Consultation on Revisions to Spectrum Utilization Policies in the 3-30 GHz Frequency Range

January 2002

1.0 Introduction

The purpose of this paper announced in Gazette Notice, DGTP-001-02, is to invite public comments on spectrum policy proposals that address the use of certain bands in the 3-30 GHz frequency range.

In August 1997, the Department released a public consultation paper, entitled Proposals to Provide New Opportunities for the Use of the Radio Spectrum in the 1-20 GHz Frequency Range (DGTP-006-97). The document also announced policy decisions which were consequential to certain revisions to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations.

Since that time, spectrum utilization in the 1-3 GHz range has been addressed in two documents. Comments received in response to DGTP-006-97 were taken into consideration in the development of a spectrum policy entitled Amendments to the Microwave Spectrum Utilization Policies in the 1-3 GHz Frequency Rangewhich was announced in Notice DGTP-006-99 in October 1999. This utilization policy made accommodation for more services and applications, and included a transition policy to facilitate the introduction of mobile satellite services. A further consultation paper (DGTP-003-00) was used to develop a spectrum policy entitled Revisions to the Spectrum Utilization Policy for Services in the Band 2285-2483.5 MHz (DGTP-03-01). Spectrum was designated for Wireless Communications Services (WCS) and provisions were made to facilitate the introduction of licence-exempt microwave devices in this utilization policy.

There has been interest expressed for the introduction of new services and applications in bands above 3 GHz. In August 1998, Industry Canada announced a spectrum policy, entitled Spectrum Policy and Licensing Provisions for Fixed Wireless Access Systems in Rural Areas in the Frequency Range 3400-3700 MHz (DGTP-013-98) which represented the first set of amendments to the 1-20 GHz policies in the spectrum above 3 GHz.

In December 1998, the Policy Framework for the Provision of Fixed-satellite Services liberalized many aspects of the provision of fixed-satellite service (FSS) communications in Canada. As a consequence of this liberalization and of other related commitments made in the policy framework, Industry Canada has modified the existing authorization procedures for fixed earth stations and approval of foreign fixed-satellite services. The Department has already approved a number of foreign fixed satellites for use in Canada with some provisions on frequency bands.

A number of changes are occurring in this spectrum range. For example, the requirement for exclusive bands to support heavy route microwave systems in the 4 and 6 GHz range has greatly diminished with the availability of other transport options such as fibre systems. In the 11 and 14 GHz range there is considerable interest in the provision of new broadband access services via geostationary satellites. Similarly, at 18 and 28 GHz, there are plans for multimedia satellite systems to be in operation in the next one-three years. In addition to these requirements, there is a demand for spectrum for new terrestrial wireless access services including licence-exempt applications.

As a result of these and other developments, a review of various aspects of the bands between 3 and 30 GHz is warranted.

2.0 Discussion

The need for broadband access and the provision of advanced telecommunications services to business and consumers continue to grow globally. Telecommunication service providers have been considering wireless solutions for the expansion of existing networks as well as for the implementation of new services. There has also been a new focus on local network distribution or the provision of last-mile connections directly to end users via wireless systems. Wireless technology has continued to advance with more manufacturers taking an interest in developing integrated transmission/switching networkswith ATM and Internet Protocol Capability.

2.1 High Density Deployments

Until about five years ago, individual fixed service transmitting stations have typically been authorized on a site-by-site basis. This procedure involves coordination with stations of other systems or services within the band. Where the business case demands ubiquitous deployment on an ongoing basis, this procedure becomes less practicable. The level of interaction required to complete individual site-by-site coordination has a significant impact on the viability of service provision within an area, and can add untenable costs to the service provision particularly where mitigation techniques add complexity to the installation of customer premise equipment. In these circumstances it has become desirable for high density point-to-point and point-to-multipoint implementations to be authorized on the basis of a spectrum block within a geographic area (spectrum-area basis).

In the past five years, the Department has licensed a number of fixed service frequency bands on a spectrum-area basis for high density implementations to provide opportunities for businesses and consumers to benefit from a range of advanced communications access services from a number of carriers. The Department has licensed spectrum at 24 GHz, 28 GHz and 38 GHz for a variety of broadband wireless applications. This spectrum is expected to support short distance, high density, high capacity wireless connections of multiple T-1 channels (x of 1.544 Mb/s) which will most likely first serve businesses and apartment complexes. Some of these systems are being deployed to complement local wireline and fibre distribution networks.

