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Archived — Notice No. DGTP-002-03

Industry Canada

Radiocommunication Act

Notice No. DGTP-002-03 — Restructuring the Spectrum in the Band 3400-3650 MHz to More Effectively Accommodate Fixed and Radiolocation Services


The purpose of this Notice is to announce a rearrangement of the spectrum in the band 3400-3650 MHz to better accommodate fixed wireless access (FWA) systems and radiolocation operations. The core spectrum for FWA systems is being rearranged to reduce the potential interference from high-power radiolocation systems operating in the lower part of the band. Existing priority spectrum for radiolocation services must be preserved for the Government of Canada to support increased operational activities1; necessary to ensure national security and public safety to Canadians within the domestic borders and beyond.


In 1997, the Department allocated the band 3400-3500 MHz to the fixed service on a co-primary basis with the existing radiolocation service, with provisions to ensure that the radiolocation service had priority over the fixed service in certain locations of the country for the Government of Canada. Then, with the issuance of the 1998 spectrum and licensing policy, the band 3400-3550 MHz was designated for FWA systems and immediately opened for licensing in rural areas, on a first-come, first-served basis. An objective for opening the spectrum in rural Canada was to provide a wireless access alternative to the traditional wireline local loops for improving multi-party telephone lines, especially in high cost serving areas. The Department observes that FWA implementation has not been a significant factor in advancing this objective. However, with emerging, new FWA systems, there has been a renewed interest in wireless access facilities for high-speed Internet service.

Concurrently, with the increased level of radiolocation activities to ensure national security and public safety, the Department has had to assess the impact of high-powered radiolocation operations in spectrum adjacent to or partially within the band used by FWA systems. Particular attention has been given to the spectrum requirement for radiolocation operations within Canada and along the Canada – U.S. border and the coastal waters. The Department undertook discussions with the Canadian Department of National Defence and the U.S. Administration, including U.S. Government users to better understand the radiolocation operations, the spectrum requirement and the potential for interference between FWA and radiolocation systems. As a result of these discussions, the Department has reached the conclusion that in order to accommodate both services, the FWA spectrum must be realigned so that (i) the existing priority spectrum for radiolocation is preserved and (ii) the spectrum for commercial FWA service receives minimal interference. It is expected that these changes will have minimal disruption on a relatively small number of FWA systems operating in rural areas.

Spectrum Policy Modifications

Effective immediately, the Department is making some changes to its 1998 spectrum policy (Spectrum Policy and Licensing Provisions for Fixed Wireless Access Systems in Rural Areas in the Frequency Range 3400-3700 MHz – referred to as SP 3400-3700 MHz) to provide for the spectrum requirements for radiolocation operations and for FWA systems in rural areas, that are licensed on a first-come, first-served basis. The summary of spectrum policy modifications is outlined below (the new band plan and designation status is shown in the table below):

1. Modifications to Frequency Allocation and Utilization: 

  1. The band 3500-3650 MHz is designated as the core spectrum for FWA systems and will replace the band 3400-3550 MHz as originally specified in SP 3400-3700 MHz for FWA systems. The band 3500-3650 MHz is available immediately for FWA implementation in the rural areas outlined under the 1998 spectrum and licensing policy, with the exception of specific geographical areas as defined in sections 2(b) and 2(c) below. The policy provisions of SP 3400-3700 MHz will now apply to the frequency range 3500-3650 MHz under a band plan based on consecutive 25 MHz blocks;
  2. As the fixed service allocation is being suppressed, a moratorium is immediately imposed on licensing new FWA systems in the band 3400-3450 MHz. This spectrum is being designated to the Government of Canada, on a priority basis, for radiolocation services (the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations will be modified to reflect radiolocation service as the only primary allocation in the band 3400-3450 MHz); and
  3. FWA systems authorized, as of the effective date of this policy, within the band 3400-3550 MHz are grandfathered and may continue to use their assigned blocks as per their authorization. The Department will support any request from existing licensees to relocate to the new core band 3500-3650 MHz.

2. Licensing Restrictions:

  1. The Department will not authorize any new FWA systems in the band 3450-3500 MHz until the interference environment, caused by radiolocation operation on FWA systems, has been fully characterized;

  2. The Department will not authorize any new FWA systems operating in the Vancouver and Whistler areas of southwestern B.C., within the new core band 3500-3525 MHz, as FWA systems could receive harmful interference, due to their proximity to coastal radiolocation activities within the band 3400-3525 MHz; and

  3. The Department will not authorize any new FWA systems operating on Vancouver Island, within the new core band 3500-3650 MHz, as FWA systems could receive harmful interference due to their close proximity to the coastal radiolocation operation activities across the 3400-3650 MHz spectrum range. However, in locations where good shielding exists from mountain terrains to mitigate interference from coastal radiolocation operations, particularly in inland locations of Vancouver Island, the Department may consider FWA applications in the band 3525-3650 MHz, on a case-by-case basis. It should be noted that as these FWA systems cannot be protected against potential interference, they should not provide critical services to customers, such as public emergency (e.g. 911) and public safety.

Band Plan and Designation Status
Block Frequencies (MHz)
A 3400 - 3425 Radiolocation C5*
B 3425 - 3450 Radiolocation C5*
C 3450 - 3475 FWA - suspended: Radiolocation C15*
D 3475 - 3500 FWA - suspended: Radiolocation C15*
E 3500 - 3525 FWA- core spectrum
F 3525 - 3550 FWA- core spectrum
G 3550 - 3575 FWA - core spectrum
H 3575 - 3600 FWA - core spectrum
J 3600 - 3625 FWA - core spectrum
K 3625 - 3650 FWA - core spectrum
L 3650 - 3675 (reserved)
M 3675 - 3700 (reserved)

Note:  Pairing of Blocks E&J, F&K for systems with 100 MHz separation; blocks G&H for same go/return spectrum
* Refers to the application of Canadian footnotes which are incorporated in the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations.

The Department will publish, in the near future, a policy and licensing framework for FWA spectrum in the core band 3500-3650 MHz.

To Obtain Copies

Copies are available electronically on the Spectrum Management and Telecommunications Web site at:

Paper copies can be obtained for a fee from:

St. Joseph Print Group Inc.
1165 Kenaston Street
P.O. Box 9809, Station T
Ottawa, Ontario
K1G 6S1
Phone Number: 613-746-4005
Toll free number: 1-888-562-5561
Fax: 819-779-283

February 22, 2003

Issued under the authorization
of the Radiocommunication Act

Larry Shaw
Director General Telecommunications Policy

R.W. McCaughern
Director General Spectrum Engineering Branch


1 Priority spectrum includes the Canadian radiolocation operation within the North American Air Defence (NORAD) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) coalitions.

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