Comments on this document may be directed to the following address:
and Economic Development Canada
Engineering Planning and Standards Branch
235 Queen Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5
Attention: Manager, Satellite Authorization
All Spectrum Management and Telecommunications publications are available on the following website: http://www.ic.gc.ca/spectrum.
This Client Procedures Circular (CPC) sets out general licensing procedures for all Canadian space stations (satellites), including application requirements and post-authorization procedures. This version (version 4) replaces all previous versions and implements changes as described in the document Decisions on the Licensing Framework for Non-Geostationary Satellite Orbit (NGSO) Systems and Clarification of Application Procedures for All Satellite Licence Applications. It also reflects adjustments and clarifications based on the first three years of experience with the first-come, first-served (FCFS) process introduced in 2013.
Section 5 of the Radiocommunication Act stipulates that the Minister may issue radio licences, spectrum licences, or other types of authorizations and fix or amend the terms and conditions of such authorizations.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED or the "Department") also represents Canada at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). All satellites authorized by the Minister must be the subject of an ITU filing.
In order to operate a satellite authorized by ISED, a satellite operator must apply for and obtain either:
- a spectrum licence for fixed-satellite services (FSS), broadcasting-satellite services (BSS) satellites and mobile satellite services (MSS) satellites or
- a radio licence for all other satellite services (including earth exploration, space research, etc), as well as for the FSS spectrum used solely for telemetry, telecommand and control (TT&C) and feeder links for MSS satellites
Regardless of the instrument, the licence relates to a specific satellite or satellites and information related to the satellite(s) in question is required as part of the application process.
In the case of applications for MSS spectrum licences and all radio licences, the Department will continue to issue approvals in principle, followed by licences immediately prior to the launch of the satellite.
Spectrum licences for FSS/BSS satellites will be granted immediately following a favourable licensing decision.
Applications for the use of satellite spectrum are considered on a FCFS basis.
Applicants for FSS/BSS satellites should also refer to RP-008, Policy Framework for Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS) and Broadcasting-Satellite Service (BSS).
Licences authorize the use of certain frequency bands, at a specific orbital position or orbit, over a certain area, for the provision of specified services. For NGSO constellations, the licence also authorizes a maximum number of satellites to be operated under the licence. Unless otherwise specified in conditions of licence, licences authorize the use of spectrum for visible Earth (i.e. all territory visible from the satellite’s position in orbit or from the constellation, if in non-geostationary satellite orbit [NGSO]). Radio licences also authorize the use of specified radio apparatus (satellite[s]).
For geostationary satellite orbit satellites (GSO), the Department will not consider applications for satellites to be positioned outside of the Canadian arc (between and including 70°W and 130°W), unless the applicant already has at least one operational, Canadian-licensed satellite providing services in at least half of the Canadian territory.
For NGSO BSS satellites and NGSO FSS satellites designed for the provision of real-time services to end users, the Department will not consider applications for systems that do not meet established coverage requirements (as defined in section 3.2.4) unless the applicant is already operating a similar NGSO system that is providing services to 100% of the Canadian territory.
An application for radio spectrum to be used by a satellite system must contain all of the information set out in section 3. For GSO satellites, the application can only pertain to one orbital position, although several frequency bands may be included. Applicants that are interested in more than one orbital position are required to submit independent applications for each.
For NGSO systems, the application would normally pertain to a single set of orbital parameters, as defined in section 3.2.4. If the planned system is designed as a fully integrated hybrid of two or more different orbits, each set of orbital parameters must be submitted in the application. An application may include several frequency bands.
Where applicants are authorized for more than one frequency band, the Department will issue a separate licence for each band, with fees applicable to each individual licence.
Applications must be submitted electronically via email. The date and time of receipt of the application are established through the electronic submission. Applications are considered in the order in which they are received.
Requests to amend applications that are under consideration by ISED are not permitted. Applications may be withdrawn and resubmitted, with the date and time of receipt established by the resubmission.
An applicant, including its affiliates (as defined in the Canada Business Corporations Act), is permitted to have no more than two applications under consideration by ISED at any one time. There is no annual limit on applications, nor a limit by band. The limit on pending applications does not affect the number of licences that may be held by the applicant.
If an applicant submits a third application while its first two are still under consideration by the Department, it will be dismissed without consideration.
The Department submits the relevant filing information in accordance with section 3.3.2 to the ITU. Once the ITU filing information has been forwarded, the Department publishes a notice on the Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website indicating that it has received an application. These notices include the following information: date and time received, name of applicant, list of spectrum requested, orbital position or parameters, and status of application.
The Department assesses applications based on the information requirements and criteria as set out in section 3. Though no amendments are permitted while applications are under consideration, the Department may ask applicants to correct typographical or administrative errors.
When ISED finds an FSS/BSS application to be acceptable, the applicant is notified and a licence is issued, which includes the conditions that must be observed.
For MSS spectrum licences and radio licences, an approval in principle will be issued, with conditions that must be observed. The spectrum licence and/or radio licence(s), as applicable, will be issued just prior to launch and operation of the satellite(s).
Once a licensing decision has been taken, a notice of that decision will be published on ISED’s Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website.
If two or more acceptable GSO applications for the same spectrum are received at the same time,Footnote 1 the spectrum will be divided equally among the successful applicants and licences issued. In such cases, ISED will later consider requests to amend those licences if licensees reach a mutually acceptable arrangement to share the spectrum, as outlined in section 5.3.
For NGSO systems, applications will be treated in the order in which they are received. No applications will be placed on hold, including those for the same frequency bands. The Department will authorize all systems that meet the licensing criteria.
For GSO satellites, once a licence or approval in principle has been issued, all other applications in line for the same frequencies at the same orbital position (as defined by the minimum orbital separation as stated in section 188.8.131.52) are dismissed.
If ISED finds an application to be incomplete or unacceptable, the application is denied. When an application is denied, the applicant is notified and a reason provided. The decision is published on the Department’s website. For GSO satellites, ISED then considers the next application in line for that spectrum and orbital position, if any.
