600 MHz – Proposed TV Transition Objectives and Methodology

RABC 600 MHz Working Group Meeting

September 30, 2016

Note:

  • Minor edits were made to the original presentation (presented to the RABC on September 30th) so that it complies with accessibility and other standards, including but not limited to punctuation, grammar and readability.
  • The comment period has been extended from November 11, 2016 to December 1, 2016.

Agenda

  • Introduction
  • Overarching Objectives and Approach
  • Proposed Transition Plan
    • Dependencies and Daisy Chains
    • Assigning Stations to Phases
      • Rules and Objectives
    • Phases and Schedule
  • Comments and Next steps

Introduction

  • Canada and the U.S. are jointly repurposing the 600 MHz band, repacking existing OTA TV stations more tightly in lower frequencies. The upper portion will be repurposed for commercial mobile service.
  • All regular power and virtually all low power existing Canadian TV stations will have a channel following the repacking.
  • A new joint allotment plan will identify the new channel assignments for all Canadian and U.S. stations while a joint transition plan will address the scheduling of station moves.

Where are we in the overall process?

  • ISED decision on 600 MHz repurposing: August 2015
  • Joint ISED/FCC framework guiding repurposing process: August 2015
  • Start of the incentive auction: March 29, 2016
  • Launch of the RABC 600 MHz working group: April 2016
    • Information gathering related to the Canadian transition
    • Draft framework to govern the transition: September 30, 2016
    • Draft certificate application process
    • Draft post-transition rules and framework
  • End of incentive auction (2016 or 2017?)
  • New joint DTV allotment plan, transition plan and schedule
  • Beginning of transition

Timelines

Timelines (the long description is located below the image)

Description of Timelines

This image represents a timeline of milestones and major activities occurring during the repurposing of the 600 MHz band. The timeline starts on September 30, 2016, with the presentation of ISED’s proposed transition methodology to the RABC 600 MHz working group. This coincides with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) publication of their public notice on the transition scheduling plan and technical appendix seeking comments. In the following weeks, ISED will continue its Canadian stakeholder engagement focusing on various items including the development of a certificate application process, and post-transition rules and framework. At the same time, ISED and the FCC will continue to refine drafts of new statements of intent (SOIs) regarding television use and coordination during the transition and post-transition, as well as a new SOI on 600 MHz mobile services. The next milestone occurs at the conclusion of the U.S. incentive auction, with ISED and the FCC publishing the DTV allotment plan, the transition plan and schedule, and associated daisy chains / station dependencies. Later on, ISED and the FCC will publish the SOIs on the TV transition and post-transition, followed by the new 600 MHz mobile SOI.

Possible Band Plan Outcomes of the U.S. Incentive Auction

Possible Band Plan Outcomes of the U.S. Incentive Auction (the long description is located below the image)

Description of Possible Band Plan Outcomes of the U.S. Incentive Auction

This image depicts all possible band plan outcomes of the U.S. incentive auction corresponding to the nine clearing targets (126 MHz, 114 MHz, 108 MHz, 84 MHz, 78 MHz, 72 MHz, 60 MHz, 48 MHz and 42 MHz). It also represents the concept that the U.S. incentive auction will only conclude when the proceeds of the forward auction are sufficient to pay for the costs of broadcasters to clear the spectrum, plus relocation and administrative costs.

Overarching Objectives

  • Orderly and manageable transition
    • Continue broadcasting throughout without undue interference
    • Maximize time for Canadian broadcasters to transition while ensuring a timely transition
    • Efficiently manage limited resources (e.g. tower crews, manufacturing and equipment delivery)
  • Minimizing impact to viewers
    • Limited number of rescans required
  • Flexibility to take into account unforeseen issues that may arise during the transition

Proposed Transition Approach

  • Phase-based
  • Regional/market-based
  • Station priority: Which move first?
    1. Canadian stations impeding U.S. station transition
    2. Canadian stations operating in the “TV band” with dependencies
    3. Canadian stations operating in the “mobile” band
    4. Canadian stations with no dependencies
  • Temporary technical rules during the transition
  • Restrict use of temporary channels, unless necessary
  • Timely application process

Station Dependencies & Daisy Chains

  • During the transition there is potential for interference
    • Stations operating on their original channels and stations on-air testing or operating on their new channels
  • Multiple station dependencies form a daisy chain

    Daisy Chains

    Daisy Chains (the long description is located below the image)
    Description of Daisy Chains

    1) This image is of a four station daisy chain. A daisy chain is a string of connected stations that are dependent on each other to transition. Station A must transition before Station B. Station B must transition before Station C. Station C must transition before Station D.

