Decision on a Licence Renewal Process for Spectrum in the Bands 849-851 MHz and 894-896 MHz for Air-Ground Services

1. Intent

1. Through the release of this document, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (the Minister) hereby announces the decisions resulting from the consultation undertaken in Canada Gazette notice SLPB-006-18, Consultation on a Licence Renewal Process for Spectrum in the Bands 849-851 MHz and 894-896 MHz for Air-Ground Services (the Consultation).

2. All comments and reply comments received in response to the Consultation are available on Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s (ISED) Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website. Comments and/or reply comments were received from Gogo Inc. (Gogo), Rogers Communications Canada Inc. (Rogers), Saskatchewan Telecommunications (SaskTel), and SkySurf Canada Communications Inc. (SkySurf).

3. The following document (hereinafter referred to as the Decision) sets out decisions for the renewal of licences for air-ground services, which were auctioned in 2009.

2. Mandate

4. The Minister, 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 spectrum utilization and for ensuring effective management of the radio frequency spectrum resource.

5. The Minister is provided the general powers for spectrum management in Canada, pursuant to section 5 of the Radiocommunication Act and sections 4 and 5 of the Department of Industry Act. The Governor in Council may make regulations with respect to spectrum management, pursuant to section 6 of the Radiocommunication Act; these regulations have been prescribed under the Radiocommunication Regulations.

3. Policy objectives

6. In developing policies and licensing frameworks, the Minister is guided by the policy objectives of the Telecommunications Act, and the Spectrum Policy Framework for Canada (SPFC), which seeks to maximize the economic and social benefits that Canadians derive from the use of the radio frequency spectrum resource. These objectives, and the enabling guidelines outlined in the SPFC, continue to be relevant for guiding the Minister in delivering their mandate of spectrum management.

7. The Minister’s objectives for the renewal of the relevant licences are to:

  • foster innovation and investment
  • facilitate deployment and timely availability of services across the country

4. Background

8. The bands 849-851 MHz and 894-896 MHz are allocated to the aeronautical mobile service on a primary basis, for public correspondence with aircraft. Air-ground services are a subset of aeronautical mobile services, allowing for air-ground radiocommunication applications such as voice telephony, broadband internet and data transmission. The use of these bands is harmonized for air-ground use across North America.

9. In June 2009, ISED auctioned two spectrum licences for air-ground services in the Tier 1 service area. These licences were issued for a 10-year term, expiring in June 2019. A total of 4 MHz of spectrum was made available in two paired blocks in the bands 849-851 MHz and 894-896 MHz. SkySurf was awarded licences for both blocks.

10. With the licences nearing the end of term, ISED published the Consultation in August 2018, which sought input on issues related to potential new licences issued through the renewal process, including: renewal eligibility, licence term, expectation of renewal, deployment requirements, annual reporting requirements, and other conditions of licence.

11. Use of the bands must be in accordance with DGRB-004-08, Spectrum Utilization Policy and Consultation on a Framework to Auction Spectrum in the Bands 849-851 MHz and 894-896 for Air-Ground Services and by DGRB-006-09, Licensing Framework to Auction Spectrum in the Bands 849-851 MHz and 894-896 MHz for Air-Ground Services (the Licensing Framework). 

5. Renewal eligibility

12. The licences were assigned by auction in 2009 and will expire in June 2019. In the Consultation, ISED proposed to renew the licences where the licensee was able to demonstrate compliance with all conditions of licence.

5.1 Comments

13. All responses supported ISED’s proposal to renew spectrum licences in 849-851 MHz and 894-896 MHz for which licensees have met their conditions of licence. SkySurf argued that its licence should be renewed as it has met, and will continue to meet, all conditions of licence. Gogo mentioned that renewing these licences would help ensure continued service availability for air travelers in Canada. Rogers supported renewal of the licences, but expressed its belief that, in the long term, the spectrum could be more valuable to Canadians if repurposed for mobile use.

5.2 Discussion

14. As stated in the Framework for Spectrum Auctions in Canada (FSAC), licensees will have a high expectation of renewal 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.

15. As mentioned in section 4 of this document, the frequency is allocated to the aeronautical mobile service on a primary basis, and the band is regionally harmonized in North America. ISED recognizes that the harmonized technical rules and the cross-border arrangements that are currently in place foster interoperability of systems, allowing for a seamless North American network. As such, ISED is not planning any fundamental reallocation of this spectrum at this time, nor does it see any overriding policy need that would preclude the issuance of new licences through this renewal process.