An applicant whose application has been denied may submit a new application, subject to FCFS rules.
For spectrum that becomes available following the revocation, withdrawal or return of an authorization, a notice will be published on the Department’s website. Applications will not be accepted for such spectrum until 60 calendar days following the publication of that notice.
ISED applies a service standard of 90 business days to assess applications where no additional information is required as per section 3.3.5, and where no waivers of requirements are requested. It is expected that most applications will be treated within the service standard. In those cases where the service standard will not be met, applicants will be notified of an appropriate time frame for consideration of their application.
This section describes the information elements that are required in order for an application to be considered complete. It also describes the criteria against which applications will be assessed, as well as the information that must be submitted in order to demonstrate compliance with such criteria.
The applicant must supply full contact information:
Name of company
Name of licence holder
Full mailing address
Name of contact for the application
Contact phone number
Contact email address
The applicant must provide a description of the project, including:
- List of frequencies requested and amount of spectrum requested in each band
Orbital location requested
- for GSO, indicate the orbital position.
- for NGSO, the type of orbit (i.e. LEO, MEO, HEO) (a list of specific orbital parameters is requested in section 3.2.4)
- Common name of the proposed satellite or constellation
- Radiocommunication service (e.g. FSS, BSS, MSS, EESS, etc.)
- Nature of the services to be delivered to end users (e.g. broadband Internet; Direct-to-Home television)
- Intended service area(s)
- Overall capacity of the satellite(s) expressed in both Megahertz (MHz) and megabits-per-second (Mbps) for each frequency band
- The amount of capacity available for use in Canada, expressed in both MHz and Mbps for each frequency band for satellites serving Canada
- Proposed date(s) of entry into service, including interim satellite(s), if applicable and
- Anticipated life expectancy of the satellite(s)
For applications for hosted payloads, applicants must provide the above information as it pertains to the payload. Additional information about the host satellite is also required, including:
- commercial name
- licensing administration and
- ITU filing name(s)
Applicants must be eligible to hold licences under the Radiocommunication Regulations.
Applicants must state how they are eligible to hold a radio authorization in Canada according to the Canadian Radiocommunication Regulations. If the applicant is a corporation, it must include the name, date, and jurisdiction of incorporation, as well as the incorporation number.
3.2.2 Canadian direction or control
The applicant must have direction or control over the licensed satellite.
The applicant must provide a brief description of all satellite operations and/or control facilities that will be used to control the satellite(s), including their geographic locations.
If a third-party facility will be used, a letter from the control facility must be provided with the application, stating that the facility is able to undertake the control of the new satellite(s).
If a third-party facility will be used, applicants must maintain, on an ongoing basis, the contractual right to direct all operations of the satellite through the contracted facility. The contract must be reviewed at the time of licensing, if available, by the Department to ensure that the licensee has the appropriate level of control over the satellite(s).
For GSO satellites only, the primary control facility may be located outside of Canada. In that case, the applicant must also maintain a secondary control facility located within Canada. The secondary facility must be able to execute, at a minimum, the following control operations, within 24 hours of a request by the Department:
- orbit manoeuvres
- turning the communications payload(s) on and off and
- entering into safe mode
Where the primary physical control facilities are located outside of Canada, the applicant must also submit:
- the location and a description of both the primary and secondary facilities and
- a copy of any agreements related to the contractual obligations on all parties for the control of the satellite(s) for the Department’s review in determining whether the above requirements are met
For NGSO satellites, both the primary physical control facility and the network operations centre must be located in Canada.
If the control facilities, network operations centres and/or related agreements have not yet been finalized at the time of application, a condition of licence will be imposed related to completion of the facilities and/or submission of agreements.
3.2.3 Compliance with spectrum allocations and utilization policies
The application must demonstrate that the operation of the satellite(s) authorized under the licence will comply with all applicable international and domestic spectrum policies, laws and regulations. Where services will be provided outside of Canada, applicants will not be required to comply with Canadian spectrum policies.
The applicant must submit a list of the frequency bands requested, their intended use (i.e. service links, feeder links, TT&C, etc.), and the amount of spectrum requested in each band. The applicant must demonstrate compliance with the spectrum allocation requirements of Article 5 of the ITU Radio Regulations, the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations and any other relevant Canadian spectrum utilization policies. If the spectrum is to be used outside of Canada, only information related to ITU Article 5 is required.
For each frequency band, the applicant must:
- identify the international and Canadian allocations
- include the text of the international and Canadian footnotes relating to the frequency band (found in Article 5 of the ITU Radio Regulations and the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations) and
- demonstrate how the use of the requested frequency will comply with international and Canadian allocations and footnotes, as well as any other Canadian spectrum utilization policies
All footnotes must be included. However, for those that are not relevant to the proposed service or use, the applicant may provide only the footnote reference (not the full text), with a short explanation of why it is not relevant.
In instances where the proposed use of the band is inconsistent with the allocations or spectrum utilization policies, a waiver from the criterion must be requested and the applicant must demonstrate that the proposed operations would not cause harmful interference or be problematic in any way. ISED will consider these requests on a case-by-case basis and may adjust applicable conditions of licence in appropriate situations.
For those bands whose use is limited to the Government of Canada, applicants must submit documentation from the appropriate federal department or agency to indicate acceptance of the proposed use. Applications will be considered for the use of those bands outside of Canada on a case-by-case basis.
Applicants must provide a description of the system including:
- design/architecture, including a schematic of the network
- location of the ground facilities, including gateways and
- coverage maps (and beam patterns) for service and support links (e.g. feederlinks and gateways)
NGSO systems must also include the following orbital parameters:
- number of orbital planes
- for each orbital plane
- number of satellites
- altitude at apogee
- altitude at perigee
- right ascension of the ascending node or the longitude of the ascending node
- initial phase angle of each satellite measured from the ascending node and
- argument of perigee (where applicable)
For systems that will be launched as a secondary payload, and where final parameters are therefore not yet known, best estimates should be provided, which could include a range. Parameters must be confirmed with ISED post-launch.
