Framework for the Use of Certain Non-broadcasting Applications in the Television Broadcasting Bands Below 698 MHz

9. Low-Power Apparatus, Including Wireless Microphones

Industry Canada consulted on the use of LPA, including wireless microphones. More specifically, it consulted on:

  • the appropriate authorization mechanism, including options related to licensed or licence-exempt use;
  • whether Industry Canada should identify specific spectrum for use by LPA; if so, how much should be identified; and if the operation of licence-exempt LPA should be restricted to this spectrum;
  • the proposal to collect specific "time and location of use" data based on voluntary registration in order to obtain the necessary level of detail of information to provide protection from TVWS devices and on the proposal that eligibility to register for such protection be open to all users of LPA rather than to certain user communities only; and
  • the appropriate protection criteria to protect LPA from interference from TVWS devices.

9.1 Summary of Comments

  • Almost all respondents support allowing licence-exempt operation of LPA on a no-protection, no-interference basis, but with the option for users to apply for a licence in exchange for interference protection from TVWS devices.
  • Neul would prefer that separate rules for LPA be phased out, noting that TVWS devices can provide the same functionality currently provided by LPA. The RABC comments that the status quo, where all LPA users require licences, is untenable because most users do not apply for licences and Industry Canada has had no effective way of policing compliance. Shure urges Industry Canada to implement LPA reforms with a view to developing a licence framework for LPA that would streamline the licensing process.
  • Most respondents support exclusively allocating two TV broadcast channels in each market as "safe haven" channels for LPA in which no TVWS device operation is permitted.
  • Most TVWS proponents believe that the registration database could accommodate all options for LPA under discussion.
  • Axia NetMedia believes that the cost of collecting time and location of use data will be far more than the value of the data collected, and thus does not believe that it is required. RIM suggests that the time and location of use would need to be defined as part of the LPA operation registration and that devices operating outside the "safe haven" channels should be registered for the times and locations that will actually be used. RIM suggests that the registration be subject to a daily renewal.

9.2 Discussion

Respondents generally agree on the need for a change to the current situation in which a licence is required for use of any LPA. Almost all respondents prefer the option to allow LPA on a licence-exempt basis, but with the option to apply for a licence in cases where the operator determines that enhanced communication reliability is required (e.g. when recording TV programs). This would provide protection from harmful interference from TVWS devices by including such licensed LPA in the TVWS databases.

Although some comments suggest that LPA become TVWS devices themselves, the TVWS technology would not allow for cases where reliable LPA operation is needed.

Therefore, based on the comments received, Industry Canada will implement provisions for licence exemption of LPA while continuing to allow LPA operators to apply for a licence under the existing process where the operator determines that enhanced reliability is required.

Licence-exempt use of LPA will not be included in the TVWS database and will not receive protection from TVWS devices. This approach will introduce a small risk of interference; however, this risk will be compensated by the lack of fees and administrative process. Industry Canada anticipates that this option will be the favoured one for most of the LPA operators who are currently operating without a licence.

Industry Canada anticipates that most current LPA licensees will desire enhanced reliability and will therefore retain their licences. However, given that some LPA licensees receive broad geographic authority, or may only operate intermittently, more data than is currently collected during radio licensing may be needed in order to be able to protect these systems from TVWS device interference at the correct time and location. Therefore, licensed LPA operators will be asked to provide information on the exact timing and location of their operations with the TVWS databases. The details of how this will be done will be the subject of detailed rule development through Industry Canada’s established processes following the publication of this decision.

Database administrators will not be permitted to charge fees for registration of licensed LPA, and they will be required to share data on protected LPA to ensure interference protection from any TVWS devices, regardless of the TVWS database with which they are registering.

TVWS devices are not protected from LPA interference regardless of whether or not the LPA is licensed.