In March 2000, the Department announced the winners of a licensing process for Multipoint Communication Systems (MCS) for fixed services in the band 2500-2596 MHz. This spectrum opened the door for a range of services including high-speed Internet access for consumers and small businesses. Spectrum at 2300 MHz was designated for Wireless Communication Services (WCS) in a recent utilization policy paper dealing with the frequency range 2285-2483.5 MHz (DGTP-003-01). A consultation document (DGRB-006-01) has recently been released for the policy framework to license spectrum at 2300 MHz for WCS and at 3500 MHz for Fixed Wireless Access (FWA). The Department expects that the demand for this spectrum will exceed the available supply in certain areas and that reliance on the marketplace to select licensees will be in the public interest. An auction was therefore selected as the most appropriate licensing process for these two bands.

The Department's Guidelines on the Licensing Process and Spectrum Release Plan (DGTP-04-99) identified a number of spectrum and orbital resources which, based on anticipated demand, would require a competitive licensing process. As discussed above, terrestrial services in spectrum licensed under a competitive process typically do not share well with other terrestrial or fixed-satellite services.

A similar situation exists with multimedia systems in the fixed-satellite service (FSS). As satellites are developed in higher frequency bands, the terminal size and cost are reduced making business opportunities for large scale deployment to small and medium enterprises (SME) and residential markets feasible. As with high density fixed systems, the deployment of high density FSS terminals is on an 'as required' basis. Consequently, coordination with terrestrial services becomes less practicable. A number of paired frequency bands are currently allocated to FSS on an exclusive basis in which high density terminal deployment is feasible without a requirement for coordination with terrestrial radio systems. These bands include portions of the Ku bands at 11.7-12.2 / 14-14.5 GHz and Ka bands at 19.7-20.2 / 29.5-30 GHz.

When some measure of exclusivity of operation by one service is desirable, it does not necessarily entail a requirement for "hard partitioning" between co-primary allocated services or even type of system in a band. On the contrary, more flexibility is retained with the "soft partitioning" approach which emphasizes the implementation of one service or type of system over another in a particular portion of the band, yet retains the potential for access by either service or system type. For example, while one service may require high density deployments as described above, access by another service in a lower density mode may be managed without undue constraint on the other service. Service rules and operating conditions may also be used to facilitate the implementation of one service or system over another. The designation of spectrum within the utilization policies developed for these bands will therefore include consideration of relative deployment densities of systems or services.

2.2 Low and Medium Capacity Fixed Systems

Low capacity (LC) and medium capacity (MC) point-to-point systems are usually an important part of network deployment, particularly in early stages of development, and for the extension of networks into rural areas. Traditional bands for LC and MC systems have been in the 1-3 GHz spectrum range, where good propagation conditions allow for reliable links over long distances in the order of 50 km. With the recent introduction of new services such as Personal Communications Services (PCS), Multipoint Communications/Distribution Systems (MCS/MDS), Mobile Satellite Services (MSS), Licence-Exempt devices and the resulting transition of fixed systems out of this spectrum, there is increased pressure to find new bands to support LC and MC systems. Plans for the introduction of Third Generation PCS (3G PCS) systems and international developments at 2.3 GHz with the introduction of Digital Audio Radio Satellite (DARS) services have reduced the spectrum available for conventional fixed service systems. It is quite likely, however, that some of these new services will also require low and medium capacity spectrum to support development.

There is currently very little spectrum available in bands below 10 GHz for LC systems. The Department had made some provisions for low capacity systems in the 7 GHz band (7125-7725 MHz), in anticipation that a transition from analogue to digital systems would make more spectrum available. This has not been the case, however, with the spectrum requirements in the 7 GHz band increasing in many areas.

Another aspect is the flexibility of current microwave radio equipment to provide scalable transmission capacities. It has become increasingly easy to expand system capacity as the network grows, upgrading from low to medium to high capacity traffic in an orderly progression. There are obvious advantages in terms of infrastructure to being able to grow within the same spectrum range.

For these reasons, this document will include proposals in many cases to allow for the accommodation of all capacities within the same band.

