Archived—Multipoint Communications Systems in the 2500 MHz Range (MCS) — Policy and Licensing Procedures

5. Selection and Licensing Process

Industry Canada has noted that due to the amount of interest expressed for access to the MCS bands, demand for this spectrum greatly exceeds that available. Consequently, and as the Department advised in the Consultation Document, it has been decided that a comparative selection and licensing process will be used to authorize MCS at 2500 MHz in Canada, including the newly designated spectrum at 2150-2156 MHz and 2686-2688 MHz.

The goal of the process is to ensure that the best radiocommunication facilities and services are made available for Canadians and that the facilities and services are developed and established in an orderly, timely and efficient fashion.

As discussed in section 4.6.2, the existing systems in Manitoba already utilize much of the spectrum and requests for access to this band by others will be handled apart from this licensing process.

5.1 General Process

The general process and the different steps leading to the award of MCS licences are described below. The evaluation criteria and information requirements for this selection and licensing process are detailed in section 5.2.

Applicants should familiarize themselves with the policy provisions described in the preceding sections as well as with the evaluation criteria outlined in section 5.2, and should use them as a guide in the preparation of submissions to the Department. The information requested and the measures taken or to be taken – if successful in the licensing process – to conform to the policy should be clearly identified in the submissions. Submissions which are inconsistent with any element of this document will be considered; however, applicants seeking such consideration should provide supporting rationale for how such a deviation from the policy and procedures would be in the public interest.

Notwithstanding that applicants may wish to apply for more than one service area, separate submissions must be provided for each licensing area. Each submission will be considered individually and on a standalone basis.

Direct contact with Departmental officials concerning the merits of any submission will not be entertained during the selection and licensing process. This does not limit contact with Departmental officials concerning the process in general or for other unrelated issues.

All costs of submission including Expressions of Interest and Detailed Submissions, are and will remain the responsibility of the Applicant. The Minister accepts no liability for any or all costs and expenses incurred by Applicants in responding to this Policy and Licensing Process, or in connection with any meetings or interviews. Each Applicant who responds to this Policy and Licensing Process shall prepare and submit the required material at its own expense and with the express understanding that it cannot make any claim for reimbursement from the Government of Canada.

5.1.1 Expressions of Interest

Applicants may wish to file Expressions of Interest with the Department so that they may signal their interest to others, as well as to identify and contact those with whom they may wish to discuss or form alliances, for the purposes of making Detailed Submissions. A detailed list of all those filing Expressions of Interest will be made available to the public on the Industry Canada Internet site as soon as possible after the receipt of Expressions of Interest. Participation in this phase is not mandatory.

5.1.2 Detailed Submissions

Applicants are required to file stand alone Detailed Submissions for each service area with Industry Canada for evaluation based on the criteria described in section 5.2 of this document. Participation in this phase is mandatory.

Industry Canada reserves the right to request additional information for the clarification or resolution of issues arising from the evaluation of all submissions. Any such requests will be made in writing to the applicants, and responses from the applicants must be in writing.

The Department will analyze and evaluate all detailed submissions based on the criteria noted in section 5.2. This evaluation will then be used to formulate advice and recommendations to the Minister concerning the quality of the submissions, the service providers to be selected and licence conditions. The Minister ultimately decides how many licences will be issued, to whom and on what conditions, based on the contents of this document, the advice and recommendations of the Department and other factors deemed relevant. The Minister's decision will then be published.

If no Detailed Submissions are received for any given licensing area12 or should the Minister not select and authorize a licensee for a service area, applications will be accepted for the unassigned area on a first-come, first-served basis after the final announcement of the successful applicants by the Minister. Such applications will be required to comply with the same policy measures and the application will be reviewed against the same criteria used for the comparative licensing process.

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5.1.3 Public Input

For this licensing process, after all applications are received the Department will solicit public input to assist the Department in the evaluation of the Learning Plans submitted by the applicants (see section 5.2.3).

Learning plans and non-confidential detailed submissions will be posted on the Departmental Internet site in order to obtain comments from interested parties on the pertinence of the Learning Plans, and on whether the content and carriage aspects of these plans effectively meet the learning needs of the communities the applicants wish to serve. These comments will be considered by the Department in the evaluation of the learning component of the applications, as described in section 5.2.3. Comments on the Learning Plan should be received no later than November 19, 1999.

