Consultation on Renewal Process for 2300 MHz and 3500 MHz Licences

Posted on Industry Canada website:

1. Intent

1. Through the release of this document, Industry Canada seeks to consult on the renewal process for licences for wireless communication services (WCS) and fixed wireless access (FWA). These services operate in the frequency bands 2305-2320 MHz and 2345-2360 MHz (2300 MHz band) and 3475-3650 MHz (3500 MHz band), respectively. Three auctions have been held to award licences in these bands: a simultaneous multiple round ascending (SMRA) auction in 2004, a two-phase residual auction in 2004 and 2005, and a sealed-bid, second-price auction in 2009. Licences awarded under these three auctions begin to expire in March 2014 and are within the scope of this renewal process.

2. Industry Canada is seeking comments concerning the renewal of these licences.

2. Mandate

3. The Minister of Industry, through the Department of Industry Act, the Radiocommunication Act and the Radiocommunication Regulations, with due regard to the objectives of the Telecommunications Act, is responsible for spectrum management in Canada. As such, the Minister is responsible for developing goals and national policies for spectrum resource use and for ensuring effective management of the radio frequency spectrum resource.

3. Legislation

4. The Minister of Industry is provided the general powers for spectrum management in Canada pursuant to section 5 of the Radiocommunication Act and sections 4 and 5 of the Department of Industry Act. The Governor in Council may make regulations with respect to spectrum management pursuant to section 6 of the Radiocommunication Act; these regulations have been prescribed under the Radiocommunication Regulations.

4. Background

4.1 Auctions of 2300 MHz and 3500 MHz Spectrum Licences

5. In September 2003, the Minister of Industry announced an auction of spectrum licences in the 2300 MHz and 3500 MHz bands. The 2300 MHz licences were defined as one paired block (15 MHz + 15 MHz), labelled Block W. The 3500 MHz licences were defined as three paired blocks (25 MHz + 25 MHz)—labelled Blocks D/H, E/J and F/K—and one unpaired block (25 MHz), labelled Block G (see Table 1). Both the 2300 MHz and the 3500 MHz bands were (and currently remain) licensed for use in Tier 4 service areas.

Table 1 – Spectrum Blocks
Spectrum Block Auction Label Lower Frequency (MHz) Upper Frequency (MHz)
D/H D 3475-3500 3575-3600
E/J E 3500-3525 3600-3625
F/K F 3525-3550 3625-3650
G G 3550-3575 N/A
W W 2305-2320 2345-2360

6. In February 2004, Industry Canada conducted an SMRA auction that awarded 392 of the 849 available licences to 22 successful bidders for a total of $11.2 million.

7. The 457 licences that remained unassigned after the February 2004 SMRA auction were made available through a two-phase residual auction process. The first phase of the auction, initiated in August 2004, resulted in the award of 144 spectrum licences, with bids totalling $876,000. The second phase of the auction, launched in January 2005, awarded 306 spectrum licences to 12 companies, with bids totalling $56.6 million.

8. In June 2009, a sealed-bid, second-price auction was held to award the 10 remaining licences (eight in the 3500 MHz band and two in the 2300 MHz band)Footnote 1. These licences were awarded to five bidders, whose bids totalled $123,970.

9. A total of 172 licences in the 2300 MHz band were awarded to 13 licensees for $18,451,686, making the weighted averageFootnote 2 of this value $0.0110 per MHz per population.

10. A total of 677 licences in the 3500 MHz band were awarded to 33 licensees for $50,422,614. The weighted average of this value is $0.0063/MHz/pop.

4.2 Incumbents in the 2300 MHz and 3500 MHz Bands

11. As indicated in the Policy and Licensing Procedures for the Auction of Spectrum Licences in the 2300 MHz and 3500 MHz Bands, revised in July 2004 (hereinafter referred to as “the Policy”Footnote 3), first come, first-served (FCFS) incumbents remain in these auctioned spectrum bands in some geographic areas. Section 5 of the Policy (“Incumbents, Transition Policy and Technical Considerations”) outlines the applicable transition requirements or coordination requirements, or both, of the incumbents and auction winners. Licensees that hold auctioned WCS or WCS spectrum must follow the provisions set out under sections 5.3.2 and 5.4.2 of the Policy when dealing with the FCFS incumbents. Licensees are reminded that the Policy is still in place, and that they are responsible for initiating the transition process, if required. No changes to the Policy are proposed at this time.

4.3 Extension of Deployment Condition and New Deployment Requirements

12. Auctioned licences include a requirement for the implementation of spectrum usage,Footnote 4 whereby the licensees are required to demonstrate that the spectrum has been put to use at a level acceptable to Industry Canada.

13. Initially, the Policy stated the following: “The licensee must demonstrate to the Department that their spectrum is being put to use at a level acceptable to the Department within five years of receipt of licence(s). The establishment of coverage to 50% of the population within the licensed service area, or some other indicator of usage that is acceptable to the Department . . . will be required.” (Note added emphasis.)

