Decisions on a Band Plan for Broadband Radio Service (BRS) and Consultation on a Policy and Technical Framework to License Spectrum in the Band 2500-2690 MHz

Part A – Decisions on Band Plan and Mapping of Incumbents to the New Band Plan (continued)

1. Band Plan (continued)

1.6 Operation of TDD Systems in the Unpaired Block

If two or more operators occupy the unpaired portion (2570–2620 MHz) of the BRS band in the same service area, a 5 MHz guardband between operators will typically be necessary to minimize interference to their networks. One possible solution to ensure the effective use of the unpaired block, while avoiding the use of frequency guardbands, would be to synchronize two TDD networks. However, as outlined in DGSO-001-10, such a measure could result in a number of technical limitations.

The Department sought comments on whether Industry Canada should rely on voluntary agreementsFootnote 10 or develop specific technical rules to facilitate coexistence between two or more operators within the unpaired block. Most respondents were in favour of relying on voluntary agreements to resolve coexistence issues, with government intervention only where necessary. GSMA and Pacomm advocated the development of specific technical rules. There was general agreement that network synchronization should be avoided as a technical solution.

Industry Canada agrees that incumbent TDD operators in the unpaired blocks should be encouraged to work with the other incumbent operator or future operator(s) toward voluntary agreements facilitating coexistence before any government intervention is implemented. Therefore, the Department will support the use of voluntary agreements between affected licensees and will not impose the synchronization of TDD operators. However, in the event that operators are not able to come to a voluntary agreement, the Department may be requested to intervene, in which case, the Department may impose the use of a guardband between the affected operators.

1.7 Operation in the Bands 2570–2575 MHz and 2615–2620 MHz (Restricted Bands)

In DGSO-001-10, comments were sought on whether the blocks 2570–2575 MHz and 2615–2620 MHz should be held in reserve by the Department or whether they should form part of the unpaired block (2575–2615 MHz). The Department also sought comments on whether these blocks should be considered for future use by licence-exempt wireless systems.

No party supported licence-exempt operation in these blocks. Several parties noted that it would be virtually impossible to address interference issues with licence-exempt operators given that their identities would be unknown to both BRS licensees and the Department.

With respect to the use of the guardbands, Inukshuk, Ericsson, GSMA, Intel, Motorola, Pacomm, RABC, SSI and TELUS were of the view that guardband blocks should form part of the unpaired block, whereas EastLink, MTS Allstream, QMI, SaskTel and YourLink stated that Industry Canada should hold the guardband blocks in reserve.

RABC, Ericsson and TELUS submitted that these blocks should be assigned to TDD operators along with the obligation to avoid interference to FDD systems.

Internationally, it is noted that the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) Report 19Footnote 11 has identified (i) block 2570–2575 MHz as a proposed "Restricted" band, and (ii) block 2615–2620 MHz as a proposed guardbandFootnote 12 to protect TDD base station receivers from FDD base station transmitters. Both the guardband and restricted band form part of the unpaired spectrum. Technical requirements such as band edge masks (BEMs) and power flux density (PFD) limits are included within this report. The European Commission (EC) Decision 2008/477/EC invokes these technical requirements and is based upon CEPT Report 19.

Industry Canada recognizes that the purpose of guardbands is to reduce the risk of interference between TDD and FDD operations. The Department supports the "Restricted" spectrum approach and believes that the same approach can be applied to both guardbands in Canada's BRS band plan. This would be consistent with the Department's goal of ensuring minimum interference between operators, as well as promoting the efficient use of the frequency spectrum.

1.8 2596 MHz Boundary Between MCS and MDS

Although not specifically addressed in DGSO-001-10, the Department received comments from Ericsson, Pacomm, RABC and TELUS requesting that the central boundary between MCS and MDS spectrum within the unpaired block be moved from 2596 MHz to 2595 MHz, in order to preserve the granularity of 5 MHz blocks in the ITU band plan.

The Department considers that, given its decision to adopt the ITU band plan, which is based upon a 5 MHz granularity, it is appropriate to shift the central boundary between MCS and MDS spectrum from 2596 MHz to 2595 MHz. BRS licences assigned to former MCS incumbents will not include this 1 MHz of spectrum.

1.9 Decisions

Decisions:

1-1 Industry Canada has decided to adopt the ITU band plan as shown in Figure 5 below for BRS licensing in the band 2500–2690 MHz.

Figure 5 – General band plan for BRS in the band 2500–2690 MHz

Figure 5 – General band plan for BRS in the band 2500–2690 MHz (the long description is located below the image)

1-2 In all geographic areas, the spectrum blocks 2540–2570 MHz and 2660–2690 MHz ("returned spectrum") are to be licensed by the Department as set out in Part B of this paper.