The current definition of traffic load for low capacity systems includes bit rates between 1.544 Mb/s (T-1) and 24.704 Mb/s (16 T-1). The Department seeks comments on the suitability of including traffic rates of less than 1.544 Mb/s in the definition of low capacity systems for microwave bands above 1 GHz.

2.3 Fixed-Satellite Service

Certain frequency band and geostationary satellite orbit (GSO) position combinations have been made available to Canada for fixed-satellite service networks and broadcasting-satellite networks as a result of international agreements and arrangements. In the discussions that follow, reference to the fixed-satellite service bands are the following:

  • "conventional bands"
    • 'C' band 3.7-4.2 // 5.925-6.425 GHz, and
    • 'Ku' band 11.7-12.2 // 14.0-14.5 GHz
  • "extended conventional band"
    • 'Ku' band 11.45-11.7 // 13.75-14.0 GHz
  • "allotment" bands
    • 'C' band 4.5-4.8 // 6.725-7.025 GHz, and
    • 'Ku' band 10.7-10.95 , 11.2-11.45 // 12.75-13.25 GHz.

There is also the

  • 'Ka' band 19.7-20.2 // 29.5-30 GHz (multimedia service links)
  • 'Ka' band 18.3-18.8 // 28.35-28.6 and 29.25-29.5 GHz (multimedia feeder links)

Other FSS bands are available in Canada, but without international arrangements governing the use of the GSO.

For the purpose of discussion in the following sections, feeder links (gateway) operations in the fixed-satellite service are defined as those operations that are primarily intended to interconnect networks. Service links are defined as those intended to originate or terminate traffic at user terminals.

Canada has four prime orbital positions as part of the Trilateral Agreement between Canada, the United States (U.S.) and Mexico to develop and operate FSS service in all regions of Canada, the North American market and beyond. These orbital positions are 107.3°W, 111.1°W, 114.9°W and 118.7°W longitude for FSS in the conventional C and Ku bands. The orbital positions at 107.3°W, 111.1°W and 118.7°W have been authorized for a new series of Anik F satellites. The orbital position at 114.9°W remains available for a new satellite in the C and Ku bands. Also, as part of the ITU agreement under Appendix 30B, Canada has been allocated the orbital positions 107.3°W, 111.1°W and 114.7°W to develop FSS in the allotment C and Ku bands.

Canada also has ITU filings for four orbital positions to develop and operate multimedia Ka band FSS service at 91°W, 107.3°W, 111.1°W and 118.7°W longitude. The Department granted approval for two proposed Ka band multimedia satellites at 91°W and 111.1E W to use the service to customer (service link) bands 19.7-20.2 GHz and 29.5-30.0 GHz, and to develop feeder link/gateway operations using the bands 18.3-18.8 GHz, 28.35-28.6 GHz and 29.25-29.5 GHz. The frequency bands align with recent designations by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to accommodate GSO multimedia FSS in the Ka band.

Canada opened its fixed-satellite services market for international telecommunications in December 1998. Full competition in the services for domestic (Canada-Canada) and Canada-U.S. markets was opened in March 2000. The liberalization of communications satellite services is an important component of the WTO agreement in advancing international telecommunications. Canada has met and exceeded its commitments to the WTO which include modernizing its licensing policies dealing with fixed-satellite services.

With the recent changes made to the Telecommunications Act, earth stations operated as telecommunications carrier transmission facilities are exempt from the Canadian ownership and control requirements. Also, receive-only earth stations can be licence exempt. Since the opening of this satellite service market, the Department has included more than 40 foreign satellites on its list of approved FSS satellites.

The Department notes that in the process to designate spectrum for Ka band services in the U.S. and Europe, the trend is to provide some measure of exclusivity for both FS and FSS services, as the demand evolves to smaller terminals. There is a need for ubiquitous deployment of terminals with minimal coordination requirements.

This consultation will address both fixed service and fixed-satellite service including the conventional and allotment bands. Views will be sought on the service requirements, congested spectrum areas especially for small very small aperture terminal (VSAT) and consumer terminal operation in urban areas and other issues.