For all applications, the proposed system must meet the applicable technical requirements as set out in the ITU Radio Regulations Articles, including 5, 21 and 22, and Appendices 2 and 3, and any other relevant provisions.
For each frequency band, applicants must:
- identify the applicable ITU provision(s)
- state the applicable requirements and
- demonstrate how those requirements will be met by providing any applicable assumptions, methodologies, and calculations
In instances where the requirements will not be met, a waiver from the criterion must be requested. In that case, applicants must submit all of the parameters/technical information under which they would operate if the waiver were granted, and demonstrate that granting the waiver would not be problematic.
I. Canadian coverage for satellites providing FSS/BSSFootnote 2
Commercial FSS/BSS satellites operating in the geostationary arc between and including 70°W and 130°W (the "Canadian arc"), are required to cover the entire Canadian territory visible from the orbital position.
Commercial BSS NGSO satellites and commercial FSS NGSO satellites designed for the provision of real-time service to end users must be capable of providing uninterrupted service (24 hours per day, 7 days per week) anywhere within Canadian territory.
More precisely, for commercial GSO and commercial NGSO satellites as described above, the area of Canada where the angle of arrival of signals from the satellite above the horizontal plane is equal to or greater than the limit shown in table 1 below must have:
- an equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) variation of no more than 6 dB over the entire Canadian coverage area; or alternatively
- a similar satellite link performance over the entire Canadian coverage area, using earth stations whose antenna diameters vary by no more than a factor of two when compared with the earth station antenna diameter required to serve the majority of the Canadian population. In this case, the link budgets provided must demonstrate that the requirement is met for an availability of at least 99.7%
|Frequencies||Angle of arrival|
|Below 10 GHz||5°|
|Between 10 GHz and 15 GHz||7.5°|
|Above 15 GHz||10°|
For all satellites subject to the coverage requirement, applicants must submit the EIRP (dBW) and G/T (dB/K) contour diagrams for each type of beam. The contours must be presented at the following intervals: −2, −4, −6, −10, −20 dB.
For GSO systems, these contour diagrams must be submitted in a graphics data format compatible with the International Telecommunication Union–Radio Sector’s (ITU–R) graphical interference management system (GIMS).
Applicants must also submit best and worst case link budgets, which include all of the information elements, in the units specified, as identified in annex A. The link budgets must demonstrate availability throughout the entire Canadian coverage area.
NGSO systems that are subject to the coverage requirement must establish at least one gateway in Canada. Applicants must submit the planned location and a brief description of all gateways. If plans have not been finalized at the time of application, a condition of licence may be imposed related to confirmation of the location. The completion of the facility will also be included as a condition of licence.
II. Minimum spectrum efficiency for satellites providing FSS/BSSFootnote 3
Proposed satellites must employ state-of-the-art modulation and coding techniques, as well as frequency reuse techniques (either through the use of orthogonal polarizations within the same beam or through the use of spatially independent beams). For each band requested, the proposed satellites must meet a minimum spectrum efficiency at the edge of coverage of 1 bps/Hz for each polarization employed in each beam providing service.
Applicants must provide a channel and polarization plan for each band that the satellite will use, showing the representative modulation scheme and loading, in bps/Hz, for each channel. If spatially independent beams are to be used, that must be stated, and applicants must provide a map showing the beam pattern for all beams and the frequency reuse, and indicate the frequency reuse factor. Applicants must also provide a sample link budget (as per annex A) demonstrating minimum efficiency at the edge of coverage.
III. Minimum orbital separation for GSO satellites
All proposed GSO satellites must comply with the minimum orbital separation requirements as shown in the table below.
|Band/service||Minimum orbital separation|
|FSS (all bands except X)||2°|
|12/17 GHz BSS||9°|
|17/25 GHz BSS||4°|
|MSS and all other bands/services||N/A|
Compliance with minimum orbital spacing does not replace the licensees’ ongoing obligation, as defined in the conditions of licence (see annex C) to coordinate their proposed satellite systems with other existing and approved Canadian satellite systems assigned the same spectrum.
Where a waiver is requested to allow a proposed satellite system to operate more closely than the minimum orbital separation, the applicant must provide:
- a list of all other Canadian geostationary satellites assigned the same frequency bands within twice the minimum orbital separation and
sample link budgets (as per annex A) showing that
- the operations of the proposed satellite system will not constrain the use of the spectrum by other existing and approved first and second adjacent Canadian satellite systems and
- services from the proposed satellite will be viable
Applications for GSO satellite spectrum where a minimum orbital separation is not specified will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
3.3.1 Financial and operational affidavit
The applicant must submit a signed affidavit from the Chief Executive Officer or the Chief Financial Officer (or from an equivalent level of authority for a non-commercial project), stating that the applicant has the financial and operational capability to complete the project.
Where funding is being provided by another entity (i.e. a partner, customer, investor, or financial institution), the language of the affidavit must clearly indicate that a funding commitment is in place. A commitment that is conditional on the approval of the application is acceptable.
For government projects, a statement signed by an Assistant Deputy Minister, or equivalent, must be submitted stating the status of funding for the project.
The affidavit or statement must be signed no more than 60 calendar days prior to the submission of the application.
3.3.2 ITU filing information
For unplanned bands that are subject to coordination, the applicant must submit a Coordination Request (CR/C) with their application. The CR/C must be submitted as a Microsoft Access file (as required by the ITU), with the file extension changed to ".itu".
For unplanned bands that are not subject to coordination, the applicant must submit the Advance Publication Information (API) with their application. The API must be submitted as a Microsoft Access file (as required by the ITU), with the file extension changed to ".itu".
For planned bands, the applicant must submit the appropriate ITU Radio Regulations Appendix 4 information.
For all applications, the filing information must be submitted both as part of the application and separately to ISED’s international coordination group to email@example.com. An application will be denied if it does not have the appropriate ITU filing information.
The project, as described in the application, must be consistent with the following characteristics of the associated filing: Orbit/orbital parameters, frequency bands, class of station/intended service, minimum and maximum peak power, coverage, and emissions.