    2) This image is of a daisy chain that forms a loop.  Station A must transition before Station B. Station B must transition before Station C. Station C must transition before Station A .

  • Daisy chains can also be quite complex
    • Can consist of 100s of stations, spanning Canada into U.S.
  • For the transition, need to break daisy chains:
    • Assign stations to transition during different time periods
    • Assign stations to operate on temporary channels
    • Allow temporary increases in interference

Transition Plan: Phases

Assigning each station to a phase

  • Optimization techniques based on rules and objectives
    • All assignments must satisfy each rule, then best fit applied to objectives
      • Minimizes dependencies created by interference issues, ensures broadcasters time to transition and groups stations within a market into the same phase to manage limited resources and minimize impact on viewers

Scheduling of phases

  • Estimates total time for stations within a phase to complete their transition by modelling transition activities and accounting for limited resources
  • Phases will have sequential on-air testing periods and end dates

Number of Phases

Limiting the number of transition phases

  • Allows for stations within the same region to transition at the same time
  • Limits the need for multiple channel rescans by viewers
  • Facilitates monitoring of the transition process
  • FCC proposing 10 phases, completed within 39 months
  • ISED proposing to extend transition beyond 39 months
    • Canadian stations not impeding the transition of U.S. stations to be scheduled in later phases

Assignment of Stations to Phases

No Canadian stations will be assigned to transition before Phase 3

  • Canadian TV stations not scheduled to transition earlier than 18 months
  • Canadian stations not impacting the transition of U.S. stations scheduled for later phases
    • Stations with Canadian only or no dependencies
      • Stations without dependencies can continue to operate on their current channel/parameters provided no interference is caused to other stations during or after the transition

All stations within a region will be assigned to no more than two phases

  • Allows for stations within the same region to transition at the same time; clusters stations based on geographic area
  • Limits the need for multiple channel rescans by viewers
  • Manages limited resources; tower crews can concentrate their work on specific area 

Difference between the number of stations transitioning in each phase is limited to 30

  • Balances and assigns stations evenly among phases
  • Manages limited resources; spreads resources evenly among the phases

No phase to exceed 125 station dependencies / dependency difference limited between phases

  • Limits the amount of coordination required during on-air testing, making for a more manageable on-air testing process for broadcasters
  • Minimizes maximum size of daisy chains within phase

Temporary Transition Rules

Station cannot cause more than 2% additional interference to another station

  • Allows flexibility for stations to conduct on-air testing while limiting interference during the transition
    • Coordination may not always be practical for complex daisy chains
  • Reduces number and complexity of station dependencies
    • Higher interference levels  would reduce further, but 2% balances limiting dependencies and causing greater interference
  • Reduces number of channel rescans

Minimizing the Amount of Work

No use of temporary channels, unless necessary

  • Use of temporary channels means more moves: first move to the temporary channel and then to the final channel
  • May create confusion for viewers and additional rescans
  • May require additional equipment, further limiting resources
  • May be considered on ad-hoc basis

Station Assignment Objectives

Maximize time for Canadian broadcasters to transition their stations

  • Limit Canadian and U.S. stations competing for limited resources throughout the transition
  • Canadian TV stations will be afforded at least 18 months to transition

Assign U.S. stations in “mobile” band to earlier phases; clear U.S. “mobile” band first

  • Mobile auction completed

Minimize number of rescans per market/region

Minimize total number of linked stations (daisy chains)

  • Throughout all phases of the transition
  • Provide as many stations as possible with the ability to conduct on-air tests while broadcasting on their original channel without the need to coordinate