2.3.1 Canadian Domestic Footnote C16A

The authorization of domestic and foreign satellites to offer service in Canada (on the list of approved FSS satellites) is based on meeting, among other things, the national requirements for spectrum allocations and utilization policies. Traditionally, authorization of FSS for domestic and Canada-U.S. traffic has been in the conventional C and Ku bands, although some foreign satellites providing international overseas traffic have included part of the extended conventional Ku bands for a limited number of gateways providing access to the Canadian market. To date, the Department has authorized more than 40 foreign satellites under its list of approved FSS satellites. The Department has fully opened the market to these satellites in the conventional C and Ku bands (3700-4200 / 5925-6425 MHz and 11.45-12.2 / 13.75-14.5 GHz) where spectrum policies for fixed service (FS) and FSS have been elaborated. The Department has restricted the operation of these satellites to large antennas, outside cities, in the allotment C and Ku bands (4500-4800/6725-7025 MHz and 10.7-11.7/12.75-13.25 GHz). The list of approved FSS satellites outlines this situation in note 1 for allotment bands. In December 2000, the Department issued revisions to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations adopting a domestic footnote C16A1, emphasising that customer service links would not be licensed in any of these bands prior to a public consultation which will consider the spectrum interests of all parties.

The text reflects the current practice by the Department in authorizing fixed-satellite service (FSS) applications in these bands. FSS satellites in these bands have to share the spectrum with fixed services (FS) and, in some cases, with an extensive number of fixed systems. Particular spectrum sharing requirements may be needed, especially for multipoint-fixed systems to evolve in urban areas.

Given that a number of considerations are being assessed in these bands with domestic and foreign satellite operators for non-Geostationary (NGSO) as well as GSO operations, the Department believes it was prudent in C16A to describe the present situation. The Department has received several letters of concern from FSS interests that it was foreclosing the full development of satellite service. It was not the intention of the Department to prejudge the outcome of future consultation in stating that the present practice be followed until the completion of such a consultation.

2.3.2 Domestic Coordination Considerations

The Department notes the FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making (FCC 00-369) treating a request for a ruling to require partial-band licensing of earth stations in the fixed-satellite service in bands shared on a primary basis with the terrestrial fixed service. In the United States, earth stations are coordinated and licensed for the entire allocated frequency band and for all azimuth directions pointing to visible locations on the geostationary orbital arc (full-band, full-arc basis). This is intended to provide the earth station operator the flexibility to protect communications with any approved satellites on the orbital arc and any transponder frequencies in the full band in order to meet operational requirements. The proposal made in the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) would "require an FSS earth station that has been licensed to operate in C or Ku band shared frequencies for 24 months or longer to demonstrate, in response to the denial of a request of an FS applicant to coordinate spectrum, that the FSS earth station denying coordination is using, has recently used, or has imminent plans to use the requested spectrum. If the FSS earth station licensee cannot make such a demonstration during the coordination, then the FS station may be successfully coordinated and the FSS earth station must not cause unacceptable interference to, nor is it protected from interference from, the FS station on that spectrum in the future." This is intended to improve the efficient use of spectrum by both FS and FSS.

In Canada, while the initial coordination contour for the earth station with respect to fixed service stations is developed on a full-band, full-arc basis, the Department protects only the assigned frequency and direction for the earth station. Coordination is typically carried out directly between a new applicant and the licence holder.

The Department will seek comments later in this consultation paper on the suitability of adopting similar spectrum sharing arrangements as in the FCC proposal in these bands.

2.4 Priority Use

The Spectrum Policy Framework document outlines spectrum uses which will be granted high priority and support in the access and use of the radio spectrum. These priority uses include radiocommunication systems vital to sovereignty, national security and defence, law enforcement, public safety and emergency services. Recent tragic events have demonstrated the need for high-quality communications capabilities to assist public safety and disaster relief agencies in performing their tasks. Current statements of existing requirements for public safety applications tie the effectiveness of such operations to mobile communications. Future looking requirements are aimed at taking advantage of emerging technologies to enhance public safety operations. Examples include the implementation of advanced communications capabilities such as video transmission and broadband data to mobile platforms.

The emphasis for these requirements tends to focus on bands below 3 GHz, however, for future services the Department considers that there may be an opportunity to facilitate access to spectrum by systems which support piority use applications in bands above 3 GHz . While no specific proposals are made in this document, comment is sought on possible opportunities to improve priority use communications capabilities and access to spectrum in the frequency range 3-30 GHz.