The consultation also suggested setting aside up to two TV channels in each market in order to provide a "safe haven" from TVWS devices for LPA operation. The set-aside approach, which was supported by almost all respondents, would have been harmonized with the United States. However, Industry Canada notes that legislation has since been passed in the United States mandating an incentive auction process for the possible repurposing of some of the UHF TV broadcast spectrum for mobile broadband systems.

Until such time that the spectrum environment within the United States in the frequency ranges below 698 MHz has stabilized, it would be premature to set aside channels for LPA in Canada, knowing that it may be necessary to make changes. In addition, Industry Canada notes that there is no eligibility restriction on the licensing of LPA in Canada, unlike in the United States. As a result of the easier availability of licensing as a protective measure from TVWS, there is not the same need in Canada to designate "safe haven" channels for LPA. Therefore, Industry Canada will not designate any "safe haven" channels for LPA at this time.

Decision related to the licensing option for LPA:

Industry Canada will allow LPA on both a voluntary licensed and licence-exempt basis. Operators of licensed LPA will be asked to register their operation with the TVWS databases in order to receive protection from harmful interference from TVWS devices.

Industry Canada will update its detailed rules for LPA through its established processes, including consulting with stakeholders.

10. Changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations

Allocating frequencies is an important step in developing spectrum utilization policies that foster the implementation of new radiocommunication services. Modifications to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations (CTFA) are intended to reflect the public interest by introducing new wireless services that benefit Canadians and that respond to marketplace demands.

In previous secons of this document, several decisions are presented in regard to the licensing of LPA, the introduction of licence-exempt TVWS devices and the continued use of RRBS.

Comments were sought on proposed changes to the CTFA to reflect the licensed use of RRBS and LPA.

10.1 Summary of Comments

  • Few respondents commented on the proposed allocation changes, but of those respondents who did so, most are comfortable with the proposed changes to the CTFA.
  • Some respondents suggest creating a mobile co-primary allocation in the band 470-698 MHz in order to lay the groundwork for possible future uses of this spectrum.
  • RIM suggests that the RRBS footnote be revised to indicate that only existing RRBS in operation will be protected and to specify that as of a certain date, no new RRBS will be authorized based upon the possibility of grandfathering RRBS.

10.2 Discussion

There is no need for an allocation in the CTFA to reflect the introduction of TVWS devices or to reflect any licence-exempt use, including licence-exempt LPA. Industry Canada also notes that footnotes 5.293 and 5.297 introduce primary allocations to both the mobile and fixed services in the bands 470-608 MHz and 614-698 MHz in Canada.

Because footnotes 5.293 and 5.297 already provide a fixed allocation for the spectrum used by RRBS, Industry Canada concludes that no changes are needed to the CFTA to reflect the existing use of RRBS.

In the case of LPA, Industry Canada notes that licensed LPA has been in operation under the existing allocations to the broadcasting service. Industry Canada therefore also concludes that no changes are needed to reflect the use of this spectrum by licensed LPA.

Decision related to the changes to the CTFA:

Industry Canada will not make any changes to the CTFA.

11. Next Steps

As a minimum, the following regulatory and technical documents will need to be developed or revised in light of the decisions:

TVWS devices and databases:

  • a new Radio Standard Specification (RSS) for certification of TVWS devices;
  • TVWS database requirements document; and
  • a procedure document for becoming a TVWS database administrator, including the associated agreement.


Ongoing review and revisions are also planned for any related documents as experience is gained in Canada and in other countries. Industry Canada may relax or tighten the technical requirements based on this experience.

These documents will be developed or revised using Industry Canada’s established processes, including consultation with stakeholders, which typically takes place via the RABC.

The decisions in this paper authorizing the use of TVWS will not go into effect until the above steps are completed.Footnote 3


space for signature
Marc Dupuis
Director General
Engineering, Planning and Standards Branch


Footnote 3

Developmental licences are available in the interim; if interested, please contact Industry Canada. For contact information, see RIC-66, Addresses and Telephone Numbers of Regional and District Offices (

Return to footnote 3 referrer

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