and spectrum requirements.

7.4 Transition provisions for licensed PCS

The following provisions apply to the displacement of fixed stations to provide spectrum for licensed PCS systems:

  1. Notification for displacement of specific frequency assignments of fixed stations to make spectrum, where necessary, available in certain geographical areas will begin to be served after PCS licences have been awarded. Industry Canada will issue a set of operating guidelines, in the near future, outlining the displacement process and the related spectrum sharing criteria for coordination.
  2. The displacement of frequency assignments of fixed stations and the date indicated in the notification will be based on the frequency spectrum necessary for the implementation of PCS. PCS operators will ensure that such displacements, including dates, are critical to meet the PCS service dates and that reasonable frequency spectrum alternatives do not exist.
  3. For any fixed frequency assignment subject to displacement, the notification period will be a minimum of 4 years for microwave equipment that has been licensed for 10 years or less at the time of the notification, with the exception of frequency assignments authorized to PCS licensees and their affiliates (as referred to earlier in this document), and the cellular carriers, in which case a minimum notification period of 2 years will apply. Frequency assignments for which the microwave equipment has been licensed for more than 10 years at the time of notification will be given a minimum notification period of 2 years. Earlier displacement may be achieved through mutual agreements between PCS operator(s) and the affected fixed station operator(s).
  4. The fixed station operator will cease the operation of the identified frequency assignment(s) on or before the displacement date indicated in the served notification. In accordance with footnote C35 in the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations, a fixed station licensee will not be required to displace frequency assignments before July 1, 1997.
  5. In the event a PCS operator identifies a need to defer a notified displacement date, an amendment to the notice of displacement should be issued at least 1 year prior to the displacement date in effect.
  6. The PCS and fixed service operators are encouraged to negotiate mutually acceptable displacement dates within the provisions of section c) above. Industry Canada will retain oversight of the displacement process and will assist, where appropriate, affected fixed operators in identifying new replacement frequency assignments.

Some PCS licensees may also be operators of fixed stations with frequency assignments in the band 1850–1990 MHz. Industry Canada may take certain necessary action, including the incorporation of specific PCS licence conditions addressing the displacement of such frequency assignments, in order to foster a level playing field amongst the licensed PCS operators and to make available the necessary spectrum. As an example, prior to providing service in a specific area, a PCS licensee may be required to cease operation of those of its fixed station frequency assignments that would prevent the timely introduction of the service in that area by other licensees. Also, it would be expected that existing fixed station operators will act in good faith to accommodate PCS.

It should be noted that a significant delay in the use of released frequency spectrum by PCS 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 PCS services is accomplished in the most efficient manner.

7.5 Development of transition provisions for licence exempt PCS devices

The implementation of licence exempt PCS devices can provide an opportunity to develop and implement new innovative services. The willingness of Canadian industry to actively develop an approach to encourage the release of frequency spectrum will be a strong indicator of the interest of Canadian industry to be more than importers but also manufacturers of PCS devices.

Initially there may be sufficient frequency spectrum unused in certain geographical areas in the frequency band 1910–1930 MHz to introduce non-nomadic licence exempt devices. ("Non-nomadic" refers to a device whose spectrum usage can be identified and controlled in a given area.) In some areas, it may be possible to coordinate the introduction of such devices with existing fixed stations.

The operation of nomadic licence exempt PCS devices may not be feasible until contiguous sub-bands of spectrum are made available country-wide.

Industry Canada believes that an industry organization should be established with a mandate to facilitate the orderly introduction of licence exempt PCS devices in Canada. Such an organization would be responsible for most aspects of the transition process including the following:

  • The development of recommendations to Industry Canada regarding the displacement of frequency assignments of fixed stations, across Canada or in specific areas, in accordance with a business plan and a set of transition rules. (The transition rules for licence exempt PCS will be established by Industry Canada).
  • The identification of specific sub-bands, and operating conditions, in populated areas where non-nomadic devices could operate without causing interference to fixed stations.

Industry Canada is currently seeking the view of industry on the structure and operating mandate of such an industry organization.

8. Interconnection Between Telecommunications Networks

It is expected that many services authorized pursuant to this policy will require interconnection to the public switched telephone network. The CRTC, and in Saskatchewan, the relevant provincial authority, are responsible for approving the terms and conditions of interconnection for access to the public switched telephone network.

Interconnection standards similar to IS-01 (interconnection of cellular radio systems and common carrier systems) will be required to facilitate the interconnection with public switched networks. The Terminal Attachment Program Advisory Committee (TAPAC) will be required to develop these standards.

There are also likely to be opportunities for interconnection between the facilities constructed for PCS and networks other than the public switched telephone network. Proposals which enhance communications capabilities while rationalizing infrastructure investment will be encouraged. As noted above, one means of effecting such rationalization may be through the use of resale, by either offering to resell capacity on the PCS facilities to be constructed or by arranging for the use of (some part of) existing facilities.

9. Selection and Licensing Process

Industry Canada anticipates, due to interest already expressed, that the demand for this spectrum will exceed that available. Consequently, a comparative selection and radio licensing process will be used to introduce PCS in Canada in the 2 GHz range. A general outline of the process is presented below. For a detailed description refer to the document entitled Industry Canada's Three-Phase Selection and Radio Licensing Process.

9.1 Three phase process

The first phase announces the process and requests expressions of interest from applicants. A list of all those who expressed interest is made available to the public as soon as possible after the filing date. This provides applicants with an opportunity to identify other interested parties and potentially to identify those with whom they may wish to form alliances.