2.5 Structure of Issues Raised for Consultation

The consultation has been organized to follow the fixed-satellite service nomenclatures for the bands C, Ku and Ka in order to facilitate treatment of common issues between the fixed service and the fixed-satellite service. Comment will still be requested on a band-by-band basis to deal with considerations which are unique to each spectrum range.

Consultation on additional items specific to the fixed service, including new spectrum for licence-exempt devices and the introduction of Intelligent Transport Systems will be treated separately throughout the document.

3.0 The C Band

The bands between 3700 MHz - 7025 MHz are generally referred to as the C bands; the bands 3.7- 4.2 GHz and 5.925-6.425 GHz are the conventional C bands; and 4.5-4.8 GHz and 6.725-7.025 GHz are the allotment C bands.

3.1 Fixed-Satellite Service

In Canada, the predominant use by the FSS in the C band is in the conventional rather than the allotment portions of the band. Over the past 30 years, the orbital arc from 70°-140°W longitude has been populated by conventional C band satellites to serve markets in the Americas. As discussed previously, the WTO agreement has introduced competition in fixed-satellite market, and foreign fixed-satellite stations are being approved for use in Canada.

While the number of earth stations may increase as a result of satellite-service growth, the Department is not aware of any move toward higher-power satellites or the use of spot beams at C band which would facilitate the entry of earth stations using smaller antennas. The combination of low frequency band and 2° satellite orbit spacing is likely to keep earth station antenna sizes relatively large in comparison with services in higher frequency bands (Ku and future Ka bands) targeted to serve business and consumers directly with broadband access and VSAT networks. It is therefore anticipated that coordination of these FSS systems with the FS applications proposed for this spectrum will remain feasible.

The Department has received a request from Telesat to consider a transition of the conventional C band allocation from co-primary FS and FSS to a primary designation for fixed satellite. It was indicated that the exclusive operation by FSS in the C band would improve the economics of satellite services. The request emphasises the requirement to connect rural and remote communities with medium to high capacity transport links for Internet service where such access cannot be provided by terrestrial means. This would suggest that the satellite terminals would be located in areas where terrestrial services are not likely to appear. Consideration could also be given to segregation between fixed and fixed-satellite services in either mutually exclusive geographic area or for mutually exclusive portions of the frequency band. It should be noted that receive-only earth stations are presently exempt from licensing and that all fixed earth stations are exempt from Canadian ownership and control requirements under the Telecommunications Act.

As discussed in section 2.3.1, the Department has allowed use of spectrum beyond the conventional bands in the extended conventional bands and allotment bands. Operations using satellites in the allotment bands have been restricted to large antennas located outside urban areas as described in domestic footnote C16A. The footnote indicates that customer service links would not be licensed in any of these bands prior to a public consultation which will consider the interests of all parties. For example, the feeder link gateways for Globalstar Canada operating in the bands 5091-5250 MHz and 6875-7055 MHz are located in Smiths Falls, Ontario and Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, away from urban centres. Similarly, Inmarsat has been given authorization for operation in the extended conventional C band for the gateway at Weir near Lachute, Quebec. Having received strong representation from the satellite industry that satellite service (or earth station deployment) should not be limited in the allotment bands, the Department notes that there are three Canadian orbital positions (107.3°W, 111.1°W and 114.9°W longitude) allotted by the ITU for which these C bands can be used. Input will be requested under the individual bands as to whether opening the allotment bands for use in Canada on a coordinated first-come-first-served basis with the fixed service would stimulate the development of these orbital positions and advance satellite service competition (Canadian and foreign satellites).

3.2 Fixed Service

Until the mid 1990s, the 3700-4200 MHz (Lower 4 GHz ) and 5915-6425 MHz (Lower 6 GHz) bands were used for high capacity, point-to-point microwave systems, with certain cross-sections also using the bands 3500-3700 MHz and 4540-4900 MHz (Upper 4 GHz). These systems formed part of the backbone of our telecommunications network, handling intercity voice, data and video traffic. As a consequence, the Department had ensured over the years that this spectrum was available for heavy-route long haul microwave systems with certain traffic growth requirements. During the last decade, telecommunication companies have developed extensive intercity fibre optic facilities which carry most of the traffic once found on the heavy-route microwave systems. Fibre transmission capacity has surpassed microwave capacity by several folds, to the point where microwave links are used only in cases where difficult terrain or access problems prohibit fibre, or as emergency backup systems. With the introduction of competition, it was anticipated that new entrants would be interested in developing new heavy route microwave network backbones. However, this has not occurred. As a result, a number of microwave systems in these bands have been decommissioned and there has been little growth in either new systems or expansion of existing systems. The requirement for exclusive bands to support heavy route cross sections has greatly diminished with the advent of a number of intercity fibre optic systems.