1-3 Operation in the paired blocks (2500–2570 MHz and 2620–2690 MHz):

Operation of non-FDD systems in the paired blocks (2500–2570 MHz and 2620–2690 MHz) are subject to the following conditions, which will apply to existing non-FDD systems and to new non-FDD systems deployed after the release of this paper:

  1. Non-FDD systems are permitted to continue to operate, but are subject to displacement. Industry Canada may issue a displacement notice on the following basis:
    1. Where a licensee planning to deploy FDD services in the paired blocks identifies specific non-FDD station(s) that may prevent their deployment, the FDD licensee can approach the Department with an identification of the areas, the spectrum required and time frames for their deployment that will be affected by an existing non-FDD station. Industry Canada will examine the submission and may issue a displacement notice requiring the non-FDD operator to cease or migrate all or part of its operations in order to provide for the timely deployment of the FDD system.
    2. The following minimum notification periods will apply:
      1. For systems operating in Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, non-FDD stations subject to displacement will be afforded a minimum of a two-year notification period; and
      2. For systems operating in all other areas, non-FDD stations subject to displacement will be afforded a minimum of a six-month notification period.
    3. Voluntary agreements between the FDD and non-FDD licensees may provide for earlier displacement or for the continued operation of the non-FDD stations.
  2. Licensees planning to deploy new non-FDD systems or licensees wishing to expand their existing non-FDD systems must approach Industry Canada to obtain specific authority for all non-FDD stations. Such authorization will only be granted in exceptional cases on the following conditions:
    1. Licensees planning to deploy non-FDD stations must first use best efforts to reach voluntary agreement with all potentially affected licenseesFootnote 13 in the paired blocks;
    2. Where a voluntary agreement has been reached, Industry Canada may issue an authorization in accordance with any conditions arising from the voluntary agreement;
    3. Where no voluntary agreement has been reached, Industry Canada may authorize the station(s) where the non-FDD system can demonstrate that it would not constrain the deployment or operation of existing and planned FDD systemsFootnote 14;
    4. Specific conditions of licence authorization will include a defined notification period for displacement as per Section 1-3(1) above.

1-4 Operation in the unpaired block (2570–2620 MHz): Incumbents in the unpaired block are required to work with each other or any future operator(s) toward a voluntary agreement that would allow their networks to coexist. If operators fail to come to an agreement, the Department may be requested to intervene. In such a case, the Department may set conditions on both operators' authorizations to provide for the use of guardbands between the two operators in order to mitigate interference.

1-5 Operation in the "restricted bands" (2570–2575 MHz and 2615–2620 MHz): The restricted bands will form part of the unpaired block. The use of these blocks will be on a licensed basis. The operation by licensees within these block is on a restricted basis and is subject to the following conditions:

  1. Operation by licensees within these blocks is permitted on a no-protection, no-interference basis with respect to FDD operations in the bands 2500–2570 MHz or 2620–2690 MHz.
  2. Licensees may be required to modify or cease operation if they cause interference to FDD operations in the bands 2500–2570 MHz or 2620–2690 MHz.
  3. Licensees will be subject to specific technical rules applicable to these bands to be developed by Industry Canada.

1-6 The boundary between MCS and MDS operators, which is currently at 2596 MHz, is amended to 2595 MHz.


Footnotes

Footnote 1

700 MHz consultation: SMSE-018-10Consultation on a Policy and Technical Framework for the 700 MHz Band and Aspects Related to Commercial Mobile Spectrum

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Footnote 2

See Section 4 of the 700 MHz consultation.

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Footnote 3

See Section 7 of the 700 MHz consultation.

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Footnote 4

In November 1991, Industry Canada issued SP-2500 MHz, Spectrum Utilization Policy for the Fixed and Broadcasting Services in the Band 2500–2686 MHz. This document is currently under review.

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Footnote 5

News Release: Minister of Industry Announces Canadian Decision Regarding the 2500 MHz Frequency Band (http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ic1.nsf/eng/02881.html)

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Footnote 6

MCS licences expire on March 31, 2011, whereas MDS licences expire on August 31, 2011.

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Footnote 7

An IMT-Advanced cellular system must have target peak data rates of up to approximately 100 Mbit/s for high mobility (such as mobile access) and up to approximately 1 Gbit/s for low mobility (such as nomadic/local wireless access), according to the ITU's requirements.

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Footnote 8

The consultation leading to this decision was initiated in April 2004 by DGTP-004-04, Revisions to Allocations in the Band 2500–2690 MHz and Consultation on Spectrum Utilization.

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Footnote 9

Reproduced from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC),
http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/brsebs/data/BRS-EBS-BandPlans.pdf.

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Footnote 10

For the purposes of this paper, a voluntary agreement includes transfers/trades of licences, commercial agreements, financial transactions and other business arrangements between authorized users.

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Footnote 11

Report from CEPT to the European Commission in response to the mandate to develop least restrictive technical conditions for frequency bands addressed in the context of WAPECS (Wireless Access Policy for Electronic Communications Services), http://www.erodocdb.dk/Docs/doc98/official/pdf/CEPTREP019.PDF

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Footnote 12

The interference between unsynchronized TDD base stations of different operators and from TDD base station transmitters in the "Restricted" unpaired spectrum into FDD base station receivers can be ameliorated by a lower EIRP and attention to siting and coupling losses.

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Footnote 13

It is noted that a non-FDD operation could potentially affect not only FDD systems operating in the same area in the same frequency channel, but also frequency channels anywhere in the paired blocks in the same or nearby areas in which the non-FDD system operates.

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Footnote 14

Industry Canada may consult with the existing FDD operators before making a final determination.

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