4.3.1 First Extension

14. A number of licensees requested an extension to the implementation requirement in 2009, citing both the lack of affordable and mature equipment as well as the state of technical rules governing the band in the United States as reasons for delayed deployment in the 2300 MHz band.

15. Although WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) equipment was available for use in the 3500 MHz band, licensees advised Industry Canada that problems in compatibility between different versions of the standard resulted in their not having sufficient confidence to deploy.

16. In July 2009, Industry Canada issued a letter to licenseesFootnote 5 that recognized the extenuating circumstances affecting deployment plans and granted all 2300 MHz and 3500 MHz licensees an extension to the deployment condition until the end of year eight of their licence term.

4.3.2 Second Extension

17. In early 2012, Industry Canada received several requests from licensees in the 2300 MHz and 3500 MHz bands for a further extension to the implementation requirement and for clarification regarding an acceptable level of deployment.

18. In July 2011, Industry Canada had requested an update on the status of deployment from all licensees whose licences were awarded through the first and second auctions, noting that for some licensees, year eight of their licence term would end in March 2012. Reported deployment was still very low; as many as 98% of licences in the 2300 MHz band and 75% of licences in the 3500 MHz band were not deployed.

19. Licensees in the 2300 MHz band indicated that significant technological uncertainty remained because of circumstances in the United States.Footnote 6 For the 3500 MHz band, licensees that had not deployed stated that although WiMAX equipment was available, most preferred to deploy Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology and were waiting for it to become commercially available.

20. After reviewing the requests, Industry Canada decided to extend the deadline to the end of each licence’s 10-year term and sent letters to all licensees in the 2300 MHz bandFootnote 7 and 3500 MHz band,Footnote 8 advising them of this decision. To increase business certainty, Industry Canada also clarified the required level of deployment. Specific deployment requirements for each Tier 4 licence area are now in place and will be used to assess the deployment condition of licence at the end of the licence term. These deployment requirements take into account the population size of the major urban centers within each tier, along with the population density. Tier 4 deployment requirements can be viewed on Industry Canada’s websiteFootnote 9 and in Annex A. The revised deployment condition of licence, effective as of March 29, 2012, applies to existing spectrum licences in both bands that were obtained through a competitive licensing process.

4.3.3 Proposed Changes to the Current Deployment Requirement

21. Some licensees have been deploying fixed links not servicing an end user directly in the bands (e.g., point-to-point microwave). Although the Policy does not prohibit this use, when the WCS and FWA spectrum was first designated, it was expected to be used primarily for the provision of broadband wireless access (BWA). Thus, the deployment requirements are currently designed for access technology, where coverage to population is an appropriate metric to ensure that the spectrum is being put to use.

22. For point-to-point or point-to-multipoint (not servicing an end user directly) deployments, an alternative metric is required. For the 2300 MHz band, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has established point-to-point deployment requirements of 15 links per million population by year seven of the second 10-year licence term and 30 links per million population by year nine. Industry Canada has used a similar requirement of 8 links per million populationFootnote 10 in the implementation of point-to-point links in the 24 GHz and 38 GHz bands, although the technical characteristics of spectrum above 20 GHz are significantly different from those in the 2300 MHz and 3500 MHz bands.

23. Applying such a requirement as an alternative to the existing deployment targets would enable licensees to meet the deployment conditions either by deploying wireless access services, as first envisioned in the spectrum utilization policies for the WCS and FWA bands, or by deploying other fixed services (e.g., point-to-point systems). This choice between two types of services recognizes the difficulties in securing equipment for wireless access in these bands.

24. Because this alternative deployment requirement is similar to the approach in the U.S. for point to-point systems and it has already been used for other bands in Canada; it may therefore be suitable for use in this instance.

25. Considering the similar frequency range and timelines, Industry Canada proposes to impose a deployment requirement of 15 links per million population per Tier 4 area for both the 2300 MHz and the 3500 MHz bands by the end of the term. This requirement for non-FWA fixed services is an alternative to the requirement for access technology (also known as percentage of population with coverage).

26. It is proposed that this condition will apply to the current licence term upon the release of the decision. The proposed wording of the condition of licence is as follows:

  • The licensee must demonstrate to Industry Canada that its spectrum is being put to use at a level acceptable to the Department by the end of the licence term. Licensees must demonstrate coverage at the level indicated on Industry Canada’s Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website: Tier 4 Deployment Requirements for 2300 and 3500 MHz Licences,

(1) Industry Canada seeks comments of the proposed wording of the condition of licence related to deployment. Comments are also sought on the following proposals that:

A. deployments of fixed links not servicing an end user directly should be considered as an alternative method to meet WCS and FWA spectrum deployment licence conditions; and

B. when a requirement is considered for fixed links not servicing an end user directly should be set at 15 links per million population, per Tier 4 area at the end of the licence term.

When proposing an alternative deployment requirement for either WCS or FWA, provide a rationale for each band.

