Archived — Notice No. DGTP-007-94

Industry Canada

Radiocommunication Act

Notice No. DGTP-007-94

Proposal for Implementation of Narrowband Personal  MHzRange

1. Introduction

An important goal relating to opening new frequency bands for narrowband personal communications services (PCS) in the 900 MHz range is to foster the introduction of state-of-the-art wireless radiocommunications, so that Canadians will continue to benefit from advanced communications and Canadian industry can maintain its leadership in the provision of mobile and personal communications equipment and services. Industry Canada will encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in the development of wireless services while adhering to our responsibilities to manage the frequency spectrum efficiently and promote its efficient use. The challenge for industry, therefore, is to come forward with proposals for innovative applications and services which would move Canada to the forefront of narrowband PCS development.

Wireless technologies in general, and PCS in particular, are expected to play key roles in the development of the Canadian information highway. Industry Canada believes that PCS will be a significant impetus to advance wireless communications and the information infrastructure.

It is important that Canadians be afforded the availability of new narrowband PCS services. In the United States, the licensing process is already well advanced for these services. Consequently, Industry Canada is proceeding expeditiously to enable the implementation of narrowband PCS and this notice initiates the licensing proceedings which are expected to result in the awarding of licences in 1995.

Part A PCS Spectrum, Service and Technical Matters

The Spectrum Utilization Policy (SP 896 MHz) deals with the use of the spectrum in the band 896 960 MHz. SP 896 MHz, which was last revised in September, 1991, reserved three sub-bands for future mobile use, specifically 901 902 MHz, 930 931 MHz and 940 941 MHz. By this Canada Gazette notice, Industry Canada announces the designation of this spectrum for narrowband personal communications services and is soliciting comment on the planned use of these sub-bands.

The current interest in developing personal communications in the 2  GHz range has been largely with voice communications. However, the use of narrowband personal communications in the 900 MHz range in the sub-bands referred to above would open additional possibilities. These could include two-way messaging for text, data, voice and perhaps other forms of communications. They may be used, for example, to support small personal computer-based terminals among others and to provide advanced forms of paging. We would not propose to constrain these applications, but require only that they be components of mobile or fixed radio applications.

One matter of consideration, is the use of these frequency bands in the North American context. Opportunities exist to open and serve common markets. The actual availability of frequency channels in areas near the borders with the United States is subject to an Interim Sharing Arrangement between Canada and the United States. This Arrangement uses the principles of equitable sharing along the border with certain congested areas in Canada, such as Toronto, receiving a larger portion of the shared spectrum and an area, such as Windsor (opposite Detroit), receiving less.

With regard to channelling arrangements for these bands, it is proposed to make provisions for different channel types (i.e. paired and unpaired) and of different bandwidths. A proposed channelling arrangement as well as information from the United States/Canada Interim Sharing Arrangement is contained in Draft Systems Radio Standards Practice (SRSP) 509. This Draft SRSP is available on request from the Director General, Spectrum Engineering, Industry Canada, 300 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C8, as well as at offices of Industry Canada in Moncton, Montréal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

Another aspect to consider is the appropriate mix of channels identified for nationwide, regional and local purposes. Such an identification of channels has been useful for other applications, such as paging, to cater to specific market segments.

We invite comment on the appropriate limitations, if any, that should be applied to the planned use of narrowband personal communications services operating in the sub-bands 901 902 MHz, 930 931 MHz and 940 941 MHz. Comment is also invited on the proposed channelling arrangement and the appropriate numbers of nationwide, regional and local channels as well as the possibility of reserving part of this spectrum for future use.

Submissions to Part A (PCS Spectrum, Service and Technical Matters) of this notice should be addressed to the Director General, Telecommunications Policy Branch, Industry Canada, 300 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C8, to be received on or before January 31, 1995. All representations should cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, notice publication date, title, and reference number.

Written comments received in response to Part A will be made available for viewing by the public two weeks after the closing date of this notice, during normal business hours, at the Industry Canada Library, 365 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa, Ontario, and at the offices of Industry Canada at Moncton, Montréal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver for a period of one year.

Also, approximately two weeks after the close of the comment period, copies of the comments (with respect to Part A) may be obtained, by mail order or over-the-counter, from ByPress Printing and Copy Centre Inc., 300 Slater Street, Unit 101A, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 6A6, 613-234-8826. Reasonable costs of duplication will be charged.

Part B Licensing Matters

We are considering whether traditional first-come, first-served licensing procedures or the new selection regime should be used for potential public services in these bands. A three-phase comparative selection and radio licensing process has been used to select service providers for various public radiocommunication services such as cellular radiotelephone, national 900 MHz paging, air-to-ground radiotelephone and digital cordless telephone. This process is used when more applicants are anticipated than can be accommodated within the frequency band of interest, or when the traditional first-come, first-served licensing procedures may not adequately consider the full scope of the social, economic and technical factors involved. This comparative selection and licensing process is currently under review, and the period for public comment recently closed. The outcome of this review will determine the selection regime to be used in these types of situations for future potential public services.

Accordingly, Industry Canada invites expressions of interest from potential service providers for narrowband personal communications services for access to spectrum available to Canada in and outside of the border areas indicated in the Interim Sharing Arrangement. Submissions should include a brief description of the potential services to be offered, whether the proposed services would be offered on a Canada-wide, regional or local basis, and what these areas might be, and the amount of spectrum, or an indication of the bandwidth required to implement the proposed services. A decision concerning the licensing process to be used will be made based in part on the response to this section. This notice serves as the first phase call for expressions of interest in any subsequent selection process.

Further, Industry Canada has noted the interest of at least one applicant for authority to offer a narrowband personal communication service in Canada on frequency channels allotted to the United States within the border areas by the Interim Sharing Arrangement. This application is based on the premise that the Canadian applicant has previously established a business agreement with the licensee of the channels in the border area of the United States, which includes access to those channels in Canada by the Canadian applicant.

Industry Canada will consider applications for authority to provide service in Canada within the border areas using spectrum allotted to the United States in the Interim Sharing Arrangement on a case-by-case basis. These applications must provide written evidence that a business arrangement concerning access to that spectrum has already been reached with the licensees in the United States. The approval of such applications shall conform to the normal requirements for licensing and will require concurrence by the United States. In these cases, no service could be offered before November 1, 1995. Continued authority would also be conditional on the continued business agreement with the licensees in the United States and the continuing concurrence of the United States administration.

Submissions to Part B (Licensing Matters) of this Canada Gazette notice should be addressed to the Director General, Radiocommunication and Broadcasting Regulatory Branch, Industry Canada, 300 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C8, to be received on or before January 31, 1995. All submissions should cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, notice publication date, title and reference number.

Industry Canada will treat any request for access to submissions to Part B pursuant to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. Respondents should clearly indicate any information which they consider to be confidential. Consequently, submissions to Part B will not be made available for public viewing. However, a list of all those who made representations will be mailed to each applicant one week after the closing date for submissions to this notice. Others may obtain this list by contacting the Department at the above-noted address or at any of its regional or district offices.

Any unsolicited representation, contact or requests directed to the merits of an individual submission or the outcome of the decision-making process with regard to Part B, other than information of a general nature, will not be dealt with pending the outcome of this notice. All respondents will be formally advised of our intentions with respect to the selection and licensing process and any related issues.

November 17, 1994

Michael Helm

Director General Telecommunications Policy Branch

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