As discussed in section 2.2, the introduction of new mobile and wireless access services in bands below 3 GHz has made it necessary to designate more spectrum for low and medium capacity transmission rates. There are also strong arguments for allowing scalable growth within the same band as microwave systems progress from low to medium and high capacity traffic requirements. There is also a demand for spectrum to support new wireless access applications (point-to-multipoint systems). The Spectrum Policy and Licensing Provisions for Fixed Wireless Access Systems in Rural Areas in the Frequency Range 3400-3700 MHz (DGTP-013-98) designated the band 3400-3700 MHz for fixed wireless access systems. Provisions for sharing the band 3500-3700 MHz are being reviewed in the consultation document for the policy and licensing framework for fixed wireless access services in the band 3400-3700 MHz. (DGRB-06-01).

3.2.1 Conventional C bands 3700-4200 MHz and 5925-6425 MHz

The fixed service and fixed-satellite service (space-to-Earth) share the band 3700-4200 MHz on a co-primary basis. The fixed service and fixed-satellite service (Earth-to-space) share the band 5925-6425 MHz on a co-primary basis.

The Department seeks comments on the following issues, potential directions and public interest:
  1. whether to migrate the conventional C band from co-primary FS and FSS to a primary designation for fixed-satellite service (discussed in section 3.1);
  2. whether to consider segregation between fixed and fixed-satellite services in either mutually exclusive geographic areas, or for mutually exclusive portions of the frequency bands (discussed in section 3.1);
  3. whether to designate additional low capacity and medium capacity spectrum for fixed service in either or both bands and to remove the traffic growth requirements in all or part of each band in order to facilitate new fixed service applications (discussed in section 3.2); and
  4. whether to consider coordination requirements similar to the FCC proposal for partial-band licensing of earth stations in the fixed-satellite service in bands shared on a primary basis with the terrestrial-fixed service (discussed in section 2.3.2).

3.2.2 Allotment C bands 4500-4800 MHz and 6725-7075 MHz

The fixed service and fixed-satellite service (space-to-Earth) share the band 4500-4800 MHz on a primary basis. Fixed service use in the bands 4545-4705 and 4735-4895 MHz is limited to high capacity systems. The bands 4460-4540 MHz and 4900-4990 MHz are restricted to use by the Government of Canada. The fixed service and fixed-satellite service (Earth-to-space) share the band 6425-7075 MHz on a primary basis. Fixed service use in the band 6425-6930 MHz includes medium and high capacity systems and studio transmitter links (STL).

Canada has three orbital positions (107.3°W, 111.1°W and 114.9°W longitude) available for which the allotment C bands can be used. Domestic footnote C16A presently limits the use of spectrum for fixed-satellite services in the bands 4500-4800 MHz and 6725-7075 MHz to large antenna earth stations located in areas outside of urban centres. It is noted that in the U.S., footnote US245 limits the use of 4500-4800 MHz to international intercontinental systems (meaning a few large antennas), since this band is used by the military.

The Department seeks comments on the following issues, potential directions and the public interest:
  1. to provide full flexibility for the deployment of fixed-satellite service earth stations in the allotment C bands in Canada on a coordinated first-come, first-served basis with the fixed service in order to stimulate the development of the available Canadian orbital positions and advance competition in satellite offerings, or to retain the application of domestic footnote C16A for FSS in the bands;
  2. whether to designate additional low capacity spectrum for fixed service in all or part of the band 6425-6930 MHz;
  3. whether to designate additional low capacity and medium capacity spectrum for fixed service and to remove the traffic growth requirements in the band 4500-4800 MHz in order to facilitate new fixed-service applications;
    OR
    whether to add a mobile service allocation to the band 4500-4800 MHz, with fixed and mobile services restricted to use by the Government of Canada (see section 3.2.3 below); and
  4. based on the response to item (iii), whether to consider coordination requirements similar to the approach described in the FCC proposal for partial-band licensing of earth stations in the fixed-satellite service in bands shared on a primary basis with the terrestrial-fixed service discussed in section 2.3.2.

