Consultation Letter — Issues Related to the Preliminary Phase of the Antenna Tower and Site-Sharing Process

February 17, 2009

Dear Sir/Madam:

In November 2008, new conditions of licence came into force with respect to mandated tower and site sharing. The specifics of the condition of licence were published as Industry Canada's Client Procedures Circular CPC-2-0-17 Conditions of Licence for Mandatory Roaming and Antenna Tower and Site Sharing and to Prohibit Exclusive Site Arrangements.

Industry Canada is not reviewing the conditions of licence set out in CPC-2-0-17 but is seeking comments on all of the issues discussed and the proposals outlined below. Subsequent to this consultation phase, the Department will establish guidelines to be used when asked to respond to a complaint of non-compliance.

Time Lines for Antenna Tower & Site-Sharing Process

It is a condition of licence that existing licensees must negotiate with a Requesting Operator in good faith, with a view to concluding a Site-Sharing Agreement in a timely manner. To provide further clarity on the timing related to the requirement to provide preliminary information in a "timely manner", the Department proposes the following time lines for each of the described stages of the antenna tower and site-sharing process.

The Department has considered the impact of multiple requests being submitted and considers that the time lines described in the licence conditions and the clarifications proposed below would apply to all cases irrespective of workload. Furthermore, Licensees and Requesting Operators are encouraged to negotiate response times which may facilitate the provision of information for all concerned. For example, the Requesting Operators may prefer to prioritize their requests and Licensees are encouraged to accommodate such requests.

Preliminary Site Investigation (CPC-2-0-17 Section 8.0 Licence Condition 3)

  • Request for preliminary technical information package: The request should include at a minimum the licensee's site reference number (if available), site address and/or geographical coordinates and Requesting Operator's reference number.
  • Response to request for preliminary technical information: Within a week of receiving a complete request for preliminary technical information containing the information described above, the Licensee is expected to produce a response including as a minimum: tower loading profile including imminent future use (see Reservations for Future Use below) and contracted third-party lease arrangements, compound layout, tower foundations design, Transport Canada and/or NAV Canada form, site lease summary as well as site access information, such as contact, procedure and any specific restriction relating to a site visit.
  • Site Access: The Licensee is to coordinate and grant access to the site on request. Generally speaking, this access should be granted within one week of the request. Extenuating circumstances, such as access to a remote location, could justify a short delay.

Reservations for Future Use

Section 8.0, Condition 3 states that "…the Licensee shall provide to the Requesting Operator any preliminary technical information for each Site, such as drawings, surveys, technical data, engineering information, future requirement, lease provisions and other information relating to the site relevant to formulating a Proposal to Share that it has in its possession or control; …" (emphasis added)

The Department has reviewed both the value and the additional complexity introduced by the inclusion of future requirements and lease provisions within the preliminary information package. It is hereby proposed that only imminent future use should be considered in the context of the preliminary information package and that "imminent" would include plans which are clearly and specifically identified in the Licensee's annual capital plan.

Where the tower owner is reserving space because there is a plan to install equipment on the tower in the longer term, the companies are expected to deal with this during the negotiation of their commercial arrangements. In addition, any space reserved on a tower for future use by a third party where a contract is in place and fees are being paid, should be identified as part of the preliminary information package. In this situation, the requesting carrier can consider approaching the third party to discuss access to that space.

Requirements for Confidentiality

Industry Canada recognizes the competitiveness of the market and understands the need for confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements between the parties. However, the Department is of the view that non-disclosure agreements should be generic in nature and should not include provisions that are unique to a single operator or group.

Furthermore, with the strict disclosure of only imminent future plans and basic technical information during the preliminary phase, the Department does not consider the signature of a non-disclosure agreement as a reason to delay providing a Preliminary Information Package as described above.

Submitting Your Comments

As this process is time sensitive for the deployment of new systems, Industry Canada invites interested parties to submit written comments with respect to the above guidelines by March 6, 2009 to:

Director, Spectrum Management Operations
Industry Canada
Radiocommunications and
Broadcasting Regulatory Branch
300 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0C8

or by e-mail to: ic.spectrumoperations-operationsduspectre.ic@canada.ca

Comments received will be published on Industry Canada's website under http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/icgc.nsf/eng/07422.html.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Heather Hall at heather.hall@canada.ca.

Sincerely,

Peter Hill
Director
Spectrum Management Operations

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