Policy and Licensing Procedures for the Auction of Spectrum Licences in the 2300 MHz and 3500 MHz Bands — Appendix 3

Appendix 3 – Transition Policy for the Displacement of Existing Fixed Assignments in the 2300 MHz and 3500 MHz

Bands General Transition Policy Principles

The Spectrum Policy Framework for Canada (2001) outlines, among other things, the policy guidelines dealing with the allocation of spectrum resources and the displacement of radio systems. The policy, formulated under the Radiocommunication Act and Radiocommunication Regulations, states that:

"The radio frequency spectrum, as a national public resource, will be allocated and planned to advance public policy objectives, while ensuring a balance between public and private radiocommunication use to benefit Canadians. The reallocation of, and access to, the spectrum resource will be adapted to meet changing user requirements, to provide spectrum that best meets the needs of the user and to facilitate the deployment of new and innovative services."

Moreover, the policy reconfirms that there is no liability or responsibility or intent by the Department to financially compensate spectrum users being displaced. Furthermore, as new services have been introduced, it has not been the practice of Industry Canada to ask new radio users to compensate existing users being displaced. Of course, private arrangements may be made between new radio users and existing users on a voluntary basis, within the provisions of the spectrum transition policy.

Transition Policy Provisions

The following provisions provide a reasonable notification period for the displacement of microwave assignments and allow for the timely deployment of WCS systems in the 2300 MHz band and FWA systems in the 3500 MHz band. Licensees who are awarded FWA and WCS licences by the auction, and existing and future FWA and WCS licensees issued licences on a FCFS licensing process, will be able to invoke the transition policy provisions to ensure timely access to spectrum.

These provisions for the displacement apply to incumbent point-to-point, fixed service stations in the bands 2305–2320 MHz, 2345–2360 MHz and 3475–3650 MHz.

The incumbents and associated station data can be found on the Spectrum Direct Web site at http://sd.ic.gc.ca in the Radio Frequency Search section. The displacement requirement does not apply to incumbent point-to-multipoint fixed service systems in the WCS spectrum, nor to FWA systems already licensed under the FCFS policy and existing fixed-satellite service earth stations, as outlined in Sections 5.1 and 5.2.

The provisions below advocate a "where necessary displacement" approach that links the displacement of fixed assignments to the WCS and FWA systems implementation and spectrum requirements. The provisions are as follows:

  1. Once the WCS and FWA licences have been awarded, the Department will be in a position, on behalf of the licensee, to issue formal notifications to the incumbent licensees for the displacement of affected fixed frequency assignments on an as-required basis.
  2. The displacement of existing fixed point-to-point frequency assignments and the dates indicated in the Department's notifications will be based on the minimum notification periods outlined in provision 3 and for spectrum necessary for the implementation of WCS and FWA systems. WCS and FWA operators will ensure that such displacements are required to meet WCS/FWA service implementation.
  3. Following the issuance of WCS/FWA licences, existing point-to-point, fixed stations affected by the implementation of WCS and FWA systems will be afforded a minimum notification period of three years for those systems operating in rural areas and one year for those operating in urban areas Footnote 1 which have a population of 25,000 or more.
  4. Fixed station operators will cease operation of the identified frequency assignments on or before the date in the served notification.
  5. Earlier displacement than the formal notification date may be achieved through mutually acceptable arrangements between the WCS and FWA operators and the affected fixed operator(s).
  6. In addition to provision 3 above, any existing Canadian point-to-point, fixed station assignment operating in the bands 2305–2320 MHz and 2345–2360 MHz within 50 km of the Canada/US border may be affected by WCS stations in the US. These fixed stations are afforded interference protection from US WCS operation for a period not exceeding three years after the end of the Canadian spectrum auction. After this time, these fixed stations may continue to operate on a no-protection basis with respect to US WCS.
  7. Industry Canada will retain oversight of the displacement process and will assist, where appropriate, affected fixed operators in identifying new replacement frequency assignments.
  8. In the event the WCS and FWA operators need to defer a notified displacement date, an amendment to the date should be identified to the Department as early as possible.
  9. A significant and/or unjustified delay in the use of released frequency spectrum by WCS and FWA licensees, after the displacement date, will be viewed by Industry Canada as a serious breach of commitment, particularly if fixed stations were displaced prematurely.
  10. Industry Canada will monitor the effectiveness of the spectrum policy provisions related to the displacement of fixed systems. In the long term, changes to these provisions and/or licence conditions may be made to ensure that the continued availability of spectrum for WCS and FWA systems is accomplished in the most efficient manner.


Footnote 1

Urban areas are defined in the Statistics Canada Census Dictionary and in A National Overview – Population and Dwelling Counts (data products: 1996 Census of Population) Catalogue number 93-357-XPB.

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