Decision on the Use of the Frequency Band 25.05-25.25 GHz


1. Intent

Through the release of this document, Industry Canada hereby announces the decisions resulting from the consultation process undertaken in SMSE-007-13 — Consultation on Use of the Frequency Band 25.05-25.25 GHz.

All comments received in response to the consultation are available on Industry Canada's Web site at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf10736.html.


2. Mandate

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 radio frequency spectrum resource use and for ensuring effective management of the spectrum resource.

This decision will facilitate the shared use of the band by systems in the fixed service and the fixed-satellite service. This goal satisfies a key objective of the Spectrum Policy Framework for Canada to maximize the potential economic and social benefits that Canadians derive from the use of the radio frequency spectrum.


3. Background

The Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations (CTFA) allocates the band 25.05-25.25 GHz to the fixed service on a primary basis. Canadian footnote C44 provides further direction with regard to interference management in the band.

In September 2013, Industry Canada published SMSE-007-13 — Consultation on Use of the Frequency Band 25.05-25.25 GHz (hereinafter referred to as "the consultation"), which sought comments on proposed options for the clarification of technical sharing provisions between satellite and terrestrial licensees in the 25 GHz band.

Comments were received from five respondents, namely the Canadian Satellite and Space Industry Forum (CSSIF), EchoStar Satellite Operating Company, MTS Allstream, the Radio Advisory Board of Canada (RABC) and Rogers Communications.

3.1 Use of the Band by Fixed Systems

In 1999, Industry Canada conducted its first spectrum auction for fixed point-to-point and point-to-multipoint systems in the 24 and 38 GHz bands, which included the 25.05-25.25 GHz ("25 GHz") sub-band that is the subject of the present document.

In March 2009, Industry Canada published DGRB-004-09 – Decision on the Renewal of 24 and 38 GHz Spectrum Licences and Consultation on Spectrum Licence Fees for 24, 28 and 38 GHz Bands. Given the shortage of equipment and lack of technological development at that time, Industry Canada decided to extend the licence term for auctioned licences in the 24 and 38 GHz bands by five years without applicable fees, and to extend the deadline for system deployment until the end of the extended licence term. Regarding the unassigned or returned spectrum for the 24, 28 and 38 GHz bands, Industry Canada decided to issue spectrum licences on a first-come, first-served (FCFS) basis and reserved the right to review the FCFS principle should demand exceed supply.

3.2 Use of the Band by Fixed-Satellite Systems

The International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) Radio Regulations allocate the use of the band 24.75-25.05 GHz in ITU Region 2 countries, including Canada, to the fixed-satellite service (FSS) in the Earth-to-space direction. The use of this frequency band for feeder links to the broadcasting-satellite service (BSS) has priority over other FSS uses in this band. In Canada, the feeder links to future BSS space stations that will operate in the band 17.3-17.8 GHz were required by footnote C44 to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations to be implemented in the band 24.75-25.25 GHz.

In June 2002Footnote 1 and July 2003,Footnote 2 Industry Canada took its first step toward the use of the 17 GHz BSS band when it issued calls for interest in BSS orbital positions. In July 2006, Industry Canada released an announcement — Industry Canada Announces Assignment Process for Canadian Orbital Satellite Positions —  followed by a Call for Applications to License Satellite Orbital Positions, which was an invitation to submit applications to use the various FSS and BSS frequency bands at a number of orbital positions. This initiative was completed in 2008 and resulted in several approvals in principle for the 17 GHz BSS band for two companies, Telesat and Ciel Satellite LP. Two subsequent licensing processes were initiated in 2009 (Satellite Call 2009) and 2011 (Satellite Call 2011). Based on the outcome of the 2009 call for applications, Telesat and Ciel Satellite each obtained an approval in principle for several orbital positions in the 17 GHz BSS band. Then, following the 2011 call for applications, 95W Canadian Satellite Communications Inc., obtained an approval in principle for an orbital position in this band. When in operation, these satellites will use the 25 GHz FSS band for their feeder links (uplinks).

Although the deployment of these satellites is not anticipated before 2015, the companies that have obtained approvals in principle are already investing in the design and development of satellites for use in these bands.


4. Considerations Regarding Footnote C44

The fixed service (FS) and the fixed-satellite service (FSS) are both primary services in the band 25.05- 25.25 GHz. However, footnote C44 of the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations has given priority to the FS over the FSS by specifying that the FSS must not cause interference to FS systems deployed in authorized service areas. As the level of interference is not specified in the footnote, restrictions were indirectly imposed on the FSS, thereby limiting the viability of implementing the FSS in the band.

In the consultation, Industry Canada proposed to clarify the relationship between the FS and FSS in the 25 GHz band to ensure that both primary services can make effective use of the band through changes to the wording of Canadian footnote C44 as follows:

MOD
C44
begin proposed deletionFeeder links to broadcasting-satellite space stations operating in the band 17.3 -17.8 GHz shall be implemented in the band 24.75-25.25 GHz. In areas where fixed systems have been licensed using a competitive process, future earth stations (Earth-to-space) in the band 25.05-25.25 GHz will be permitted provided that such installations will not cause interference to any fixed service to be deployed in the authorized service area.end proposed deletion begin proposed additionFixed-satellite service implementation in the band 25.05-25.25 GHz will be limited to applications which will impose minimal constraints upon the deployment of fixed service systems, such as those using a small number of large antennas for feeder links.end proposed addition

Summary of Comments

All commenters agreed that the existing wording is unclear and that the proposed changes to the current rules and the establishment of a coordination process would improve certainty for satellite and terrestrial licensees in the band.