Note that the questions intended for respondents’ comments will continue on page 14 of this consultation.

5. Spectrum in the 2300 MHz Band (WCS)

5.1 The 2300 MHz Band Internationally

27. Global deployment in the 2300 MHz band, although limited, has been gradually increasing. WiMAX equipment is currently deployed in a number of countries. It is expected that by 2014, several LTE networks with time-division duplexing (LTE TDD) using the 2300 MHz spectrum will be launched in the form of new deployments and WiMAX-to-LTE TDD migration — predominantly in China, India, Malaysia, Australia and South Korea. In particular, operators in India and China have been conducting field trials and demonstrations of LTE TDD technology through joint ventures with manufacturers and chipset vendors.

28. Although the amount of designated spectrum differs among countries, most band plans within the Asia-Pacific region consist of 90 to 100 MHz of contiguous spectrum. In Hong Kong, South Korea and Malaysia, 90 MHz (3 × 30 MHz) of contiguous spectrum was designated for mobile deployments. In India, a total of 40 MHz (2 × 20 MHz) of spectrum was allocated in each service area for Broadband Wireless Access (BWA). These band plans differ significantly from those in North America, where only 30 MHz (15 + 15 MHz) of non-contiguous spectrum is available.

29. In 1997 in the United States, the FCC auctioned and issued WCS licences for a 10-year term with a requirement to demonstrate “substantial service” by 2007. In 2006, the FCC granted a three-year extension (until July 21, 2010) on this requirement, in response to licensees’ claims that both a lack of equipment availability and uncertainty regarding the technical rules for the operation of satellite digital audio radio service (S-DARS) terrestrial repeaters had negatively affected the use and development of the band. The FCC did not extend the licence term at that time, thereby requiring licensees to file renewal applications before the end of the term in 2007.

30. In May 2010, the FCC imposed a freeze on the submission of competing applications (and rejected those previously filed) and granted the renewal for a 10-year term (to 2017). To help ensure deployment within the band, the FCC included enhanced deployment requirements in the renewals for both mobile and fixed operations.

31. To facilitate mobile service deployment in the WCS band, the FCC adopted new rulesFootnote 11 governing the operation of WCS and S-DARS, based on technical analyses and industry interference test results. However, the WCS Coalition filed a petition for reconsideration in September 2010, requesting that the FCC revisit and modify some of the new rules. The FCC has not yet addressed this petition.

32. In June 2012, AT&T and SiriusXM submitted to the FCC a joint proposal that reflects a compromise between WCS and S-DARS interests. This proposal is meant to enable the deployment of LTE systems in the WCS bands while protecting the S-DARS operations, which may lead to changes to the WCS band plan and spectrum usage policyFootnote 12 in the United States. These changes may influence the Canadian band plan and equipment ecosystem, as described in paragraphs 35 and 39.

5.2 Current 2300 MHz Spectrum Usage and Band Plan in Canada

33. In Canada, the 2300-2400 MHz band is allocated on a primary basis to the fixed, mobile and radiolocation services, and to the broadcasting-satellite service (sound) in the band 2310-2360 MHz.Footnote 13 The 2305-2320 MHz and 2345-2360 MHz portions were specifically identified and designated for WCS applications in fixed and mobile environments. The 2320-2345 MHz portion was designated for S-DARS and its complementary terrestrial broadcasting component.

Figure 1 - 2300 MHz Wireless Communication Services (WCS), 30 MHz

Figure 1 – 2300 MHz Wireless Communication Services (WCS), 30 

MHz (the long description is located below the image)
Description of Figure 1

This figure shows the band plan for auctioned 2300 MHz licences. There is one 15 + 15 MHz paired block, labelled A (2305-2320MHz) and A’ (2345-2360 MHz).

34. To facilitate the expansion and enhancement of innovative wireless services such as high-speed Internet, from 2004 to 2009 Industry Canada awarded licences for 15 + 15 MHz blocks in the WCS band. Although the expected use of the spectrum is primarily for the provision of BWA, licensees are free to deploy the spectrum for other applications under the mobile and fixed services, as long as they comply with the technical rules.

35. If new radio applications emerge in the WCS band, Industry Canada may consider revising both the spectrum utilization policy and the band plan for portions of the band.

5.3 Equipment Availability in the 2300 MHz Band

36. Prior to June 2001, spectrum at 2300 MHz in Canada was used for point-to-point networks. These systems were grandfathered following a licensing moratorium placed on 2285-2360 MHz in 2000.Footnote 14 Subsequently, the band was repurposed for WCS, a wireless access technology.Footnote 15 At that time, it was anticipated that the 2300 MHz band would be used predominantly for the provision of local broadband access in fixed point-to-multipoint configurations, although licensees could deploy a full range of systems, including mobile services. However, the restrictive technical specifications placed on mobile devices, such as the out-of-band emission limits (similar to those used in the United States), may have reduced the equipment availability for mobile services in Canada. Consequently, there has been virtually no deployment of mobile services in the band.

