Stakeholder Proposal Development — Incumbents' Views on the 2500–2690 MHz Band Plan for Broadband Radio Service ( BRS)

October 2009

Contents


1.0 Introduction

The objective of the Stakeholder Proposal Development (SPD) discussions was to develop a proposal(s) to accommodate the incumbents' post transition BRS spectrum licences within a new internationally compatible band plan. Industry Canada initiated the SPD process as described in consultation DGRB-005-09Consultation on Transition to Broadband Radio Service (BRS) in the Band 2500-2690 MHz. See Annex 1 for details.

The discussions used DGTP-002-06Policy Provisions for the Band 2500-2690 MHz to Facilitate Future Mobile Service (the 2006 Policy) as a baseline and took into consideration the views of the various stakeholders, as well as the international band plan model. The meetings were informal and neither the Department nor any stakeholder is bound by any positions or suggestions from the discussions. These SPD discussion results will be used as input to the development of a subsequent consultation paper.

Specific topics discussed include:

(1) Frequency Band Assignments

  • (a) amount and position of paired versus unpaired spectrum
  • (b) distribution of spectrum for each incumbent

(2) Technical Details

  • (a) position and size of guard bands between paired/unpaired spectrum
  • (b) use of frequency division duplex (FDD) and/or time division duplex (TDD) technologies
  • (c) maximum in-band and out-of-band power limitations

(3) Network Migration Process to the New Band Plan and Timing Issues

The scope of the SPD discussions did not include issues covered under consultation DGRB-005-09.


2.0 Background

In Canada, MCS/MDS incumbents currently hold unpaired spectrum. As stated in the 2006 Policy, Industry Canada intends to transition from the current band plan shown in Figure 1 to the basic model of the international band plan shown in Figure 2.

Figure 1 — Current Band Plan in Canada

Figure 1 - Current Band Plan in Canada

Figure 2 — Basic Model of the International Band Plan Adopted by the European Commission, the United States and Many other Countries Around the World

Figure 2 - Basic Model of the International Band Plan Adopted by the European Commission, the United States and Many other Countries Around the World (the long description is located below the image)

3.0 Incumbents' Views

This section summarizes the views expressed by incumbents during the SPD meetings.

3.1 2500-2690 MHz Band Plan for BRS

In general, there is strong support among incumbents to implement a single national band plan based on the C1 frequency arrangement in Recommendation ITU-R M.1036-3 (ITU-R band plan). In their view, this plan would present several of advantages, including:

  • - the band plan would be globally harmonized, which would allow additional flexibility in terms of equipment availability;
  • - the band plan would be more spectrally efficient; and
  • - the band plan would accommodate both FDD and TDD operations.

Figure 3 — Proposed BRS Band Plan for 2500-2690 MHz

Figure 3: Proposed BRS band plan for 2500-2690 MHz (the long description is located below the image)

All participating incumbents recommend the adoption of the ITU-R band plan as the new Canadian band plan for the 2500-2690 MHz spectrum for BRS, as shown in the Figure 3 above.

Furthermore, some incumbents operating in remote and/or rural areas noted that they wish to be able to continue to operate TDD systems in the FDD portion of the new band plan, on an interim basis.

3.2 Technical Issues

Discussions regarding the emissions masks, power limits and other technical parameters resulted in the following common views of the incumbents on technical rules:

  • (a) The technical rules (emission masks, power limits, etc.) should be developed in a way to enable the deployment of TDD and FDD systems adjacent to the 5 MHz guard bands (2570-2575 MHz and 2615-2620 MHz) without additional constraints. Canada must, to the maximum extent possible, adopt internationally harmonized technical standards, such as those proposed by the ITU and CEPT.
  • (b) TDD should not be used in the FDD portion of the band (except as noted for remote and rural areas on an interim basis).
  • (c) The edges of the frequency blocks for licensing should be multiples of 5 MHz.

One of the participating incumbents, Inukshuk, also expressed the following views on technical issues:

  • the technical issues associated with the frequency reuse patterns, such as N=1, N=3, must be taken into account;
  • the licensed blocks must take into account the need to support RF channel sizes, such as 10 MHz and 20 MHz of contiguous spectrum blocks, to maximize the efficient use of spectrum.