All commenters agreed with the proposed deletion of the first sentence, where an explicit link between the 17 and 25 GHz bands is made, as this would provide flexibility for satellite operators to select uplink and downlink pairing that best meets the needs of users and, most appropriately, solves potential technical problems.

The CSSIF and EchoStar supported the proposed wording for footnote C44 from the consultation. MTS Allstream did not object to the proposed changes.

RABC members (other than the CSSIF) expressed concerns over some of the specific proposed wording in the consultation. In particular, they were concerned about the potential constraint on future FS deployment that could be imposed by the presence of an FSS Earth station in an area where there were no existing FS stations, and hence no need for the FSS licensee to coordinate, at the time that the FSS Earth station was established. In addition, there were some areas where they felt that the clarity of the footnote could be improved. For these reasons, they suggested alternative text proposing that the footnote clarify that the FS has priority in this band over the FSS, that Industry Canada may impose further limitations, beyond the use of a small number of large antenna stations, in order to implement this priority and explicitly stating that new stations must coordinate with existing licensees.

Rogers, which participated in development of the RABC comments, indicated its support for the RABC proposal, but also suggested some modifications of its own.

Discussion

Industry Canada agrees with the commenters that there is no longer a need for an explicit link between the 17 and 25 GHz bands to be included in footnote C44 and that the elimination of this text will provide some additional flexibility to satellite operators.

As stated in the consultation, the principal use of the 25 GHz band will be for FS backhaul deployments. However, the band also needs to support limited deployments of FSS Earth stations. Industry Canada therefore agrees with commenters on the benefits of modifying the wording of footnote C44 to reflect the explicit priority of FS, while limiting FSS Earth station deployments in support of direct-to-home broadcasting services.

Industry Canada does not agree with the provision proposed by some commenters that "Industry Canada may (after consultation with stakeholders) impose further limitations on the design and/or locations of proposed new earth stations". It is not clear how the "consultation with stakeholders" would take place. The addition of such a process to license applications for FSS Earth stations would also likely result in significant delay and additional administrative burden. In the case where there is no existing FS licensee in a particular area, it is unclear who would be considered as a stakeholder to be consulted with or what would be a reasonable basis for an objection. Consequently, Industry Canada believes that the proposed limitation of FSS Earth Stations to small numbers of large antennas for feeder links and/or gateway stations is an adequate measure to ensure that the potential constraint on future FS deployment will be minimized.

Similarly, it is not necessary for footnote C44 to specify, as proposed by some commenters, that "Any proposed systems in the FS or FSS will have to be coordinated with existing licensees." Coordination is normal practice whenever a band is allocated on a co-primary basis and, as discussed in Section 5 below, a coordination process will be addressed in the technical rules for the 25 GHz band rather than through this footnote.

Decision

Footnote C44 to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations is updated as follows:

MOD
C44
begin proposed deletionFeeder links to broadcasting-satellite space stations operating in the band 17.3 -17.8 GHz shall be implemented in the band 24.75-25.25 GHz. In areas where fixed systems have been licensed using a competitive process, future earth stations (Earth-to-space) in the band 25.05-25.25 GHz will be permitted provided that such installations will not cause interference to any fixed service to be deployed in the authorized service area.end proposed deletion begin proposed additionThe use of spectrum for the fixed service has priority over the use of the fixed-satellite service in the band 25.05 – 25.25 GHz. Fixed-satellite service implementation in the band 25.05 – 25.25 GHz will be limited to applications which will impose minimal constraints upon the deployment of fixed service systems, such as those using a small number of large antennas for feeder links to the broadcasting-satellite service and/or for gateway applications in the fixed-satellite service.end proposed addition

5. Coordination Process

In the consultation, Industry Canada proposed to establish a coordination process between the FSS and the FS. In addition, the consultation sought comments on whether this process should be aligned with the existing coordination process between FS systems outlined in SRSP-324.25Technical Requirements for Fixed Radio Systems Operating in the Bands 24.25-24.45 GHz and 25.05-25.25 GHz, or if another approach should be considered.

Summary of Comments

All commenters agreed with the need to clarify the process for coordination between the FS and FSS in this band. In particular, although the use of the 25 GHz band is intended primarily for the FS, commenters agreed that new FS stations should be coordinated with existing FSS Earth stations, unlike the current situation. There seemed to be general agreement that the coordination process and technical limits already used between FS stations would form a good starting point for the development of a new or revised Standard Radio System Plan (SRSP). SRSP 324.5 provides a familiar coordination process which has been used on numerous occasions to achieve the successful coexistence of FS and FSS in a number of frequency bands.

Discussion

The orderly deployment of both satellite and terrestrial systems in a manner that minimizes interference benefits all licensees equally. Industry Canada notes that satellite and terrestrial licensees have been able to successfully coordinate their respective deployments using a process that is commonly used in a number of frequency bands. Industry Canada therefore agrees with commenters on the value of implementing this coordination process in the 25 GHz band as well. Industry Canada notes that this coordination process is part of technical rules that are developed in consultation with the Radio Advisory Board of Canada.

Decision

In consultation with stakeholders, Industry Canada will update its technical rules for the band 25.05-25.25 GHz to include provisions for coordination between FS and FSS stations.

May 2014

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MARC DUPUIS
Director General
Engineering, Planning and Standards Branch

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