37. In order to facilitate operations more effectively through the enactment of mobile broadband technologies in the band, Industry Canada is updating the technical rules for WCS. Harmonizing the current rules with the rules that were newly adopted by the FCC in 2010 is a possibility that is also being considered. This review of the rules, undertaken in collaboration with the Radio Advisory Board of Canada, aims to draft rules that enable deployment of mobile broadband systems in the WCS band while also ensuring coexistence with services in the adjacent bands.

38. A significant ecosystem for LTE devices is expected to emerge in the 2300 MHz band, given that global interest is growing—especially in Asia-Pacific countries—to deploy broadband systems in this band.

39. The amount of non-contiguous WCS spectrum available in Canada and the United States contrasts with the wider contiguous blocks of spectrum in other global band plans. In addition, the service environment in Canada and the United States is different from other global band plans. Efforts must be made to minimize the potential mutual interference between WCS and S-DARS. It remains to be seen whether global equipment will develop further and whether the newly adopted FCC rules, along with any potential revisions to these rules (see paragraph 32), will aid the development of the Canadian equipment ecosystem in the WCS band.

5.4 Status of WCS Licence Deployment in Canada

40. Licensees in the band that are in compliance with the conditions of licence for the current term have an expectation of renewal unless a fundamental reallocation of the band or overriding policy need occurs.Footnote 16 Deployment levels may increase as a result of both the revised deployment requirements as well as the extension of the deployment condition to the end of the licence term. However, given the lack of equipment, additional deployment over the next two years is expected to be minimal.

Table 2 – Deployment for licences in the 2300 MHz band as of July 2011Footnote 17
Number of Licences Met Requirement Partial Deployment No Deployment
172 1 (0.6%) 3 (1.7%) 168 (97.7%)

6. Spectrum in the 3500 MHz Band (FWA)

6.1 The 3500 MHz Band Internationally

41. Currently, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Table of Frequency Allocations specifies differences among the three ITU regions for the services allocated in the 3400-3800 MHz band. While the fixed service is allocated on a primary basis for the whole band, the mobile service allocations are not harmonized and are therefore subject to different technical requirements in different ITU regions.

42. Many countries around the world are re-examining their 3400-3800 MHz band plans, or parts thereof, to facilitate the introduction of mobile services. So far, this band has been used in many countries to deploy various fixed services and nomadic applications, which provide voice and data services in rural or remote regions as well as urban areas.

43. In Europe, the band 3400-3600 MHz is used primarily for FWA deployments, and this band has numerous country-specific frequency arrangements. To facilitate the introduction of mobile and fixed communications networks, the Electronic Communications Committee of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations has adopted two harmonized frequency-division duplexing (FDD) and TDD frequency arrangements for the band 3400-3600 MHz, and one TDD frequency arrangement for the band 3600-3800 MHz.Footnote 18

44. In the United States, the radiolocation service operates in the band 3400 3650 MHz. The fixed and mobile services operate in the band 3650-3700 MHz, which is used for the deployment of terrestrial wireless broadband applications. As part of the National Broadband Plan,Footnote 19 the band 3550-3650 MHz is under review for a potential reallocation that would allow for the introduction of wireless broadband applications. This reallocation may be subject to large geographic limitations (known as exclusion zones) along the coasts and near specific military sites, owing to the presence of high-power government radar systems. At the time of this document’s publication, the FCC had not made a decision on this band.

6.2 Current 3500 MHz Spectrum Usage and Band Plan in Canada

45. As identified in the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations,Footnote 20 the following services have primary allocations or co-primary allocations, or both, in various sub ranges of the band 3400 3800 MHz: radiolocation, mobile, fixed and fixed satellite. The mobile service only has a co primary allocation in the band 3650-3700 MHz and is therefore outside the scope of this consultation. The band plans and technical requirements can be found in the Standard Radio System Plan (SRSP) 303.4, Technical Requirements for Fixed Wireless Access Systems in the Band 3475-3650 MHz.Footnote 21

46. FWA systems are licensed under the fixed service. Licensees may deploy fixed, point to multipoint and point-to-point applications in support of FWA applications, including ancillary portable terminals.

47. Between 2004 and 2009, Industry Canada auctioned the FWA Blocks D, E, F and G in the band 3475 3650 MHz. The 175 MHz of spectrum was auctioned in three paired 25 + 25 MHz blocks (D and H; E and J; F and K) and one stand-alone 25 MHz block (G). These licences were issued on a Tier 4 basis.

Figure 2 — 3500 MHz Fixed Wireless Access (FWA)

Figure 2 – 3500 MHz Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) (the long 

description is located below the image)
Description of Figure 2

This figure shows the band plan for auctioned 3500 MHz licences. It shows the 175 MHz of spectrum from 3475 MHz to 3650 MHz, which is broken into 7 x 25 MHz blocks. The blocks are labelled as follows: D (3475-3500 MHz), E (3500-3525 MHz), F (3525-3550 MHz), G (3550-3575 MHz), H (3575-3600 MHz), J (3600-3625 MHz), and K (3625-3650 MHz). Blocks D and H, E and J, and F and K are paired. Block G is a stand-alone 25 MHz block.