5.1.4 Licences

Once successful applicants are publicly announced, Learning Plans are formalized (as described in section 5.2.3) and licence fees are paid, they will receive a spectrum licence and be authorized to deploy their systems in the area(s) in which they were successful. Licences will have a 10 year term with a high expectancy of renewal at the end of the term. That is to say, the Department intends to generally renew licences for subsequent ten-year terms unless a breach of licence condition occurs, a fundamental reallocation of spectrum to a new service is required (e.g., a reallocation by the International Telecommunication Union), or an overriding policy need arises (e.g., a spectrum reallocation to address a national security issue). To provide a more stable investment climate for licensees, a consultation process will commence no later than two years prior to the end of the licence term (i.e., after year eight) if the Department foresees the possibility that it will not renew a licence or if renewal fees and/or changes to conditions of licence are contemplated.

The spectrum licences that are issued pursuant to this licensing process will continue to be subject to relevant provisions in the Radiocommunication Act and Radiocommunication Regulations. Specifically, section 40 of the Radiocommunication Regulations continues to apply. As well, the Minister will continue to have the power to amend the terms and conditions of the spectrum licences. Such powers would be exercised only after full consultation.

Successful applicants are reminded of the requirement to obtain the necessary approvals related to antenna structure clearance and environmental issues (including safety and land use matters) before installing any radio apparatus.

5.2 Information Requirements and Evaluation Criteria

Detailed Submission will be evaluated against the criteria described further below for the purpose of formulating advice and recommendations to the Minister of Industry. As well, the specific information listed directly below regarding eligibility and service areas must be clearly identified in the submissions.

Eligibility

All applicants must provide a description of their ownership or that of the entity to hold the licence, and indicate that they are generally eligible to hold licences as specified in section 9 of the Radiocommunication Regulations. Applicants who will operate as radiocommunication carriers must provide a detailed description of their corporate ownership and control structure and an attestation that they meet or will meet the ownership and control requirements of section 10 of the Radiocommunication Regulation. A detailed list of required information is provided in Appendix C.

Service Area

Applicants must identify the specific service area(s) for which they are applying. Appendix A provides the list of service areas, and may be used by applicants to identify the areas. Applicants must submit standalone, individually viable applications for each service area they are wishing to service.

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5.2.1 Demonstrated Competencies

Applicants who demonstrate institutional, financial, economic and technical capabilities that would support the establishment and operation of their proposed MCS facilities will be favoured. The information should include, but not be limited to, that listed below.

Experience
  • i. Experience in the installation and operation of telecommunications systems.
  • ii. Management experience and capability.
  • iii. Existing staff, both technical and non-technical, along with their experience and expertise in support of all aspects of system implementation, marketing, sales activities, equipment availability, management, and technology.
Alliances
  • iv. Domestic and international alliances with other companies or organizations for the establishment of the proposed facilities.
  • v. Institutional, economic and/or technical arrangements with other companies or organizations in support of system implementation and operation.
Financial Capabilities
  • vi. Consolidated audited financial statements for the past three full fiscal years, if applicable.
  • vii. Current interim financial statements.
  • viii. A five-year financial plan for the applicant and the proposed system, including revenues, expenditures, and detailed financial forecasts for this period, complete with the key underlying assumptions (in sufficient detail to enable verification of plausibility).
  • ix. Sufficient evidence that necessary financing is available or obtainable on reasonable terms and conditions.

5.2.2 Business Plan

Industry Canada's evaluation will favour applicants who demonstrate that extensive planning has been undertaken and careful consideration has been given to clarify business opportunities as well as potential pitfalls and how they could be overcome.

