SP 768 MHz - Narrowband and Wideband Public Safety Radiocommunication Systems in the Bands 768-776  MHz and 798-806 MHz

Issue 1
June 2009

Gazette Notice No. DGTP-007-09 – Narrowband and Wideband Public Safety Radiocommunication Systems in the Bands 768-776 MHz and 798-806 MHz

Contents

  1. Intent
  2. Background
  3. Policy Objectives
  4. Designation of the Bands 770-776 MHz and 800-806 MHz for Public Safety
  5. Band Plan
  6. Existing operation in channels 63, 64, 68 and 69
  7. Public Safety Transition Plan

Annex A


1. Intent

This spectrum utilization policy, announced in Canada Gazette Notice DGTP-007-09, addresses the principal issues governing the implementation of public safety services in the bands 768-776 MHz and 798-806 MHz, including designation of the bands 770-776 MHz and 800-806 MHz, a new band plan and transition measures.

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2. Background

In the past, Industry Canada consulted on designating the bands 764-776 MHz (TV channels 63 and 64) and 794-806 MHz (TV channels 68 and 69) for public safety applications in the mobile service (DGTP-004-01). As a result of this consultation, Spectrum Utilization Policy SP-746 MHz, Mobile Service Allocation Decision and Designation of Spectrum for Public Safety in the Frequency Band 746-806 MHz, Issue 1 (published October 2004), designated the bands 764-770 MHz (TV channel 63) and 794-800 MHz (TV channel 68) for public safety, and the Department indicated that it would consult again on making the same designation in the bands 770-776 MHz (TV channel 64) and 800-806 MHz (TV channel 69).

In August 2007, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Second Report and Order (FCC-07-132) to change its public safety frequency plan to accommodate a requirement for broadband systems. Previously, the Canadian and U.S. band plans were aligned and the technical rules governing the equipment characteristics were largely harmonized.

In January 2008, Canada Gazette Notice SMSE-004-08, Proposed Revisions to the Frequency Plan for Public Safety in the 700 MHz Band,1 initiated a public consultation on proposed changes to the 700 MHz public safety band. In that paper, Industry Canada proposed: to designate TV channels 64 and 69 for public safety; a new band plan; transition measures; and to continue to allow wideband operation

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3. Policy Objectives

Industry Canada remains committed to working with the public safety community to offer the best spectrum options to achieve a high level of safety and security for Canadian citizens. The Department is also committed to improving interoperability and border security. Therefore, it is essential for Canada to harmonize with the United States to facilitate interoperable networks and services for public safety agencies. Moreover, common use of spectrum will result in the development of compatible equipment for both countries, resulting in greater economies of scale.

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4. Designation of the Bands 770-776 MHz and 800-806 MHz for Public Safety

In SMSE-004-08, Industry Canada proposed, in addition to the bands 764-770 MHz (TV channel 63) and 794-800 MHz (TV channel 68), to designate the bands 770-776 MHz (TV channel 64) and 800-806 MHz (TV channel 69) for public safety.2 Respondents strongly supported this proposal.

Decision:

In addition to the bands 764-770 MHz (TV channel 63) and 794-800 MHz (TV channel 68), Industry Canada designates the bands 770-776 MHz (TV channel 64) and 800-806 MHz (TV channel 69) for public safety.

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5. Band Plan

Industry Canada proposed a band plan that would align with the U.S. band plan for narrowband operations in the bands 769-775 MHz and 799-805 MHz. The Department also proposed two options to continue allowing wideband operations: (i) allow aggregation of the narrowband channels or (ii) allow wideband in the bands 768-769 MHz, 775-776 MHz, 798-799 MHz and 805-806 MHz.

The proposed band plan (Figure 1) was generally supported in the comments received, but there was a varied response with respect to wideband operations. Most respondents expressed a need for wideband operations, but many were concerned about limiting the availability of narrowband spectrum. Concerns were also expressed regarding the potential for interference when wideband channels were adjacent to blocks that may be used for broadband.