Applicants are solely responsible for paying all associated ITU fees, regardless of whether their application is approved or denied.
Applicants may submit the ITU filing information to ISED prior to sending in their application. Although the filing information will be forwarded to the ITU, this does not serve as an indication that a future application will be approved when submitted, or that the spectrum will be reserved for the applicant’s eventual use. When the relevant ITU filing information has been submitted prior to an application, the application must identify the relevant filing and include a statement that the information has already been submitted. An application must be submitted within six months of the date on which the applicant sent the ITU filing information to ISED.
Applications will be processed in the order in which they are received, regardless of the date on which the ITU filing information was submitted to the Department. The early submission of a filing does not affect the date of receipt for the associated application. For GSO satellites, if an application with an accompanying ITU filing is received for the same spectrum from another applicant, and that application is accepted by the Department, that applicant will receive the licence, notwithstanding the pre-existing filing. For NGSO systems, all systems that meet the licensing criteria will be licensed, with domestic coordination based on the date of authorization.Footnote 4
If an application is not submitted within six months of a filing, the filing may be made available to other successful applicants, at ISED’s discretion. An applicant cannot submit an application for an existing filing (other than their own, as described in the earlier paragraphs). If an applicant wishes to make use of an existing, unassigned Canadian filing, a separate, formal request must be submitted to ISED, following the acceptance of the application. Such a request will not be considered as part of an application.
If an application refers to and/or includes more than one filing, the applicant must include a description and rationale for the multiple filings.
ISED will not assign an ITU filing to more than one satellite operator.
3.3.3 Space debris mitigation plan
For all satellites (GSO and NGSO), a plan must be submitted that describes, in operational detail, how the satellite(s) will be de-orbited, and what other measures will be implemented to mitigate the possibility of orbital debris.
For GSO satellites, the plan must be in accordance with Recommendation ITU–R S.1003-2, Environmental Protection of the Geostationary Satellite Orbit.
For NGSO satellites, the plan must be consistent with the guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee, including the requirement for the satellite(s) to de-orbit within 25 years of end of operational life.
These requirements are derived from the broader United Nations (UN) space debris mitigation guidelines, which cover many elements, including:
- limiting debris released during normal operations
- minimizing the potential for break-ups during operational phases
- limiting the probability of accidental collision in orbit
- avoiding intentional destruction and other harmful activities
- minimizing potential for post-mission break-ups resulting from stored energy
- limiting the long-term presence of spacecraft and launch vehicle orbital stages in the low‑Earth orbit region after the end of their mission and
- limiting the long-term interference of spacecraft and launch vehicle orbital stages with the geosynchronous Earth orbit region after the end of their mission
Applicants must meet all of the assessment criteria, unless a specific waiver of a requirement is requested and granted. The procedure for obtaining a waiver related to Canadian coverage requirements are described in annex B.
Eligibility requirements will not be waived. Where the applicant is requesting a waiver, it must:
- submit all relevant parameters of satellite operations if the waiver is granted
- provide sufficient analysis to demonstrate why the waiver is justified and
- demonstrate that granting the waiver would not be problematic (e.g. would not result in harmful interference; would not erode protection for an allocation, etc.)
3.3.5 Additional information
ISED may request additional information from an applicant at any time. In such instances, the application will be put on hold until the information is received, and the service standard may be extended. If the information is not provided as per the Department’s instruction, or within the timeframe established at the time of the request, the application may be denied.
3.3.6. Submitting an application
The applicant must submit the application electronically to the Director, Space Services Operations, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The application must include the information and the supporting documents requested in section 3, as MS Word or PDF attachments to the email.
Any other correspondence for issues covered in this circular should also be submitted electronically to email@example.com.
4.1.1 Milestones for commercial satellites
ISED expects that it will receive applications from operators with well-developed plans for the use of the spectrum at the requested orbital positions or orbit. Milestones are intended to ensure that licensees make diligent and timely progress in the construction and implementation of their satellites and in the provision of service.
The Department has established a five-year implementation time frame with standard milestones for commercial GSO satellite projects.
For commercial NGSO projects, one-third of the constellation must be deployed within six years, with the full constellation deployed within nine years. If the licensee does not deploy one-third of the constellation by Year 6, but is providing commercial services, the licence will not be revoked. The licence will be amended to reflect the characteristics of the constellation at Year 6, and no further deployment will be permitted under that authorization.
If the licensee does not deploy the full constellation by Year 9, but is providing commercial services, the licence will not be revoked. The licence will be amended to reflect the characteristics of the constellation at Year 9, and no further deployment will be permitted under that authorization.
The expectation and accepted understanding of the final implementation milestone has been that it also includes the commencement of services. The satellite is expected to be in operation, in conformance with its associated ITU filing(s) and the related domestic authorization(s), by the final milestone due date at the latest.
Milestones are strictly enforced. ISED does not anticipate granting milestone extensions in the absence of extraordinary circumstances, such as launch failures. ISED does not consider failure to secure a customer as an acceptable reason to extend the milestone deadlines.
Where milestones have been missed and have not been extended, ISED initiates a revocation process aimed at making the spectrum available for licensing to others. The revocation process is described in section 5.7. An applicant may surrender its licence and reapply for use of the same spectrum as described in section 2.
4.1.2 Milestones for non-commercial satellites
For non-commercial projects, milestones will be developed that are appropriate to the individual project. The application should include proposed milestones that would be appropriate for the specific project.
Licences and approvals in principle are issued with conditions. Typical conditions are listed in annex C. Additional conditions may be developed on a case-by-case basis. Failure to comply with conditions of licence may result in the withdrawal of an approval or the revocation of a licence.
Licensees and holders of approvals in principle must maintain a valid ITU filing, or be associated with a Canadian allotment within the planned bands (ITU Radio Regulations, Appendix 30, 30A and 30B).
Spectrum licences for FSS, BSS and approvals in principle for MSS satellites will typically be issued with 20-year terms. This term is based on five years to plan, build and launch a new satellite system, and 15 years of operation. These licences will be subject to continued compliance with the conditions of licence and payment of annual fees.