Applicants should address how their business plan, supported by concrete marketing research, will ensure the success of their commercial endeavour to provide MCS services at 2500 MHz. Applicants should submit all appropriate information, and as a minimum, include information concerning the following:

  1. Industry overview, including the assessment of actual and potential market, trends and competition
  2. Business strategy
  3. Market projections and forecasts
  4. Product and service offerings
  5. Marketing Plan, sales strategy
  6. Human resources strategy
  7. Client service and support
  8. Supplier management
  9. Technology strategy and network infrastructure design
  10. Network Capital Expenditures
  11. A five-year system implementation plan for each service area in which they are applying. These plans must include an annual schedule outlining the centres or areas to be served as well as an approximate number of stations that will be installed and in operation, and the percentage of the desired market to be covered for each service area such that the desired level of service is provided.

As well, applicants must indicate all major assumptions upon which the business plan relies. Assumptions may include:

  • actual and future market size
  • market share required for viability and profitability
  • market prices
  • customer growth rates
  • equipment availability, pricing and amortization periods

Further, applicants must indicate to what extent the application, including the business and learning plans, remains feasible in the event that any of these assumptions prove not to hold true. Industry Canada will favour more robust plans in its evaluation.

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5.2.3 Learning

Applicants must demonstrate how they can best meet the needs of the learning community within the operation of a viable commercial system. To this end, applicants must detail learning needs and how they are to be accommodated in the form of a Learning Plan. Applicants must demonstrate that this Learning Plan is supported by, and meets the specific needs of the local learning community. This can be achieved through the development, in collaboration with learning organizations, of a mutually acceptable Learning Plan. Learning Plans are a statement of commitments by applicants, which applicants agree to fulfil if they are granted access to MCS spectrum.

Learning Plans submitted to the Department should describe in detail how the learning needs will be accommodated and should define the offerings that will be supplied to the learning community. This may include, for example:

  1. Specific telecom services and/or products
  2. Content production and/or acquisition
  3. Infrastructure
  4. Funding
  5. Implementation timeframe
  6. Scope (geographical reach, number of users served)

In addition, Learning Plans must provide information concerning all benefits accruing to specific learning organizations, including those accruing to the Learning Authority (see below). Learning Plans should be developed to reflect the duration of the MCS licence. Just as the technology for MCS will evolve, so will the needs of the learning community. As a result, applicants should identify in their Learning Plans a program for evolution.

It is expected that organizations involved in education and learning will need to develop, in consultation with client and user communities, a clear understanding of the learning needs of the community they represent. As a result, Industry Canada has identified a Learning Authority in each province and territory to assist applicants and the members of the learning community to coordinate the local learning needs and interests and to discuss with potential applicants how these interests might best be served. Specifically, Learning Authorities have undertaken to liaise with each applicant in the preparation of their Learning Plan in order to match their capabilities with the needs of the learning community, with a view of maximizing both the benefits gained by the learning community and the synergies between the applicant's Learning Plan and commercial business plan. While Learning Authorities may share information amongst themselves, they have committed to safeguard the information provided to them by applicants from release to other third parties. Appendix E provides a list of designated Authorities and contacts.

Learning Plans may include an indication of support from the Learning Authority. Such support from the Learning Authority and commitments of applicants in the Learning Plan should be expressed in the form of a written endorsement, conditional agreement or contract between the applicant and the Learning Authority or direct beneficiaries. For this endorsement or agreement to be achieved, the MCS applicants are encouraged to conduct extensive consultation with the learning community via the Learning Authority and discuss all possibilities with the goal of reaching an agreement that is mutually beneficial.

Should serious issues arise in the application stage where applicants encounter unreasonable difficulties in liaising with the Learning Authorities, Industry Canada should be contacted as quickly as possible at the address outlined in section 5.5.2.

Once detailed submissions are received, applicants' non-confidential detailed submissions as well as their complete Learning Plan will be posted on the Department's Internet site in order to obtain public input on whether the proposed Learning Plan effectively meets the learning needs. These comments will be posted on the Departmental Internet site.

The Learning Plan submitted by the applicants will be reviewed by the Department with the aim of favouring those which are most complete, cohesive, innovative and realistically feasible as part of a strong commercially viable application. The extent to which the applicant has engaged the learning community and reached a written endorsement, conditional agreement or contract as noted above, preferably in direct consultation with Learning Authorities will also be considered. Further, the degree of commitment by the applicant contained within such an endorsement or agreement, if reached, will also be part of the evaluation. Public input received on the Learning Plan will be taken into account in the Department's evaluation.