Figure 1 - Old band plan and proposed band plan from SMSE-004-08

Figure 1 - Old band plan and proposed band plan from SMSE-004-08

Larger version of Figure 1
Description of Figure 1

Industry Canada proposed two options for the wideband operations: to use either blocks B and C (see Figure 1) or aggregate narrowband channels in the bands 769-775 MHz and 799-805 MHz. The general response to these two options was that both should be allowed; with regional discretion.

Industry Canada believes that further discussion is needed on which portion and how much of the public safety spectrum should be used for wideband. At this time, the Department will, in principle, allow wideband and narrowband operation in the bands 768-776 MHz and 798-806 MHz. It is noted that the primary objective is to satisfy the requirements of narrowband operation; however, at the discretion of the Regional Offices, wideband operation will also be accommodated. The general band plan shown in Figure 2 will be adopted. The specific band plan, which may subdivide or permit aggregation of channels for narrowband or wideband use, as well as the technical parameters (including possible specific technical restrictions on Blocks B and C, shown in Figure 2), will be established in consultation with the Radio Advisory Board of Canada (RABC) through the development and/or revision of the relevant Standard Radio System Plan (SRSP) and Radio Standards Specification (RSS), taking into account the comments received thus far.

Figure 2 - 700 MHz Public Safety Band Plan

Figure 2 - 700 MHz Public Safety Band Plan

Description of Figure 2

Decision:

Industry Canada adopts the general band plan shown in Figure 2. In principle, both narrowband and wideband operations will be allowed in bands 768-776 MHz and 798-806 MHz.3 It is noted that the primary objective is to satisfy the requirements of narrowband operation; however, at the discretion of the Regional Offices, wideband operation will also be accommodated.

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6. Existing operation in channels 63, 64, 68 and 69

Although not part of the consultation paper, respondents from the public safety community commented on the shut-down date for analog broadcasting. Comments requested Industry Canada's confirmation that the public safety spectrum would be cleared of broadcast operations by August 31, 2011.

While the Department is responsible for spectrum management in general and for issuing broadcast certificates for individual sites under the Radiocommunication Act, broadcast licences and the decision on the DTV transition date are under the purview of the CRTC through its authority under the Broadcasting Act. On September 26, 2006, in response to a public hearing initiated by the CRTC,4 Industry Canada sent an advisory letter to the CRTC suggesting that the CRTC consider setting a specific date for the shut down of analog television.5 Subsequent to the public hearing, the CRTC decided on the date of August 31, 2011, as the shut-down date for analog television transmission.6

6.1 Channels 63 and 68

In the bands 764-770 MHz and 794-800 MHz (TV channels 63 and 68), as stated in SP-746 MHz, the Department placed a permanent moratorium on issuing new broadcasting certificates within these two channels. Broadcasting undertakings and corresponding channel allotments in these two channels have been allotted replacement channels for both NTSC and DTV channels. However, one regular power analog TV station remains in operation (see Table A2 in Annex A). In accordance with SP-746, the Department will issue a notice to the affected TV station providing a notification period of two years for its re-assignment. With respect to low power television operation, three low power TV stations are still in operation (see Table A1 in Annex A). See Section 6.3 for further discussion on low power TV stations.

6.2 Channels 64 and 69

As indicated in the consultation paper, the bands 770-776 MHz and 800-806 MHz (TV channels 64 and 69) could be used immediately for public safety with no impact on television broadcasting in most of Canada. It is noted that, currently, two low power TV stations are still in operation (see Table A1 in Annex A) on channel 64. See Section 6.3 for further discussion on low power TV stations. In addition, in certain areas (see Tables A2 and A3 in Annex A), there are regular power on-air TV stations and transitional DTV allotments in operation.7 The public safety community should note that some or all of these stations may be in operation on channels 64 and 69 until they move to their post-transition DTV channels. To facilitate this transition in the timeframe set by the CRTC, the Department published a digital television post-transition allotment plan in December 2008.8

Some public safety respondents proposed that the analog broadcast stations should be shut down well before 2011, and some commented that the use of the DTV allotments should be discouraged, given the short time before the DTV transition. Prior to the DTV transition date, Industry Canada encourages the public safety community to discuss with the broadcasters their intent to use TV channels 64 and 69, and to develop agreements that could allow earlier access to that spectrum.