When nearing the end of the 20-year term, a satellite operator may request a short-term extension of the licence in order to accommodate a longer-than-expected satellite life for GSO satellites or continued operations of an NGSO constellation.
Radio licences are annual and renewable, subject to continued compliance with conditions of licence and payment of the applicable annual fees.
For satellite projects that have a shorter life expectancy, ISED will issue shorter term approvals and authorizations.
In rare instances, where a satellite operator is able to use an in-orbit asset to bring a Canadian frequency assignment into use, ISED may issue a short-term licence to authorize the spectrum. Such authorizations would reflect current ITU requirements for bringing frequency assignments into use.
Short-term licences may also be issued to authorize satellite drifts, or for developmental payloads. ITU filings are not required for drifting a satellite.
For further guidance on short-term licences, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
All licence fees are payable annually in advance and are due by March 31 for the following year. Fees are pro-rated for licence terms of less than one year. Fees for FSS/BSS spectrum licences are established in Canada Gazette Notice No. SMSE-008-16 — Fee Order for Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS) and Broadcasting-Satellite Service (BSS) Spectrum in Canada.
Fees for MSS spectrum licences are established in Canada Gazette Notice No. DGRB-001-97 — Radio Authorization Fees for Mobile Satellite Services Using Radio Spectrum Below 1 GHz and Notice No. DGRB-009-99 — Radio Authorization Fees for Mobile Satellite Services Using Radio Spectrum Above 1 GHz.
Fees for radio licences are set in the Radiocommunication Regulations.
For GSO satellites, within the context of a 20-year authorization, ISED expects that licensees may wish to make use of other satellite facilities under the licence. This could include interim satellites to provide service in advance of the permanent satellite, additional satellites to augment the capabilities of a satellite or replacement satellites in the event of a satellite failure. While such facilities are viewed favorably by the Department, licensees are required to obtain Departmental approval before placing a satellite in orbit and/or commencing its use.
If the parameters of the added satellite fall within the terms of the authorization, a full application is not required. However, in their request, the licensee must demonstrate to ISED that facility and its use will be consistent with the authorized or approved parameters of the existing licence. Requests must be submitted no less than 60 calendar days before the planned launch or placement of the added satellite.
For NGSO systems where satellites will be regularly replaced and de-orbited, operators must include the plan for the upcoming year in their annual reports to the Department.
If the additional, interim or replacement satellites are associated with additional frequency bands, or different orbital parameters (as defined in section 3.2.4), a full application is required and is subject to the FCFS process.
For radio licences, applicants must submit the information outlined in annex D to ISED at least 60 calendar days prior to launch.
Licensees are subject to reporting requirements, as specified in their conditions of licence.
Where licensees intend to modify their use of assigned spectrum for the operation of their satellite(s) in a manner that is inconsistent with the authorization (e.g. provision of MSS when authorized for FSS), licensees must request an amendment in advance of implementing the modification. The licensee is also required to submit revised licensing information, as appropriate.
Note that a request involving the use of a different orbital position, different orbital parameters (as defined in section 3.2.4), additional frequency bands, or the expansion of an NGSO constellation following a reduction in the licence for failure to meet deployment milestones, requires a new application, subject to the FCFS process. The new application must include the information requirements set out in section 3. Such applications will be treated in the order in which they are received.
In the case of licences issued as a result of simultaneous applications only, ISED will consider amendment requests for additional spectrum or for a different orbital position if licensees have reached a mutually acceptable arrangement. The requested changes must be within the limits of the spectrum as originally requested in both applications. Each licensee must request an amendment for their licence, and may submit a joint request.
Satellites may not be relocated without a full review of the request by ISED and the authorization of the Minister. Licensees must submit a relocation request to the Department at least 30 calendar days prior to any planned relocation of a satellite. The licensee must certify that the relocation will not result in an unexpected lapse of service for any current customer. If the satellite will operate under a Canadian licence at the new position, a new application is required and will be subject to the FCFS process. Requests to relocate a satellite to a non-Canadian orbital position will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Licensees must notify the Department, at least six months in advance of when a satellite will be decommissioned or de-orbited, and certify that the decommissioning will not result in any unplanned discontinuation or lapse in service for any current Canadian customer.
Licences and approvals in principle may not be transferred or assigned without the authorization of the Minister. See annex C for additional detail on the meaning of "transfer." Requests will be reviewed by the Department to ensure, among other things, that licensing requirements will be met by the new licensee (eligibility, Canadian direction and control, etc.), that the operating and technical parameters of the satellite(s) will remain unchanged, and that there will be no change in services to customers.
At the end of the licence term, the licensee will have a high expectation that a new licence will be issued for a subsequent term, 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. The issuance of a new licence is not automatic, and licensees are required to submit applications under this client procedures circular. Such applications will be considered no earlier than five years before the end of the term and must be submitted no later than three years before the end of the term. If there are no changes to the frequency band or orbital position (for GSO), or to the authorized orbital parameters (for NGSO), such applications will not be subject to the FCFS process.
When a licence is no longer required by the licensee, the licensee must inform ISED in writing immediately and surrender the licence.
ISED will notify the licensee when it intends to suspend, withdraw or revoke a licence or approval in principle, and will provide reasons for this decision. The licensee will have 30 calendar days from the date of the notification to provide a written response to the notice. The Department will evaluate the response and determine whether to proceed with the revocation or withdrawal process. If the licensee does not reply within the given period, the licence or approval will be suspended, revoked or withdrawn immediately.
A licence or approval in principle may be suspended, revoked or withdrawn where the licensee fails to meet any condition of licence, where it breaches the Radiocommunication Act or Radiocommunication Regulations, or where ISED changes a frequency allocation or spectrum use policy following a public consultation. In the case of a change in allocation or permitted spectrum use, licensees are normally provided a transition period before forfeiting their licences.