6.3 Equipment Availability in the 3500 MHz Band

48. Although WiMAX-certified base stations for the 3500 MHz band have been available since 2006, the majority of customer premise units (e.g., USB modems, laptops and tablets) began to be certified in 2009. To date, deployments in the 3500 MHz band are fixed and portable, and various versions of WiMAX are used in most of them.

49. At the moment, there is no commercially available 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) LTE equipment for this band.Footnote 22 However, many countries are evaluating their band plans for the 3500 MHz band with a view to allow mobile service in the band. Therefore, an LTE equipment ecosystem is expected to evolve over the next few years as these new band plans are developed internationally and as operators begin deploying in this band. LTE standards support both FDD and TDD modes, and dual mode LTE FDD/TDD chipsets are expected to become available, thereby allowing operators to offer handsets that can operate in existing FDD networks and in newer TDD networks.

50. Given the likelihood that mobile equipment will soon be readily available for the 3500 MHz band, Industry Canada will need to consider the policies and technical rules that are currently in place for this band.

6.4 Impact of Potential Changes to the Band

51. In light of the international developments discussed above, Industry Canada expects significant changes over the next few years to international allocations for the mobile service and frequency arrangements in the 3500 MHz band. The Department will consider changes to the band plan and will modify current allocations in the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations to harmonize with those of other countries, as appropriate. The Department reserves the right to decide whether to implement a new band plan, as well as the right to take any action necessary to ensure that a new band plan can be implemented.

52. Licensees in the 3500 MHz band are hereby given advance notification that changes to the existing allocation and band plan may be considered in the next two to three years. Changes may include review of, and possibly revision to, the spectrum utilization policy, the band plan and the authorized frequencies. A consultation process will precede any such changes.

6.5 Status of FWA Licence Deployment in Canada

53. Licensees in the band that are in compliance with the conditions of licence have an expectation of renewal unless a fundamental reallocation of the band or overriding policy need occurs. The second extension and the new deployment requirements are expected to provide additional opportunities for the licensees to comply with the conditions of licence.

Table 3 – Deployment for licences in the 3500 MHz band as of July 2011Footnote 23
Number of Licences Met Requirement Partial Deployment No Deployment
758 128 (16.9%) 68 (9.0%) 562 (74.1%)

7. Renewal Options and Considerations

54. Currently, most licences in the 2300 MHz and 3500 MHz bands are nearing the end of the term. As stated in the conditions of licence,Footnote 24 licensees have an expectation of renewal unless a breach of licence condition has occurred, a fundamental reallocation of spectrum to a new service is required, or an overriding policy need arises.

55. The following two options are presented with the purpose of soliciting comments. Note that different renewal options may be chosen for each band.

7.1 Option 1: Extend Initial Licence Term

56. The first proposed option is to issue an extension for all licences. This extension would also apply to the revised deployment requirement.

57. This option, which would provide licensees in the 2300 MHz band additional time to meet the revised deployment requirement, recognizes the current lack of available equipment in that band.

58. This option would also provide licensees in the 3500 MHz band additional time to meet the deployment requirements and acknowledges the potential international changes in the band plan. Equipment (e.g., WiMAX) has been available in this band; however, some licensees have not yet deployed because they prefer to wait for LTE equipment, which is expected to be available in the near future.

59. Within Option 1, Industry Canada proposes a choice between two possible variations for the extension. The first variation would extend the current terms by three years for all licensees. The second variation would extend all licence terms to the same fixed date, i.e., December 2017. This variation acknowledges the staggered licence expiry dates (between March 2014 and September 2016), which were a result of the elapsed time between the first and second auction. Both of these variations on the extension would provide increased certainty pertaining to band changes and equipment availability. The current conditions of licenceFootnote 25 would remain in effect, with the exception of the deployment requirement (see Section 4.3.3), pending the decisions resulting from this consultation. The deadline for deployment would be extended for the same period (i.e., three years) if the current proposal is adopted.

60. Licensees would have to demonstrate compliance with the revised deployment requirements by the end of the proposed extended licence term.

61. For this option, fees would not be applicable, both because the initial term of the auctioned licences would be changed from 10 years to 13 years, and because the auction bid payment would still stand in lieu of licence fees.

7.2 Option 2: Issue Licences for New Term

62. Under the second proposed option, a new licence would be issued for a new term. This would be done through the renewal process, assuming that the licensee is in compliance with the conditions of licence—including the revised deployment requirementsFootnote 26—at the end of the initial term.

63. If this option is chosen, Industry Canada proposes that the new term will be for 10 years and advises licensees that the licence terms and conditions, including authorized frequencies, may change during that term. As stated in section 6.4, changes may include review of, and possibly revision to, the spectrum utilization policy, the band plan and the authorized frequencies.