Minimize difference between number of stations in the largest and smallest phases

  • Balancing the number of stations in each phase will more efficiently manage limited resources
    • Spread out evenly across phases

Length of Phases

  • Time for all stations within a phase to complete the work
  • Modelling of limited resources based on availability, capacity
  • Extended transition period for Canadian stations not impeding U.S. station ability to transition

Length of Phases

Length of Phases (the long description is located below the image)
Description of Length of Phases

This image is a graphical representation of a phased transition schedule under the proposed approach. The data represented in this graph is hypothetical as the actual stations that need to transition are not yet known.

There are 13 proposed phases for the transition of U.S. and Canadian TV stations. The bars in the graph represent the length of each phase in terms of months. All phases start at the same time and run concurrently, with each phase having a unique end date in sequential order relative to the other phases. That is to say, Phase 1 is the shortest and the first to end, while Phase 13 is the longest and the last to end. Each phase is composed of four consecutive tasks—pre-planning (grey), permitting (light blue), planning and construction (blue), and on-air testing (dark blue)—and a completion date (red).

The time allocated for pre-planning and permitting is the same for all phases, while the on-air testing periods associated with each phase are sequential. Pre-planning tasks begin prior to month 0 (coinciding with the release of the new DTV allotment plan). Stations are expected to take advantage of this additional time to get a head start on completing planning activities. The on-air testing period for any phase starts on the day immediately following the completion of the prior phase. The one exception to this rule is Phase 1. The red line at the end of each bar represents the phase completion date. At this date, stations assigned to this phase must cease operations on their pre-repacking channel. Note that this hypothetical schedule does not show calendar dates, but they will be included in the actual transition schedule.

In this hypothetical scenario, phase 10 finishes at month 36. Phases 11 to 13 extend beyond month 36. The transition period is extended for Canadian stations beyond 36 months, as indicated by phases 11 to 13.

Station Transition Activities

  • Phase duration takes into account the complexity and scope of work:

    Pre-construction

    • 1. Planning
    • 2. Engineering design
    • 3. Structural tower analysis
    • 4. Permits (e.g. lease, zoning, land-use authority)
    • 5. Equipment acquisition

    Construction

    • 6. Coordination of broadcasters within same market
    • 7. Tower modifications and antenna installation
    • 8. Calibration of equipment and testing
  • Some activities may occur in parallel, others not

Pre-construction

  • Manufacturing and equipment delivery (limited resource)
    • Some stations may be able to receive antennas without waiting, others wait in queue (simulations)
      • Directional antennas: 24 weeks for delivery
      • Omni-directional antennas: 12 weeks for delivery
      • Capacity: 80–88/month
  • All other activities (planning)
    • Complicated stations: 72 weeks
    • DTV stations: 32 weeks
    • LPTV stations: 24 weeks
  • Maximum completion time for pre-construction is the greater of “manufacturing and equipment delivery” or “all other activities”

Construction

  • Tower work: Number and availability of tower crews (equipment installation on the tower) (limited resource)
    • Some may schedule tower crews to work on their stations without waiting, others wait in queue (simulations)
      • Tower height (10–40 days): base time
      • Antenna related (adjustment on base time)
      • Canadian tower crews: 22; U.S. tower crews: 51–57
  • All other construction work (combiners, on-air tests)
    • Complicated stations: 32 weeks
    • DTV stations: 24 weeks
    • LPTV stations: 12 weeks
  • Maximum completion time for construction is the greater of “tower work” or “all other construction work”

Other Proposed Considerations

  • Account for stations occupying same tower (in phase)
    • Total “tower work” time can be reduced
    • Stations can take advantage of using the same tower crew at the same time for antenna installations
      • Time for most difficult station + 10% for 2nd station + 5% for each additional station up to 30%
  • Auxiliary antenna use
    • Additional week added to tower crew work for stations needing auxiliary antenna
  • Minimum on-air testing period of 4 weeks
    • Sequential testing periods; stations in a phase cannot start testing prior to completion of previous phase