3.3 Spectrum for Each Incumbent in the New BRS Band Plan

The incumbents noted that:

  • co-locating FDD and TDD systems will result in operational challenges and inefficient use of spectrum;
  • dividing the middle TDD block between two or more licensees will result in spectral inefficiency due to one or more additional guard bands being required; otherwise, the TDD systems would need to operate in a TDD synchronized mode.

Multiple views regarding the spectrum for each incumbent in the new band plan were expressed, as detailed in this section.

Colour scheme used for the band plans in this section

3.3.1 British Columbia

Alberta, Yukon and Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Atlantic Provinces

3.3.1 British Columbia (the long description is located below the image)

3.3.2 Alberta, Yukon and Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Atlantic Provinces

Alberta, Yukon and Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Atlantic Provinces

3.3.2 Alberta, Yukon and Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Atlantic Provinces

3.3.3 Saskatchewan

3.3.4 Manitoba

Prairie Spirit School Division noted that the above proposal for Manitoba, whereby 15/15 MHz of paired FDD spectrum would be made available to school divisions, would not be acceptable. Without conducting an engineering analysis of their system, the view of the Prairie Spirit School Division is that it should be allocated 30/30 MHz of paired FDD spectrum in the new band plan.

3.3.5 Ontario and Quebec

3.3.6 Incumbents' Proposals with a National Scope

From the discussion, the incumbents proposed that same configurations at the provincial level could be expanded to have a national scope, as shown below. However, there was no agreement on a single national band plan applicable to all provinces.

Incumbents' Proposals with a National Scope

3.3.6 Incumbents' Proposals with a National Scope (the long description is located below the image)

3.4 Migration and Transition to a New Band Plan

The incumbents considered a range of issues regarding:

  • (a) their rights in a new band plan;
  • (b)the financial considerations of the migration process;
  • (c)the timing of the migration process; and
  • (d) a need for flexibility in the migration process related to equipment availability (for example, LTE).

The views expressed by incumbents:

  • (a) the transition time frame will depend on either the licensing of new operators or the establishment of the new band plan;
  • (b) the physical transition out of the band cannot take place before equipment is available for the new technologies in the new frequency blocks;
  • c(c) the incumbents agree that a finite amount of time is required to transition the physical network facilities to the new band plan. Most of the equipment deployed in the field at this time is frequency agile and can support frequency updates as part of an operational transition;
  • (d) planning and development of a more detailed migration plan cannot be done at this time until the band plan has been finalized, the incumbents know how they will map into the new band plan, and more engineering work can be completed.

Saskatchewan

SaskTel has already identified some of the current SaskTel MCS spectrum that will become unoccupied once the Aperto system is no longer in operation. This block of spectrum can be used temporarily by YourLink to deploy its new network, thereby freeing up enough YourLink MDS spectrum to allow SaskTel to begin deployment of a new FDD-based system to replace the current DOCSIS network. Once the existing SaskTel DOCSIS and YourLink's existing networks are decommissioned, the new systems can be retuned to their final blocks.

SaskTel and YourLink believe that the displacement process should begin upon notification that a new BRS licence holder has established firm plans to deploy service in Saskatchewan. They feel that it will take several years before national BRS licence holders will deploy a network in Saskatchewan. In any case, due to the complexity of the transition, and considering the expected timelines for new equipment development and delivery, they feel that three years is required to complete the entire transition process.

Manitoba

One issue that also was identified was the unique circumstance posed in Manitoba by its incumbents, Craig Wireless and five school divisions (namely, Prairie Spirit School Division, Hanover School Division, Border Land School Division, St. James Assiniboia School Division and Prairie Rose School Division).

The view of the Prairie Spirit School Division is that the transition time to the new band plan should be a minimum of three years from adoption of the new band plan, with considerations for financial issues.

Craig Wireless supports a flexible transition period for non-commercial operators.