3.2.3 Additional Proposal 4400-4990 MHz

The Department notes that in the U.S., the band 4400-4990 is allocated to the Federal Government for fixed and mobile services. U.S. footnote US245 limits FSS use of the band 4500-4800 MHz to international intercontinental systems. The band 4940-4990 MHz became non-Federal Government exclusive in 1999 and has been proposed for wireless communication services. Some interest has been expressed in the U.S. for using spectrum in this range for public safety applications. In Europe, the band 4400-4990 MHz is a harmonized military band for fixed and mobile services, and FSS in the band 4500-4800 MHz is not allowed in European NATO countries.

In Canada, the bands 4460-4540 MHz and 4900-4990 MHz fixed and mobile services are restricted to use by the Government of Canada. The fixed service use in the bands 4545-4705 and 4735-4895 MHz is limited to high capacity systems and subject to traffic growth requirements.

Current Designations

The Department proposes to realign the designation of the spectrum restricted to use by the Government of Canada to the bands 4400-4500 MHz and 4800-4990 MHz. Based on the response to this proposal and those described in the previous section, the Department will consider the realignment of the service use in the band 4500-4800 MHz. No specific change is proposed at this time for the addition of wireless communications services to the band 4940-4990 MHz.

Proposal

Comments are invited.

4.0 The Ku band

The Ku-band refers to frequencies within the bands between 10.7 GHz - 14.5 GHz. The conventional bands are 11.45-12.2 GHz, and 13.75-14.5 GHz. The allotment bands are 10.7-10.95 GHz, 11.2-11.45 GHz, and 12.75-13.25 GHz.

4.1 Fixed-Satellite Service

In Canada, the predominant use by the FSS in the Ku band is in the exclusive 11.7-12.2 / 14-14.5 GHz portions of the conventional band. As discussed previously, the WTO agreement has introduced competition in the fixed-satellite market and foreign fixed-satellite stations are being approved for use in Canada. The Department notes that there are seven filings in the U.S. for global Non-Geostationary (NGSO) FSS systems. It is anticipated that direct to subscriber applications within the Ku bands will continue to grow. One of the key aspects that has facilitated access directly to business is the small size of antenna required at these frequencies. In Canada, the bands 11.7-12.7 GHz and 13.75-14.5 GHz are exclusively for satellite services, however, there are two bands 10.7-11.7 GHz and 12.7-13.25 GHz (described in sections 4.2.2 and 4.2.3 respectively) which have a significant number of fixed systems. It is anticipated that coordination of these FSS systems with the FS applications proposed for this spectrum will be difficult.

As discussed in section 2.3.1, the Department has allowed use of spectrum beyond the conventional Ku bands in the extended conventional and allotment Ku bands. Operations using satellites in the bands 10.7-11.45 GHz and 12.7-13.25 GHz have been restricted to large antennas mostly located outside urban areas in accordance with domestic footnote C16A, which emphasises that customer service links would not be licensed in any of these bands prior to a public consultation which will consider the interests of all spectrum users. Having received strong representation from the satellite industry that fixed satellites or earth station deployment should not be limited in these bands, the Department notes that Canada has three orbital positions (107.3°W, 111.1°W and 114.9°W longitude) available for which the allotment Ku bands can be used. Input will be requested under the individual bands as to whether opening the allotment bands for wide deployment of earth stations in Canada on a coordinated first-come-first-served basis with the fixed service would stimulate the development of these orbital positions.

Two-way messaging and position tracking satellite systems (mobile satellite applications) currently operate in North America on a secondary basis using fixed satellite capacity in the bands 11.7-12.2 GHz (space-Earth) and 14.0-14.5 GHz (Earth-space). While these systems are designed to use GSO FSS, the introduction of NGSO FSS may increase the level of unavailability of these mobile satellite applications.

4.2 Fixed Service

The band 10.7-11.7 GHz is used by low, medium and high capacity digital line-of-sight radio systems in the fixed service. Typical deployments of microwave systems include single and multi-hop point-to-point configurations. These systems are authorized on a site-by-site and frequency-by-frequency basis.