64. For instances in which licensees can demonstrate that they have deployed infrastructure but coverage to the population or the number of links in the tier in question is less than the requirement, licensees could be permitted to apply for a new licence for the portion of the service area that has coverage. At the discretion of the Department, upon receipt of the application to modify the existing licences, new subdivided licences could be issued if coverage to the population meets or exceeds the deployment requirement within the reduced service area. The resulting unassigned subdivided licences would be returned to Industry Canada to be made available at a later date. Any reductions to service areas (in order to meet the deployment requirement) would be made at the discretion of the Department.

65. For instances in which licensees can submit plans demonstrating that they can achieve compliance in the near future, Industry Canada may consider issuing a one-year licence on a case by case basis.

66. For instances in which deployment is nil, licensees would not be eligible for a new licence under the renewal process.

67. If licensees meet their deployment requirement, no additional deployment requirement will apply to a new licence issued under the renewal process.

68. This option enforces the conditions of licence in place at the time of initial issuance (two extensions notwithstanding), and provides increased certainty, transparency and predictability for licensees. It also balances stakeholder interests by providing an opportunity for licensees to deploy, and it allows Industry Canada to reassign unused licences.

69. A licensing process would be established for all licences, other than those assigned through the renewal process.

70. In terms of the spectrum licence fees, the Framework for Spectrum Auctions in Canada (herein referred to as the Auction Framework) states: “For licences issued through a renewal process, licence fees that reflect some measure of market value will apply.”Footnote 27 Should new licences be issued under Option 2, a separate consultation will be launched to propose annual licence fees that would come into effect once established.

8. Proposed Changes to the Licence Term Condition of Licence

71. The licence term condition was updated in the Auction Framework (revised in March 2011)Footnote 28 in order to clarify that licensees have a high expectation of renewal. The rationale for this update can be found in section 3.3.2 of Decisions on the Revisions to the Framework for Spectrum Auctions in Canada and Other Related Issues.Footnote 29 The proposed wording of the updated condition of licence is as follows:

This licence will expire on the date indicated above, with a high expectation to renew licences for subsequent terms unless a breach of licence condition occurs; a fundamental reallocation of spectrum to a new service is required, or, an overriding policy need arises. (Note added emphasis.)

The process for issuing licences after this term and any issues relating to renewal will be determined by the Minister of Industry following a public consultation.

Industry Canada invites comments on the options for renewal in the 2300 MHz and 3500 MHz bands. Refer to the following questions (as well as Question 1, found on page 5 of this consultation) when submitting comments.

(2) For the 2300 MHz band, which of the two options is preferred?

(3) For the 3500 MHz band, which of the two options is preferred?

In responding to the following questions, provide supporting rationale for each band separately.

(4) For Option 1 (detailed in section 7.1 of this consultation):

  • A. Should licence terms be extended?
    • a. If so, should they be extended by the same length for all licensees?
      • i. Is three years an appropriate extension?
    • b. Or, should the licence terms be extended to a fixed date for all licensees?
      • i. Would December 2017 be an appropriate extension date?
  • B. Should the deployment requirement also be extended to the end of the proposed term?
  • C. In considering an extension of the licence term, do you expect equipment in the 2300 MHz band to become available soon enough to achieve the deployment requirements by December 2017?
  • D. In considering an extension of the licence term, do you expect LTE equipment in the 3500 MHz band to become available soon enough to achieve the deployment requirements by December 2017?
  • E. Are there any additional considerations that should be taken into account by Industry Canada?

(5) For Option 2 (detailed in section 7.2 of this consultation):

  • A. Given the potential upcoming changes, is 10 years an appropriate term for new licences issued through the renewal process?
  • B. Should deployment requirements apply to new licences under the renewal process? If so, what should the deployment requirements be?
  • C. Are there any additional matters that should be considered by Industry Canada when issuing a new licence for a new term?

(6) Are there any other options for the licence renewal process that Industry Canada should consider?

(7) Industry Canada invites comments on the proposed wording of the condition of licence related to the licence term (detailed in section 8 of this consultation).

9. Next Steps

72. Industry Canada will review the comments received and publish its decision.

10. Submitting Comments

73. Respondents are requested to provide their comments in electronic format (WordPerfect, Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF) to the following email address:

74. Written submissions should be addressed to Manager, Emerging Networks, DGSO, Industry Canada, 300 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0C8.

75. All submissions should cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, the publication date, the title and the notice reference number (DGSO-006-12). Parties should submit their comments no later than December 17, 2012, to ensure consideration. After the close of the comment period, all comments received will be posted on Industry Canada’s Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website at

76. Industry Canada will also provide interested parties with the opportunity to reply to comments from other parties. Reply comments will be accepted until January 30, 2013.

77. After the initial comment period, Industry Canada may, at its discretion, request additional information if needed to clarify significant positions or new proposals. Should additional information be requested, the reply comment deadline may be extended.