4.0 Conclusion

At the conclusion of the SPD meetings, the participating incumbents agreed on the following items:

  • (1)the new Canadian band plan for the band 2500-2690 MHz should be compatible with the C1 frequency arrangements in Recommendation ITU-R M.1036-3;
  • (2) TDD operations should not be allowed in the spectrum identified for FDD technology (except in rural and remote areas on an interim basis);
  • (3) systems currently operating in remote and/or rural areas may continue to operate based on their current technology and will only be displaced from their spectrum if and when required; and
  • (4) the majority of incumbents prefer to use FDD technology and are interested in the FDD portion of the band. Some incumbents may opt to use a TDD solution for their operations.

Annex 1 — Excerpt from DGRB-005-09 — Consultation on Transition to Broadband Radio Service (BRS) in the Band 2500-2690 MHz

Stakeholder Proposal Development on a Band Plan for BRS

The Stakeholder Proposal Development (SPD) involves the facilitation of discussions with MCS and MDS incumbents, with the goal of developing proposals to align the spectrum that they would retain following the transition to BRS with a new internationally compatible band plan applicable to BRS. These discussions would use the 2006 Policy as a baseline and take into consideration the views of the various stakeholders and the international band plan model (see Figure 2). If the SPD discussions result in a proposal from incumbents, such a proposal will be included in the subsequent public consultation for consideration.

Frequency planning and the details of implementation have a significant impact on the usability and value of the spectrum. The effects can range from enabling substantial economies of scale, allowing new applications and technologies and facilitating roaming arrangements, to severely curtailing deployment and leading to significant guard bands required to avoid harmful interference.

Currently, the band is divided into two large, contiguous, unpaired blocks of spectrum (see Figure 1). Internationally, band plans have been proposed that are based on the basic model of paired blocks, separated by an unpaired block of spectrum.

Figure 1 — Current Band Plan in Canada

Figure 1 - Current Band Plan in Canada

Figure 2 — Basic Model of the Band Plan Adopted by the European Commission, the United States and Many other Countries Around the World

Figure 2 - Basic Model of the Band Plan Adopted by the European Commission, the United States and Many other Countries Around the World (the long description is located below the image)

The basic model allows for paired blocks of spectrum, which is typical for wide area mobile systems. This model can also be used for fixed wireless access and multimedia. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted this basic model through which incumbents have the flexibility to deploy time division duplex (TDD) technology (unpaired) or frequency division duplex (FDD) technology (paired) anywhere in the band.

In Canada, incumbents currently hold unpaired spectrum. As per the 2006 Policy decision, Industry Canada intends to migrate from the current band plan shown in Figure 1 to the basic model of the band plan shown in Figure 2. The Department expects that relevant technical issues, such as the use of TDD or FDD technology and high-power or low-power usage, will be raised in the informal discussions and may be included in the proposal put forward in the next public consultation on the use of spectrum in this band.

The migration of the incumbent's network facilities and terminal devices from the existing services and band plan to the new technical parameters and band plan for BRS is another suggested topic of the SPD discussions. Although Section 3 above addresses the issue of a firm date for the MCS/MDS licence transition to BRS, it is recognized that the physical migration of the associated network facilities will require a finite amount of time due to the technical complexities involved. Through the SPD process, the incumbents may wish to propose to the Department an orderly migration process by which the existing network facilities in the band will be replaced or converted to BRS, with a minimum of cost and service disruption to existing users.

Recognizing that significant guard bands may be required between spectrum using FDD and TDD technologies, as well as between unsynchronized TDD systems, Industry Canada believes that it is in the industry's interest to carefully consider the technological aspect in formulating a proposal for technical rules. These discussions could lead to the development of a proposal that would accommodate all MCS and MDS incumbents in a band plan compatible with the basic model and be agreeable to the stakeholders.

The SPD process will begin soon after the release of this consultation on transition and is expected to be completed within three (3) months. A summary record of the discussions will be made available.


Annex 2 — Incumbents in Attendance at the Stakeholder Proposal Development (SPD) Discussions

  • Cablevision TRP
  • Craig Wireless Systems
  • Inukshuk Wireless
  • Look Communications
  • YourLink
  • SaskTel
  • SSI Micro
  • 4 Manitoba School Divisions
    • Prairie Spirit School Division
    • Hanover School Division
    • St. James-Assiniboia School Division
    • Border Land School Division
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