The band 12.7-13.25 GHz is used by Very High Capacity Microwave (VHCM) point-to-multipoint, TV studio to transmitter links and TV pickup. The majority of these fixed microwave systems carry a number of analogue vestigial-sideband amplitude-modulated television signals on consecutive radio channels spaced 6 MHz apart. Typical implementations use the entire band to deliver a cable program package in a star configuration from a main cable head-end to cable distribution points in adjacent towns and communities. VHCM systems also provide cable TV feeds to distribution points within large cable television (CATV) systems. While these systems are authorized on a site-by-site and frequency-by-frequency basis, the level deployment of systems in this band can be considered as high density. However, in recent years with the wide deployment of fibre and coaxial CATV networks, a number of links in many VHCM systems have been decommissioned.

4.3 10.7-11.7 GHz

The fixed service and fixed-satellite service (space-to-Earth) share the band on a primary basis.

In the U.S., footnote NG104 limits 10.7-11.7 GSO FSS to international systems, and the band has been identified in two proceedings as a future home for FS point-to-point systems to be relocated from the 2 GHz band. A further Order (FCC-00-418) limits the implementation of NGSO FSS to gateway/feeder link operations, which have been carefully defined to exclude service links directly to customer premises.

The 1995 SP 1-20 GHz microwave spectrum policy made provision for low capacity systems to have access to spectrum in the band 10.95-11.45 GHz, limited to a maximum of 80 MHz (40 MHz in each direction). It was brought to the attention of the Department during the preparation of SRSP 310.7 that the provision for low capacity systems in the sub-bands 11.12-11.2 GHz and 11.62-11.7 GHz was preferable since it allowed pairing to occur in channels already designated for medium and high capacities. Comments were solicited on this proposal in the subsequent consultation in 1997 entitled Proposals to Provide New Opportunities for the Use of the Radio Spectrum in the 1-20 GHz Range (DGTP-006-97).

Based on the results of that consultation and regarding the potential use of FSS in these bands, the Department is making the following policy provision for the fixed service:
Low and very low capacity systems have access to the bands 11.115-11.195 GHz and 11.605-11.685 GHz.


The Department seeks comments on the following issues, potential directions and the public interest:
  1. whether to provide full flexibility for the deployment of fixed-satellite service earth stations in the band 10.7-11.7 GHz on a coordinated first-come-first-served basis with the fixed service in order to stimulate the development of the available Canadian orbital positions and advance competition in satellite offerings or to retain the domestic footnote C16A for FSS in the band and extend its application to the entire band 10.7-11.7 GHz;
  2. whether to consider coordination requirements similar to the approach described in the FCC proposal for partial-band licensing of earth stations in the fixed-satellite service in bands shared on a primary basis with the terrestrial-fixed service discussed in section 2.3.2; and
  3. whether there is any action that could or should be taken regarding MSS use of FSS transmissions for two-way messaging and position tracking satellite systems.

4.4 12.7-13.25 GHz

The fixed service and fixed-satellite service (Earth-to-space) share the band on a primary basis. The current utilization policy in SP1-20 GHz limits the use of the band by FSS systems to implementations which do not constrain the use of the band by very high capacity microwave (VHCM) systems used in conjunction with CATV systems.

The Department seeks comments on the following issues, potential directions and the public interest:

  1. whether to provide full flexibility for the deployment of fixed-satellite service earth stations in the band 12.7-13.25 GHz in Canada on a coordinated first-come, first-served basis with the fixed service (point-to-multipoint) in order to stimulate the development of the available Canadian orbital positions and advance competition in satellite offerings or to retain the application of domestic footnote C16A for FSS in the band; and
  2. whether to consider coordination requirements similar to the approach described in the FCC proposal for partial-band licensing of earth stations in the fixed-satellite service in bands shared on a primary basis with the terrestrial-fixed service discussed in section 2.3.2.


The Department also solicits comments on:

  1. the types of point-to-multipoint fixed system deployments which will continue to use the spectrum in the band 12.7-13.25 GHz; and
  2. the kind of new point-to-multipoint applications which are envisaged for this band, for example, could this spectrum provide broadband wireless access or wireless cable distribution to the home.
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