11. Obtaining Copies

78. All of the spectrum-related documents referred to in this consultation are available on Industry Canada’s Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website at

79. For further information concerning the process outlined in this document or any other related matters, contact:

Manager, Emerging Networks
Spectrum Management Operations Branch
Industry Canada
300 Slater Street, 15th floor
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0C8
Telephone: 613-998-9707
Fax: 613-991-3514

Annex A – Tier 4 Deployment Requirements for 2300 and 3500 MHz Licences

The minimum population coverage deployment requirement takes into consideration the population size of the major urban centers within each tier, as well as the population density of each tier. All Tier 4 areas with a population density of 50 people/km2 or greater have a coverage requirement of 50% of the population of the tier.

For point-to-point deployment, the proposed requirement is 15 links per million population, with the minimum requirement set at one link.

Each licensee must demonstrate to Industry Canada that by the end of the licence term, its spectrum is being used at a level acceptable to the Department. Licensees must demonstrate coverage to the level indicated, or to the number of links in this Annex.

Tier 4 Service Area Name Population Minimum Population Coverage Minimum Proposed Number of Links
4-001 St. John’s 223,381 50% 3
4-002 Placentia 19,464 20% 1
4-003 Gander/Grand Falls/Windsor 159,526 10% 2
4-004 Corner Brook/Stephenville 82,694 30% 1
4-005 Labrador 28,217 30% 1
4-006 Charlottetown 86,793 30% 1
4-007 Summerside 48,501 30% 1
4-008 Yarmouth 62,591 40% 1
4-009 Bridgewater/Kentville 140,124 40% 2
4-010 Halifax 389,094 50% 6
4-011 Truro 56,095 40% 1
4-012 Amherst 36,091 40% 1
4-013 Antigonish/New Glasgow 76,898 40% 1
4-014 Sydney 147,044 30% 2
4-015 Saint John 140,331 50% 2
4-016 St. Stephen 27,012 15% 1
4-017 Fredericton 152,323 30% 2
4-018 Moncton 151,240 30% 2
4-019 Miramichi/Bathurst 169,181 30% 3
4-020 Grand Falls 28,528 20% 1
4-021 Edmundston 28,374 30% 1
4-022 Campbellton 32,006 20% 1
4-023 Matane 118,114 15% 2
4-024 Mont-Joli 41,770 15% 1
4-025 Rimouski 52,049 15% 1
4-026 Rivière-du-Loup 86,340 15% 1
4-027 La Malbaie 29,403 50% 1
4-028 Chicoutimi-Jonquière 217,187 40% 3
4-029 Montmagny 59,520 20% 1
4-030 Québec 780,745 50% 12
4-031 Sainte-Marie 48,205 20% 1
4-032 Saint-Georges 67,337 30% 1
4-033 Lac-Mégantic 24,923 30% 1
4-034 Thetford Mines 42,871 30% 1
4-035 Plessisville 21,894 25% 1
4-036 La Tuque 16,300 30% 1
4-037 Trois-Rivières 252,368 30% 4
4-038 Louiseville 22,226 30% 1
4-039 Asbestos 30,204 20% 1
4-040 Victoriaville 49,457 50% 1
4-041 Coaticook 13,362 30% 1
4-042 Sherbrooke 216,182 30% 3
4-043 Windsor 16,443 30% 1
4-044 Drummondville 96,533 50% 1
4-045 Cowansville 27,044 30% 1
4-046 Farnham 27,861 25% 1
4-047 Granby 86,541 50% 1
4-048 St-Hyacinthe 83,957 50% 1
4-049 Sorel 55,994 50% 1
4-050 Joliette 135,893 30% 2
4-051 Montréal 3,756,709 50% 56
4-052 Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts 61,197 10% 1
4-053 Hawkesbury 62,398 30% 1
4-054 Mont-Laurier/Maniwaki 45,928 10% 1
4-055 Ottawa 1,202,839 50% 18
4-056 Pembroke 77,757 15% 1
4-057 Arnprior/Renfrew 30,397 15% 1
4-058 Rouyn-Noranda 40,512 30% 1
4-059 Notre-Dame-du-Nord 17,427 15% 1
4-060 La Sarre 20,272 30% 1
4-061 Amos 24,982 30% 1
4-062 Val-d'Or 43,487 30% 1
4-063 Roberval/Saint-Félicien 61,573 40% 1