6.3 Low Power TV Stations

Consistent with a letter sent to the CRTC in 2000,9 the Department indicated that "unless there are extraordinary circumstances, it will not issue broadcasting certificates for low power TV stations in channels 60-69." This moratorium on new broadcasting certificates for low power TV stations remains in effect.

There are currently five low power TV stations (see Table A1 in Annex A) operating on TV channels 63, 64 and 68. The rules for television broadcasting undertakings with respect to LPTV are given in Part 4: Application Procedures and Rules for Television Broadcasting Undertakings (BPR-4).10 In particular, Section E-1.2.1 states that:

LPTV stations will be considered as secondary assignments. In other words, the operation of the station shall be considered on an unprotected basis. Should the operation of a station established in accordance with this section cause interference to stations operating on allotted channels, whether established before or after the low-power station, or to other radio services, remedial measures would have to be taken even to the extent of closing down the station if another suitable channel cannot be used. Conversely, an LPTV station is not entitled to protection from interference from stations on allotted channels. LPTV stations are only entitled to protection from other low power stations, authorized at a later date and from very low power televisions.

It is noted that these existing low power TV stations are located in areas of low population and may not be in areas where a public safety agency would deploy immediately. Therefore, these stations may remain in operation. However, in the event of potential interference to public safety systems, remedial measures must be taken by the LPTV operators and these LPTV stations may be required to move to other channels or cease operation.

6.4 Other Incumbent Operation

The Department has allowed low power licensed radiocommunication devices,1112 e.g. wireless microphones and wireless cameras, in various bands, including TV channels 63, 64, 68, and 69. The operation of these devices is on a no-interference and no-protection basis and subject to licensing.

The Department is also aware of the activities in the United States with respect to the potential ban of low power auxiliary operation in the band 698-806 MHz, including wireless microphones and other low power devices. In Canada, the issue of low power licensed radiocommunication device operation in the band 698-806 MHz will be addressed separately in the future.

Decision:

  1. Public safety radiocommunication systems can be authorized immediately in the bands 768-776 MHz and 798-806 MHz in areas where there are no regular power TV stations or DTV transitional allotments (see Tables A2 and A3 in Annex A).
  2. After the DTV transition, public safety radiocommunication systems can be authorized in the bands 768-776 MHz and 798-806 MHz throughout Canada.
  3. In areas where there is an existing LPTV operation, the LPTV may continue; however, in the event of any potential interference to public safety systems, remedial measures would have to be taken, even to the extent of closing down the station if another suitable channel cannot be used.
  4. Unless there are extraordinary circumstances, Industry Canada will not issue new broadcasting certificates for LPTV stations in channels 60-69.

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7. Public Safety Transition Plan

In SMSE-004-08, Industry Canada proposed a transition plan for public safety systems to move from the old band plan to the new band plan (shown in Figure 2). The proposal included provisions for existing licensees that must remain under the old band plan in areas where alternative spectrum under the new band plan is unavailable due to television use or DTV allotments. The proposal also included a provision to provide replacement channels to facilitate the transition of public safety systems.

Respondents generally supported the proposals for the transition plan. Some public safety agencies commented that a funding mechanism is needed to support the transition. It is Industry Canada's policy to consult on transition mechanisms that would allow for enough time for licensees to move to new frequencies without causing a significant financial burden. In this case, the Department has also proposed setting aside channels in the new band plan for use by licensees when they transition from the old band plan.

Decision:

Industry Canada will implement the following public safety transition plan:
  1. In areas where public safety systems can be authorized in the bands 768-776 MHz and 798-806 MHz (i.e. in areas where there are no regular power TV stations or DTV transitional allotments (see Table A2 and A3 in Annex A)):
    1. new systems will be licensed under the new band plan (Figure 2); and
    2. existing public safety radiocommunication systems may remain in operation under the old band plan (Figure 1) in accordance with SRSP-511, Issue 1. These licensees will be required to move their operation to the new band plan (Figure 2) and operate in accordance with the applicable SRSP no later than two years after the publication of this SP. Replacement channels, in accordance with the applicable SRSP, will be provided to these licensees, subject to availability.
  2. In areas where public safety systems cannot yet be authorized in the bands 768-776 MHz and/or 798-806 MHz due to television usage (see Tables A2 and A3 in Annex A):
    1. new systems will be licensed under the old band plan (Figure 1) in accordance with SRSP-511, Issue 1;
    2. existing public safety radiocommunication systems may remain in operation under the old band plan (Figure 1) in accordance with SRSP-511, Issue 1; and
    3. all licensees will be required to move their operation to the new band plan (Figure 2) and operate in accordance with the applicable SRSP no later than one year after the DTV transition date. Replacement channels, in accordance with the applicable SRSP, will be provided to these licensees, subject to availability.
  3. After the DTV transition, public safety radiocommunication systems can be authorized in the bands 768-776 MHz and 798-806 MHz throughout Canada. All new systems will be licensed under the new band plan (Figure 2).

Issued under the authority
of the Radiocommunication Act

_____________________________
Pamela Miller
Acting Director General
Telecommunications Policy Branch

_____________________________
Marc Dupuis
Director General
Spectrum Engineering Branch

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Annex A

Table A1 – Low Power TV Stations On-Air in TV Channels 63, 64 and 68
Channel Location Station Call Sign
63 Regina Beach, SK CH2535
64 Fort St. James, BC CH6499
64 Wallace, NS CH2759
68 Fort St. James, BC CH6461
68 Santa Rosa, BC CISR-TV

Table A2 – Regular Power TV Stations On-Air in TV Channels 64, 68 and 69
Channel Location Station Call Sign
64 Chatham, ON CBLN-TV-3
64 Toronto, ON CFMT-DT
68 Sarnia-Oil Springs, ON CBLFT-17
69 London, ON CFMT-TV-1
69 Spillimacheen, BC CBUBT-6
69 Toronto, ON CJMT-TV

Table A3 – DTV Transitional Allotments in TV Channels 64 and 69
Station Call Sign Location NTSC Channel DTV Transitional Allotment
CIVO-TV Gatineau, QC 30 64
CBLT-8 Kearns, ON 2 64
CFGC-TV-2 North Bay, ON 2 64
CICO-TV-38 Kingston, ON 38 64
CJNT-TV Montreal, QC 62 69
CBEFT Windsor, ON 54 69
CICA-TV-6 North Bay, ON 6 69
CKWS-TV Kingston, ON 11 69
CIHF-TV-2 Saint John, NB 12 69
CBAFT-7 Campbellton, NB 9 69
CBHFT-2 Mulgrave, NS 7 69

Footnotes

1 Available at: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf08871.html.

2 Spectrum Utilization Policy 30-896 MHz, Part 1 (May 1990), defines safety services. Standard Radio System Policy 502, Issue 4, further defines a hierarchy of safety service users such as: (a) Category 1 - police, fire and emergency medical services; (b) Category 2 - forestry, public works, public transit, dangerous chemical clean-up, customs and other agencies contributing to public safety; and (c) Category 3 - other government agencies and certain non-government agencies. See the following Web addresses: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf01051.html and http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf00050.html.

3 It should be noted that, although the bands 764-768 MHz and 794-798 MHz are also designated to public safety as per the decision in Section 4, the band plan for these bands will be subject to further consultation.

4 Notice of Public Hearing CRTC-2006-5.

5 Industry Canada Advisory Letter - The Use of Unplanned Over-the-Air (OTA) Broadcasting Television Spectrum and the Manufacturing and Importation for the Sale of Digital Capable Television Receiving Apparatus, September 26, 2006, available at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf08702.html.

6 Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2007-53, available at http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2007/pb2007-53.htm

7 Transitional allotments have been assigned to broadcasters so that they can simultaneously broadcast both digital and analog signals at the same time until the transition date.

8 http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/h_sf08869.html

9 http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf08086.html

10 http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf01154.html

11 Radio Standard Specification-123, Low Power Licensed Radiocommunication Devices, Issue 1, Rev. 2, available at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf01323.html.

12 Client Procedure Circular-2-1-11, Low-power Licensed Radiocommunication Devices, Issue 1, available at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf08883.html.

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