Industry Canada will require that selected applicants formalize the Learning Plan arrangement prior to the issuance of licences and applicants are reminded that adherence to this plan will be a condition of licence.

5.3 Instructions for Filing

Instructions for filing applications are provided in the following paragraphs. 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.

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 therefore 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 D.

Applicants are reminded that all Learning Plans will be posted in their entirety on the Department's Internet site and accordingly must be filed on a non-confidential basis.

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5.3.1 Format

Expression of Interest

Respondents may submit their Expression of Interest electronically or in written format.

Detailed Submissions

Applicants are required to provide one electronic version and twelve (12) paper copies of their Detailed Submissions for each service area being applied for.

Should applicants consider portions of their Detailed Submissions to be confidential, they must provide one electronic version and seven (7) paper copies of their non-confidential Detailed Submissions as well.

Although Learning Plans are part of the Detailed Submissions, applicants are reminded that the complete Learning Plan will be posted on the Internet site. The Department therefore requires that the Learning Plan be submitted as a separate document on a non-confidential basis in electronic format, along with twelve (12) paper copies.

The Department requests that electronic submissions be in one of the following formats if possible: WordPerfect; Microsoft Word; Adobe PDF; or ASCII TXT.

5.3.2 Deadlines

Comments on Licence Fees

Comments on the suggested fees for the bands 2150-2156 MHz and 2686-2688 MHz as well as for non-broadcasting services in the band 2596-2686 MHz must be received by the Department at the address noted in section 5.5.2 no later than 5:00 pm EDT July 9, 1999.

Expressions of Interest

To ensure inclusion in the posted list so as to allow sufficient time for interested parties to form alliances amongst each other, Expressions of Interest should be received by the Department at the address noted in section 5.5.2 no later than 5:00 pm EDT July 9, 1999.

Detailed Submissions

Detailed Submission must be received by the Department at the address noted in section 5.5.2 no later than 5:00 pm EDT on October 11, 1999.

Incumbent Licensees in Toronto and Ottawa

Incumbent MCS licensees in Toronto and Ottawa who wish to keep these existing systems in operation in the band, should submit plans to the Department to integrate a learning component to the existing MCS systems no later than October 11, 1999.

Comments on Learning Plans

Public input on posted Learning Plans must be received by the Department at the address noted in section 5.5.2 no later than 5:00 pm EDT November 19, 1999.

5.4 Public Access to Documents

Every effort will be made to post the list of those who submitted Expressions of Interest after July 9, 1999 and Detailed Submissions non-confidential and complete Learning Plans on the Industry Canada spectrum web site shortly after October 11, 1999, at the following address:

http://www.ic.gc.ca/spectrum

Public input on Learning Plans will also be made available on this site shortly after receipt.

Printed copies of submissions may also be obtained, for a fee, from:

Tyrell Press Ltd.
2714 Fenton Road
Gloucester, Ontario
K2T 3T7

Canada toll-free: 1-800-267-4862
U.S. toll-free: 1-800-574-0137
Worldwide Telephone: 613-822-0740
Fax number: 613-822-1089

Canada Communication Group Inc.
45 Sacré-Coeur Blvd.
Hull, Québec
K1A 0S7

Toll free: 1-888-562-5561
Fax number: 819-779-2833
Worldwide Telephone: 819-779-4335

5.5 Further Information

5.5.1 Related Documents

Links to all documents listed in this discussion paper will be displayed on our Spectrum web site at http://www.ic.gc.ca/spectrum. Documents relating solely to MCS will be posted under the "Multipoint Communication Systems" heading.

5.5.2 Departmental Address/Contact

Submissions to the Department should be sent to the following address:

2500 MHz
MCS Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulatory Branch
Industry Canada
Room 1514 A - Jean Edmonds Tower North
300 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0C8

Or via email at 2500MHz@ic.gc.ca

General inquiries, strictly on clarification of the policy or on requirements and procedures contained in this document may be made to the Department at the address noted above or by fax to 613-991-3514, telephone 613-998-3837.

Jan Skora
Director General
Radiocommunications and Broadcasting
Regulatory Branch
Michael Helm
Director General
Telecommunications Policy Branch
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