Overall Transition Plan Timing

Overall Transition Plan Timing (the long description is located below the image)
Description of Overall Transition Plan Timing

This image represents a timeline of key transition phases. The timeline starts with the release of the DTV allotment plan and transition plan. The first U.S. stations complete their transition at the end of Phase1. The next major milestone for Canada is Phase 3, in which the first Canadian stations complete their transition. After a given period of time, the last Canadian stations with U.S. dependencies complete their transition at the end of Phase 10, as do all remaining U.S. stations. By Phase 11, stations in the “TV band” with Canadian only dependencies complete their transition. This is followed by Phase 12, where stations in the “mobile” band complete their transition, and finally by Phase 13, where stations without dependencies complete their transition in the “TV band”. Stations choosing not to transition by their scheduled date may be permitted to operate on their current channel and mode of operation as long as they do not cause interference to other stations during or after the transition to the new DTV allotment plan.

Descripton of Length of Phases (insert image):

This image is a graphical representation of a phased transition schedule under the proposed approach. The data represented in this graph is hypothetical as the actual stations that need to transition are not yet known.

There are 13 proposed phases for the transition of U.S. and Canadian TV stations. The bars in the graph represent the length of each phase in terms of months. All phases start at the same time and run concurrently, with each phase having a unique end date in sequential order relative to the other phases. That is to say, Phase 1 is the shortest and the first to end, while Phase 13 is the longest and the last to end. Each phase is composed of four consecutive tasks—pre-planning (grey), permitting (light blue), planning and construction (blue), and on-air testing (dark blue)—and a completion date (red).

The time allocated for pre-planning and permitting is the same for all phases, while the on-air testing periods associated with each phase are sequential. Pre-planning tasks begin prior to month 0 (coinciding with the release of the new DTV allotment plan). Stations are expected to take advantage of this additional time to get a head start on completing planning activities. The on-air testing period for any phase starts on the day immediately following the completion of the prior phase. The one exception to this rule is Phase 1. The red line at the end of each bar represents the phase completion date. At this date, stations assigned to this phase must cease operations on their pre-repacking channel. Note that this hypothetical schedule does not show calendar dates, but they will be included in the actual transition schedule.

In this hypothetical scenario, Phase 10 finishes at month 36. Phases 11 to 13 extend beyond month 36. The transition period is extended for Canadian stations beyond 36 months, as indicated by phases 11 to 13.

Comments and Timing

  • ISED invites comments on the proposed transition plan
    • Comments on the methodology for assigning stations to phases, including proposed rules and objectives
    • Comments on the methodology for establishing a transition schedule and the proposed inputs (pre-construction and construction)
  • Comments kindly requested by November 11, 2016

Next Steps

  • Continue RABC 600 MHz working group meetings:
    • Written input and comments on the proposed transition plan, methodology and inputs
    • ISED application and certificate authorization processes
  • ISED and FCC collaborating on joint transition plan
  • Following incentive auction completion
    • New DTV allotment plan
    • Transition plan and schedule
    • Transition will begin
  • Cross-border coordination for DTV, mobile operations
    • Transition and post-transition

Timelines

Timelines (the long description is located below the image)
Description of Timelines

This image represents a timeline of milestones and major activities occurring during the repurposing of the 600 MHz band. The timeline starts on September 30, 2016, with the presentation of ISED's proposed transition methodology to the RABC 600 MHz working group. This coincides with the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) publication of their public notice on the transition scheduling plan and technical appendix seeking comments. In the following weeks, ISED will continue its Canadian stakeholder engagement focusing on various items including the development of a certificate application process, and post-transition rules and framework. At the same time, ISED and the FCC will continue to refine drafts of new statements of intent (SOIs) regarding television use and coordination during the transition and post-transition, as well as a new SOI on 600 MHz mobile services. The next milestone occurs at the conclusion of the U.S. incentive auction, with ISED and the FCC publishing the DTV allotment plan, the transition plan and schedule, and associated daisy chains / station dependencies. Later on, ISED and the FCC will publish the SOIs on the TV transition and post-transition, followed by the new 600 MHz mobile SOI.

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