4-064 Baie-Comeau 48,423 40% 1
4-065 Port-Cartier/Sept-Îles 47,407 40% 1
4-066 Chibougamau 40,400 20% 1
4-067 Cornwall 65,921 50% 1
4-068 Brockville 69,968 30% 1
4-069 Gananoque 12,901 40% 1
4-070 Kingston 162,711 50% 2
4-071 Napanee 39,509 40% 1
4-072 Belleville 145,085 40% 2
4-073 Cobourg 59,699 30% 1
4-074 Peterborough 151,081 50% 2
4-075 Lindsay 41,911 30% 1
4-076 Minden 17,819 30% 1
4-077 Toronto 5,635,828 50% 85
4-078 Alliston 99,207 30% 1
4-079 Guelph/Kitchener 580,963 50% 9
4-080 Fergus 26,072 50% 1
4-081 Kincardine 173,663 15% 3
4-082 Listowel/Goderich 84,491 15% 1
4-083 Fort Erie 28,451 50% 1
4-084 Niagara-St. Catharines 326,520 50% 5
4-085 Haldimand/Dunnville 35,936 50% 1
4-086 London/Woodstock/St. Thomas 607,564 50% 9
4-087 Brantford 122,156 50% 2
4-088 Stratford 49,496 50% 1
4-089 Chatham 74,209 50% 1
4-090 Windsor/Leamington 376,213 50% 6
4-091 Wallaceburg 32,820 30% 1
4-092 Sarnia 124,825 50% 2
4-093 Strathroy 41,914 50% 1
4-094 Barrie 274,354 50% 4
4-095 Midland 44,114 50% 1
4-096 Gravenhurst/Bracebridge 54,503 30% 1
4-097 North Bay 102,831 40% 2
4-098 Parry Sound 19,422 30% 1
4-099 Elliot Lake 31,261 35% 1
4-100 Sudbury 172,605 50% 3
4-101 Kirkland Lake 34,740 25% 1
4-102 Timmins 43,906 30% 1
4-103 Kapuskasing 41,662 25% 1
4-104 Kenora/Sioux Lookout 61,920 40% 1
4-105 Iron Bridge 22,567 25% 1
4-106 Sault Ste. Marie 81,654 50% 1
4-107 Marathon 29,468 30% 1
4-108 Thunder Bay 121,372 50% 2
4-109 Fort Frances 22,072 35% 1
4-110 Steinbach 45,879 30% 1
4-111 Winnipeg 722,206 50% 11
4-112 Lac du Bonnet 53,537 15% 1
4-113 Morden/Winkler 38,697 30% 1
4-114 Brandon 92,736 20% 1
4-115 Portage la Prairie 20,073 50% 1
4-116 Dauphin 79,729 10% 1
4-117 Creighton/Flin Flon 21,360 25% 1
4-118 Thompson 44,066 30% 1
4-119 Estevan 44,562 20% 1
4-120 Weyburn 21,658 40% 1
4-121 Moose Jaw 56,844 25% 1
4-122 Swift Current 47,453 25% 1
4-123 Yorkton 66,760 20% 1
4-124 Regina 216,558 40% 3
4-125 Saskatoon 237,314 40% 4
4-126 Watrous 29,426 15% 1
4-127 Battleford 91,099 15% 1
4-128 Prince Albert 130,757 25% 2
4-129 Lloydminster 30,719 50% 1
4-130 Northern Saskatchewan 33,286 15% 1
4-131 Medicine Hat/Brooks 89,056 30% 1
4-132 Lethbridge 156,171 40% 2
4-133 Stettler/Oyen/Wainwright 52,089 20% 1
4-134 High River 58,713 40% 1
4-135 Strathmore 38,332 40% 1
4-136 Calgary 994,628 50% 15
4-137 Red Deer 151,548 25% 2
4-138 Wetaskiwin/Ponoka 46,931 25% 1
4-139 Camrose 34,573 30% 1
4-140 Vegreville 14,407 35% 1
4-141 Edmonton 943,011 50% 14
4-142 Edson/Hinton 45,052 30% 1
4-143 Bonnyville 73,729 25% 1
4-144 Whitecourt 27,135 50% 1
4-145 Barrhead 22,025 50% 1
4-146 Fort McMurray 43,046 50% 1
4-147 Peace River 82,673 20% 1
4-148 Grande Prairie 75,598 25% 1
4-149 East Kootenay 56,284 15% 1
4-150 West Kootenay 76,630 15% 1
4-151 Kelowna 299,947 35% 4
4-152 Vancouver 2,201,446 50% 33
4-153 Hope 21,930 25% 1
4-154 Victoria 389,247 50% 6
4-155 Nanaimo 165,741 40% 2
4-156 Courtenay 106,015 40% 2
4-157 Powell River 26,889 45% 1
4-158 Squamish/Whistler 59,781 35% 1
4-159 Merritt 15,362 40% 1
4-160 Kamloops 92,024 40% 1
4-161 Ashcroft 16,503 15% 1
4-162 Salmon Arm 46,184 45% 1
4-163 Golden 7,154 40% 1
4-164 Williams Lake 41,149 25% 1
4-165 Quesnel/Red Bluff 24,613 40% 1
4-166 Skeena 63,902 40% 1
4-167 Prince George 95,334 40% 1
4-168 Smithers 40,770 20% 1
4-169 Dawson Creek 60,717 30% 1
4-170 Yukon 28,674 20% 1
4-171 Nunavut 26,745 20% 1
4-172 Northwest Territories 37,288 20% 1
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