In the second phase, detailed submissions are filed by applicants. During this phase, Industry Canada evaluates the submissions and reserves the right to request additional information for the clarification or resolution of issues arising from this evaluation. Any such requests would be made in writing to the applicants, with responses to be in writing. Contact with departmental officials concerning the merits of any submission will not be entertained during this phase of the process. This does not limit contact with departmental officials concerning the process in general or for other unrelated issues.

In the third phase, site specific radio licences are issued to the successful applicants upon request in accordance with Industry Canada's normal licensing procedures. Before the issuance of radio licences, and hence, authority to install and operate specific stations, electromagnetic compatibility and environmental issues including safety and land use matters, among other issues, are considered.

The goal of the process is to ensure the best radiocommunication services are made available for Canadians and that the services are developed and established in an orderly and timely fashion. To this end, and given the expressed views of interested parties advocating an expeditious process, the first and second phases of the process for PCS are being run concurrently. All potential applicants are strongly encouraged to participate in phase one and phase two. Should there be an insufficient number of meritorious applications, the resulting unallotted spectrum may be held in reserve for future use.

9.2 Submissions

Applicants should be familiar with the policy provisions outlined in the preceding sections, and use them as a guide in the preparation of their submissions. Applicants should demonstrate in their submissions what measures they will take to comply with the policy if successful in the licensing process. Submissions which are inconsistent with any element of the policy will be considered but applicants should provide reasons for any inconsistency.

Industry Canada recognizes that applicants may wish to apply for differing amounts of spectrum, based on an amalgamation of the frequency blocks, or different blocks of the same or different size in a certain order of preference. Given the differences in service and technical plans which would be required where differing amounts of spectrum are requested, separate submissions must be provided for each proposal. If, however, applicants have a preference regarding a certain specific frequency block over another of the same size (eg. Block A versus Block B), only one application would be required.

9.3 Public access to documents

Industry Canada recognizes that certain portions of the submissions may be considered confidential by an applicant. In these instances, an applicant must clearly identify the information they consider confidential and, if claiming confidentiality, must submit both a non-confidential and a confidential version of their submissions. Industry Canada will make the non-confidential submissions available for viewing for a period of one year after the completion of the second phase of the selection and licensing process at its libraries located at 365 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa and in its offices in Moncton, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver. During the same period, copies of the non-confidential submissions will be made available via a commercial printing service. Costs of duplication will be charged. After this period, arrangements for the viewing of the non-confidential submissions may be made through the office of the Director General, Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulatory Branch.

Applicants should be aware that information which they have identified as being confidential might still be subject to release upon request under the Access to Information Act and should refer to this Act. However, as a guide in determining whether information could be released pursuant to such a request, a list of some of the questions used as part of any review under the Access to Information Act is provided in Appendix B.

9.4 Phase one — expressions of interest

Expressions of interest for the implementation of PCS in Canada are to be filed with Industry Canada on or before July 17, 1995. By this date, applicants are to provide in writing sixteen (16) copies of their expressions of interest and one (1) electronic copy of their expression of interest. Should an applicant consider portions of their expressions of interest to be confidential, they are to provide in writing sixteen (16) copies of their confidential expressions of interest, eight (8) copies of their nonconfidential expressions of interest, and one (1) electronic copy of their confidential and non-confidential expression of interest. Applicants are requested to identify the wordprocessing and graphic software utilized.4 In the case of any discrepancies or questions with a submission, Industry Canada will consider the written version of the (confidential) expression of interest submitted by the applicant as the definitive text.

A list of those who applied, including their affiliates, and what was applied for will be made available to the public as soon as possible after the closing date for receipt of the expressions of interest.

Certain measures have been adopted in the policy which are intended to ensure fair and sustainable competition between established carriers and new PCS providers. Applicants should indicate whether additional measures, such as the delay of start-up of PCS mobile voice telephony-type services by successful applicants that are established carriers, would be desirable.

Industry Canada will review expressions of interest based on the criteria described below.

9.4.1 Frequency block

Applicants must indicate their preference for frequency block(s) and the order of preference.

9.4.2 Ownership and control

Applicants must provide a detailed description of their corporate ownership and control structure and provide an attestation that the applicant meets or will meet the provisions of section 16 of the Telecommunications Act and of the Canadian Telecommunications Common Carrier Ownership and Control Regulations. This should include copies of any agreements related to control in fact of the company, a list of the principals, affiliates and consortium members, if applicable, and their backgrounds. It should also include a description of the applicant's and, if applicable, the principals' corporate experience in the provision of telecommunications services or other related experience.

9.4.3 Current spectrum usage

Applicants must provide a summary of their current spectrum allotments for cellular radiotelephone and similar public high-mobility radiotelephony services, if applicable. In addition, applicants must provide the spectrum allotments to its affiliates and any other entity with which it has an operating and/or market arrangement for the provision of uniformly-branded or jointly-offered telecommunications services. To satisfy the policy concerning spectrum aggregation, applicants may wish, in their submission, to indicate their willingness to commit to divesting enough of their current spectrum allotments or assignments subsequent to authorization but prior to licensing to render themselves eligible to obtain and maintain a licence. Refer to section 6 for a detailed description of Industry Canada's policy on this matter.


3 C35 (CAN 94) Existing fixed stations operating in the band 1850–1990 MHz will have priority over the mobile service until 1 July 1997. After this date, specific fixed stations will need to be displaced where necessary to enable the implementation of new mobile systems such as personal communications. The displacement of fixed stations as well as the implementation of new mobile systems will be governed by spectrum utilization policies.

4 The electronic version must be in DOS format on a 3½" diskette, preferably using WordPerfect 5.1 or Microsoft Word 6.0. Graphic information should preferably be in one of the popular formats such as: WPG, PCX, BMP, TIFF, CDR, CGM, or WMF.

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