Notwithstanding any of the above, the Minister may amend any of the terms and conditions of the licence before the end of the term, and has full discretion to issue or refuse to issue a spectrum or radio licence in Canada. Furthermore, ISED makes no representations or warranties about the use of licensed spectrum for particular services, or about whether the use of the spectrum will be successfully coordinated. A licence from ISED does not constitute an endorsement of any particular service, technology or product, nor does a spectrum licence constitute a guarantee of business success.
All Spectrum Management and Telecommunications publications are available on the official publications section of its website.
Annex A—Link budget requirements
For GSO, link budgets must be provided for centre and edge of coverage.
For NGSO, link budgets must be provided for lowest and highest satellite elevation angles as seen from the earth station.
|Uplink parameters||Transmitting earth station site|
|Distance to the satellite (km)|
|Elevation angle (degrees)|
|Uplink frequency (MHz)|
|Antenna diameter (m)|
|Antenna efficiency (%)|
|Antenna gain (dBi)|
|Earth station antenna pattern|
|Carrier input back‑off (dB)|
|Uplink EIRP per carrier (dBW)|
|Transponder saturated flux density from direction of transmitting earth station (dBW/m2)|
|Antenna uplink pointing loss (dB)|
|Uplink propagation loss (dB)|
|Other losses (dB)|
|Carrier parameters||Maximum clear sky throughput (Mbps)|
|Type of modulation|
|Carrier symbol rate (Msps)|
|Bandwidth roll-off factor|
|Occupied bandwidth per carrier (MHz)|
|Number of carriers per beam|
|Number of carriers per traveling‑wave tube amplifier|
|Eb/No (objective) (dB)|
|Satellite parameters||Maximum satellite G/T (dB/K)|
|Satellite G/T towards transmitting earth station (dB/K)|
|Bandwidth per beam (MHz)|
|Bandwidth per traveling‑wave tube amplifier (MHz)|
|Transponder input back‑off (dB)|
|Transponder output back‑off(dB)|
|Transponder operational mode (e.g. FCM, ALC)|
|Maximum saturated satellite EIRP (dBW)|
|Saturated EIRP per transponder towards receiving earth station (dBW)|
|Satellite EIRP towards receiving earth station (dBW)|
|Downlink parameters||Receiving earth station site|
|Slant range to the satellite (km)|
|Elevation angle (degrees)|
|Downlink frequency (MHz)|
|Antenna diameter (m)|
|Antenna efficiency (%)|
|Antenna gain (dBi)|
|Earth station antenna pattern|
|Carrier output back‑off (dB)|
|EIRP per carrier (dBW)|
|Carrier power flux density (dBW/m2/f=reference bandwidth — see ITU-R Atricle 21)|
|PFD Limit per RR 21.16|
|Power flux density (dBW/m2)|
|Antenna noise temperature (K)|
|LNA/LNB noise temperature (K)|
|System noise temperature (K)|
|Receive earth station G/T (dB/K)|
|Antenna downlink pointing loss (dB)|
|Downlink propagation loss(dB)|
|Downlink feeder loss (dB)|
|Other losses (dB)|
|Interference summary (uplink and downlink)||Adjacent satellite C/I (dB)|
|Other applicable C/I (dB)|
|Intermodulation C/I (dB)|
|Link Budgets (uplink and downlink)||C/N (dB)|
|C/N objective (dB)|
|Link Margin (dB)|
|Spectral efficiency (bps/Hz)|
G/T: Gain-to-Temperature ratio
EIRP: Equivalent Isotropically Radiated Power
C/N: Carrier-to-Noise ratio
C/I: Carrier-to-Interference ratio
C/(N+I): Carrier-to-Noise plus Interference ratio
Eb/No: Energy per bit-to-Noise density ratio
Annex B—Canadian coverage
Geostationary satellite orbit (GSO) satellites
Until such time as specific service rules are established for different frequency bands or services (including Canadian coverage requirements), the following requirements for FSS/BSS satellites must be met.
For any GSO satellite to be positioned between and including 70°W and 130°W, operators will be required to cover the entire Canadian territory visible from the satellite. Operators must reserve 50% of the satellite capacity for Canadian use for a minimum period of six months from licence issuance, during which time ISED will expect a reasonable effort to be made to market the capacity to Canadian users.
Requesting a waiver from the coverage requirement at time of licence application
Applicants may request a waiver from the coverage requirement for specific satellites under exceptional circumstances or if the operator can demonstrate that Canadian needs for the capacity being provided on the specific satellite will be met through other means. This demonstration should include, but need not be limited to a survey of:
- the existing and unused capacity of the same type of service available in the Canadian market, as well as of the needs of Canadian satellite users for the capacity and
- licensed and approved satellites that are not yet in operation with the same type of capacity, which could provide other opportunities to Canadian satellite users to obtain capacity
Conditions of waiver
If a waiver is granted, the licence would specifically exclude those areas addressed by the waiver. ISED will allow other operators to apply for and obtain a licence to serve those excluded areas, subject to coordinating their use of spectrum.
ISED expects licensed operators to coordinate with future applicants that wish to provide complementary coverage, allowing for the provision of services in Canada, unless they can demonstrate that it is technically not possible to do so.
Ending the capacity reservation period and/or approval of revised satellite design that changes Canadian coverage
In order to terminate the Canadian coverage/capacity condition of licence, licensees must submit a request to the Department describing reasonable efforts made to market the capacity to Canadian users. This description should include, but need not be limited to a:
- list of prospective customers contacted
- description of any advertising campaigns undertaken and
- summary of the results of this marketing effort
The request may also include similar information for that required when seeking a waiver from the coverage requirement at the time of licence application.
This information may be submitted no earlier than six months after licence issuance, and no later than the implementation milestone associated with construction contracts.
Non‑geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) satellites
All commercial BSS NGSO constellations and commercial FSS NGSO constellations designed for the provision of real-time services to end users must be capable of providing uninterrupted service (24 hours per day, 7 days per week) throughout the Canadian territory. These systems must also locate at least one gateway in Canada to support the provision of service.
ISED will not grant a waiver from this requirement unless the applicant is already operating a Canadian-licensed commercial NGSO constellation that provides uninterrupted (24 hours per day, 7 days per week) throughout Canadian territory. Applications that do not meet the coverage requirement will be denied.
Annex C—Typical conditions of licence
In addition to the typical conditions of licence listed below, any operational requirements specific to the satellite system and/or to the authorized frequency bands will be stated as conditions of licence. Additional conditions may be developed on a case‑by‑case basis.
Typical conditions of licence are updated from time to time. The latest text can be found on ISED's Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website.
For spectrum licences, the licence term and geographic area included in the authorization will also be expressed as conditions of licence.
The following are typical conditions of licence:
1. The licensee must comply with the eligibility criteria as set out in the Radiocommunication Regulations.
2. Licences may not be transferred or assigned without the prior authorization of the Minister. For clarification and without limiting the generality of the foregoing, "transfer" includes any leasing, sub‑leasing or other disposition of the rights and obligations of the licence.
Laws and regulations
3. The licensee and its use of the spectrum assigned in this authorization are subject to and must comply with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radio Regulations, the Canadian Radiocommunication Act, the Canadian Radiocommunication Regulations, and Canada's spectrum utilization policies pertaining to the licensed radio frequency bands.
Canadian direction and control
4. The licensee must maintain direction and control of the satellite(s) at all times. If primary control is located outside of Canada, the licensee must maintain a secondary facility located in Canada that is capable of the functions listed in CPC 2-6-02—Licensing of Space Stations. For any changes to the direction and control facilities, the licensee must seek prior approval from the Department.
Relocation of a satellite(s)
5. Satellites may not be relocated without the prior authorization of the Minister.
6. Licensees must ensure that all implementation milestones and related requirements, as set out in the table below, are met. The milestones below relate to the development of the permanent satellite system. If interim satellites are planned for testing purposes (or to bring frequency assignments into use) additional milestones may be added.
For GSO satellites
|Milestone number||Milestone||Due date (fixed from date of authorization)||Requirement|
||2 years||Submit a copy of the contract for the construction of the new satellite that is consistent with:
|2||Construction has commenced||30 months||Evidence, such as invoices or payments demonstrating the purchase of long‑lead items, to prove that the licensee has commenced physical construction of the satellite.|
|3||Executed launch contract||4 years||Copy of launch contract to place the satellite(s) into the assigned orbital position or orbits and to bring the spectrum into use by the date established for Milestone 4. For radio licences, licensees must submit the information from annex C at least 60 calendar days before launch.|
|4||Satellite in operation||5 years||Licensees must certify that:
For NGSO satellites
|Milestone number||Milestone||Due date (Fixed from date of authorization)||Requirement|
|1||Executed contract to begin construction process
Confirm location of the ground facilities
|3 years||Submit a copy of the contract to begin the construction process for the new satellite(s) that is consistent with:
IF the initial contract is not for the full constellation, then Milestone 1(a) will apply.
Submit the location and a description of TT&C, NOC, Canadian gateway facilities, as applicable
|1 (a)||Executed final construction contract||4 years||Submit a copy of the final contract for construction of the new satellite(s) that is consistent with:
|2||Executed launch contract||5 years||Copy of launch contract to place the satellite(s) into the assigned orbit by the dates established for Milestones 3 and 4.|
|3||One-third of constellation in operation
Complete construction of the ground facilities
|6 years||Licensees must certify that:
|4||Full constellation in operation||9 years||Licensees must certify that:
|* If the technical parameters (as outlined in section 3.2.4) are different from those that were approved, the new parameters must be submitted to, and approved by ISED.|
Milestones for non‑commercial satellites
7. Milestones will be established on a case‑by‑case basis according to the specifics of the project.
8. It is the responsibility of the licensee to participate, on an ongoing basis, in coordination activities with a view to protecting its network and fulfilling ITU obligations. To this end, the licensee must undertake the following:
- participate, at its own expense, in the coordination of the satellite network with the satellite and terrestrial networks of other countries
- provide ISED, in a manner acceptable to the ITU, with the satellite coordination, notification and administrative due diligence information required by the ITU
- pay the applicable ITU cost recovery charges for satellite network filings and
- ensure that the operation of the satellite complies with any arrangements and agreements undertaken by Canada with respect to the coordination of the satellite
9. The licensee must maintain a valid ITU filing associated with the satellite system or network at all times.
10. In order to avoid harmful interference, the licensee will be required to coordinate its satellite network or system with other potentially affected Canadian satellite and terrestrial services. It is the sole responsibility of the licensee to identify these networks.
11. In the event that coordination cannot be successfully completed, ISED may impose the implementation of mitigation techniques. The satellite or satellite system must be operated in a manner consistent with any arrangements made, or techniques imposed, to facilitate satellite coordination.
Provision of service
12. The satellite(s) must be in-service within six months of meeting the final implementation milestone, and must maintain operations in accordance with the international Radio Regulations, its associated ITU filing(s), and domestic authorization(s).
Service in Canada and Canadian coverage
13. Licensees must make the facilities and capacity for lease, resale and sharing available to other service providers on an unrestricted, non‑discriminatory basis.
14. For any commercial fixed‑satellite service (FSS) or broadcasting‑satellite service (BSS) geostationary satellite orbit (GSO) satellite positioned between and including 70°W and 130°W, operators must cover the entire Canadian territory visible from the satellite. Operators must reserve 50% of the satellite capacity for use by Canadians for a minimum period of six months from licence issuance, during which time a reasonable effort must be made to market the capacity to Canadian users. Prior to releasing this reserved capacity, the licensee must submit a report as described in annex B of CPC 2-6-02.
15. For commercial BSS NGSO systems or commercial FSS NGSO systems designed for the provision of real‑time service to end users, systems must be capable of providing uninterrupted service (24 hours per day, 7 days per week) throughout the Canadian territory.
Public benefit (for FSS/BSS satellites)
16. For FSS/BSS satellites, licensees shall direct a minimum of 0.5% of adjusted gross annual revenues resulting from the use of this licence or, subject to the prior approval of ISED, satellite capacity or services of an equivalent value to the foregoing, toward special initiatives aimed at improving connectivity in underserved areas of Canada. The initiative must be approved by the Department prior to the launch of the authorized satellite(s). The condition can be fulfilled at any time during the life of the satellite. Adjusted gross revenues are defined as total service revenues, less inter‑carrier payments, bad debts, third‑party commissions, and provincial goods and services taxes collected.
Research and development (for MSS satellites)
17. The licensee must invest, as a minimum, 2% of its adjusted gross revenues resulting from the use of this licence, averaged over the term of the licence, in eligible research and development activities related to telecommunications. Eligible research and development activities are those which meet the definition of scientific research and experimental development adopted in the Income Tax Act, as amended from time to time. Adjusted gross revenues are defined as total service revenues, less inter‑carrier payments, bad debts, third‑party commissions, and provincial goods and services taxes collected. The licensee is exempt from research and development expenditure requirements if it, together with all affiliated licensees that are subject to the research and development condition of licence, has less than $1 billion in annual gross operating revenues from the provision of wireless services in Canada, averaged over the term of the licence. For this condition of licence, an affiliate is defined as a person who controls the carrier, or who is controlled by the carrier or by any person who controls the carrier, as per subsection 35(3) of the Telecommunications Act.
Space debris mitigation
18. For GSO satellites, the licensee shall remove the satellite from the geostationary satellite orbit region in a manner consistent with Recommendation ITU–RS.1003-2, Environmental Protection of the Geostationary Satellite Orbit at the end of its life. The licensee must notify the Department of the removal and provide the information requested in section 5.3 of CPC-2-6-02.
19. For NGSO satellites, the licensee must implement space debris mitigation measures in accordance with the guidelines established by the Inter‑Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee, at the end‑of‑life of the satellite(s). The licensee must also include the requirement for the satellite(s) to de‑orbit within 25 years of end of operational life.
Lawful intercept of communications (for MSS systems)
20. Applicants using the spectrum for voice telephony systems must, from the inception of service, provide for and maintain lawful interception capabilities as authorized by law. The requirements for lawful interception capabilities are provided in the Solicitor General's Enforcement Standards for Lawful Interception of Telecommunications (Rev. Nov. 95). These standards may be amended from time to time.
Earth station licensing
21. All earth stations in Canada communicating with the satellite(s), except those exempted from the licensing requirement pursuant to the Radiocommunication Act and Radiocommunication Regulations, shall be licensed prior to operation pursuant to Client Procedure Circular, CPC 2-6-01, Procedure for the Submission of Applications to License Fixed Earth Stations and to Approve the Use of Foreign Satellites in Canada or Client Procedure Circular, CPC-2-6-06, Guidelines for the Submission of Applications for the Provision of Mobile‑Satellite Services in Canada.
Satellite licensing information for radio licences
22. The licensee must submit the administrative licensing information, set out in annex D of CPC-2-6-02, at least 60 calendar days in advance of the anticipated launch date of the satellite(s).
23. The licensee shall immediately inform ISED of any changes to its contact information or to information concerning satellite development, operations and/or control, including any change in control facilities. The licensee is also required to report any suspension of service to the Department.
24. The licensee shall, as soon as feasible, notify the Department in writing if the licensee has reasonable grounds to believe that:
- the licensed system poses a danger to the environment, public health or the safety of persons or property
- the licensee has lost or is in danger of losing control of a satellite or
- there has been a breach in the security of the licensed system
Within 21 calendar days after notifying the Department, the licensee shall provide a written report that describes the situation, its probable cause and the corrective measures taken or proposed to be taken.
25. The licensee shall submit an annual report. It is expected that the system will be coordinated and notified prior to launch. Therefore, before launch, the report must include progress on meeting implementation milestones and updates on coordination discussions. Following the start of operations, the reports must indicate continued compliance with conditions of licence. For NGSO systems, these reports must also include plans for the upcoming year for replacing and/or de‑orbiting individual satellites within the constellation. This report is due March 31 of each year.
26. The licensee shall notify the Department at least 12 months in advance of when a satellite will be decommissioned or de‑orbited, and certify that the decommissioning will not result in any unplanned disruption of service to customers. At the end of life of the satellite(s), the licensee shall submit a final report to the Department detailing the space debris mitigation measures undertaken. This report shall be submitted no later than 60 calendar days after the satellite(s) have been de‑commissioned.
27. The licensee shall provide any information requested by the Department, within the timeframe established in the request.
28. All reports are to be submitted to the Director, Space Services Operations at email@example.com.
Payment of fees
29. Licence fees are payable on an annual basis, in advance, and are due by March 31 of each year.
Annex D—Technical information required for radio licences
For each transmit or receive space station, indicate:
- the assigned transponder frequency (mid-band frequency of each transponder)
- the bandwidth of the assigned frequency in kHz
- the class of station and the nature of service provided
- the assigned carrier frequency or frequencies within each transponder
- the date of bringing the frequency assignment into use
- for each carrier, the class of emission, necessary bandwidth and description of transmission
- for each carrier, the peak envelope power (in dBW) supplied to the input of the antenna
- the modulation characteristics—for each carrier, according to the nature of the signal modulating the carrier and type of modulation, indicate the following characteristics as applicable:
For carrier frequency modulated by a frequency‑division multi‑channel telephony baseband (FDM/FM) or by a signal that can be represented by a multi‑channel telephony baseband:
Indicate the lowest and highest frequencies of the baseband and the root‑mean‑square frequency deviation of baseband frequency at the test tone.
For carrier frequency modulated by a television signal:
Indicate the standard of the television signal (including, where appropriate, the standard used for colour), the frequency deviation for the reference frequency of the pre-emphasis characteristic and the pre‑emphasis characteristic itself. Also indicate, where applicable, the characteristics of the multiplexing of the video signal with the sound signal(s) or other signals.
For carrier amplitude, frequency or phase‑shift modulated by a digital signal:
Indicate the type of modulation, modulation bit rate and the number of phases.
For amplitude-modulated carrier (including single‑sideband):
Indicate, as precisely as possible, the nature of the modulating signal and the kind of amplitude modulation used.