16. Accordingly, ISED will renew the licences where the licensee can demonstrate that they are in compliance with all licence conditions, including deployment, as set out in appendix A of the 2009 Licensing Framework. Licensees with deployment below the required level will not be eligible for a new long-term spectrum licence under the renewal process.

D1:   Licensees will be eligible for new spectrum licences through this renewal process where all conditions of licence, including the deployment conditions, for the current licences in 849-851 MHz and 894-896 MHz have been met.

6. Conditions of licence for new licences issued under the renewal process

17. It should be noted that all spectrum licences are subject to the relevant provisions in the Radiocommunication Act and the Radiocommunication Regulations. For example, the Minister continues to have the power to amend the terms and conditions of spectrum licences pursuant to paragraph 5(1)(b) of the Radiocommunication Act. The Minister may do so for a variety of reasons, including furtherance of the policy objectives related to the band. Such action would normally only be undertaken after consultation.

18. In the Consultation, ISED sought comments on the conditions of licence which would apply to new licences issued through the renewal process.

6.1 Licence term

19. In the Consultation, ISED sought comments on the potential term lengths of new licences issued through the renewal process. ISED proposed that a term of less than ten years be considered to facilitate alignment with the corresponding air-ground licences in the United States (U.S.), which expire in October 2026.

6.1.1 Comments

20. Responses to this question were mixed. Gogo and SkySurf advocated for a licence term of ten years, while Rogers and SaskTel favoured shorter licence terms.

21. Gogo noted the importance of regulatory certainty in order to promote investment, particularly in the case of telecommunications services provided on-board aircraft. Gogo also noted that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) raised no concerns when renewing the corresponding U.S. licences in 2016, and that it does not anticipate any efforts in the U.S. to reallocate air-ground spectrum. SkySurf expressed that alignment with the U.S. licence terms did not imply coincident licence terms, and that a 10-year licence term would allow Canada sufficient time to consider the implications of any determination by the FCC and to conduct a subsequent consultation process.

22. Rogers proposed that a three-year licence term, with the potential for up to two-additional renewal terms to be granted without further public consultation, would provide some regulatory certainty to current licensees while providing ISED enough flexibility to reallocate the spectrum for more efficient use. SaskTel recommended that licence terms be determined such that the Canadian licence expiry dates align with the October 2026 expiry date of the corresponding licences in the U.S.

6.1.2 Discussion

23. As mentioned in section 3 of this document, ISED’s policy objective is to maximize the economic and social benefits that Canadians derive from the radio spectrum resource. ISED recognizes that many Canadians benefit from the broadband connectivity delivered through the use of this spectrum, and considers that its current use supports the achievement of this policy objective.

24. Cross-border harmonization of this spectrum in North America is a key component of the continued provision of air-ground services to consumers. ISED must balance the need for investment certainty with the need for flexibility in responding to new developments. ISED will assess and take into consideration the status of the corresponding air-ground licences in the U.S. as part of future renewal processes.

25. As mentioned in the Consultation, the corresponding air-ground licences in the U.S. will expire in October 2026. ISED expects that further information regarding the future outlook of the U.S. licences will become available shortly before the expiry of their current licence term, and believes this would be an opportune time to consider how to maximize the use of the spectrum in the future.

26. ISED considers an eight-year licence term to be appropriate for new licences issued through this renewal process. An eight-year licence term will provide a degree of certainty to current users and promote continued investment and provision of service, while also enabling a closer alignment of licence terms within North America.

D2: Licences issued through this renewal process will have a licence term of eight years.

6.2 Expectation of renewal

27. In the Consultation, ISED noted the evolving nature of the industry, as technological advances make satellite solutions more viable, and new approaches such as direct air-ground are being used more widely. Given these considerations, ISED stated that continued monitoring of technological and market developments would be important to ensure that the spectrum is put to its best use. In order to allow sufficient flexibility in responding to future developments, ISED proposed that licences issued through this renewal process would not be accorded a high expectation of renewal. Comments were sought on this proposal.

6.2.1 Comments

28. Responses to this question were mixed. Rogers and SaskTel agreed with ISED’s proposal to issue new licences without a high expectation of renewal. SaskTel emphasized the importance of continued alignment with the U.S., and expressed its expectation that the FCC would conduct a thorough review of air-ground services prior to the expiry of the U.S. licence term in October 2026. SaskTel also noted the continuing evolution of the industry and the technologies used to provide air-ground services.

29. Gogo and SkySurf disagreed with ISED’s proposal. Both parties argued that ISED’s concerns regarding the future use of air-ground technology were unfounded, arguing that the higher costs and greater weight of on-board equipment for satellite systems would ensure that air-ground remained a more attractive solution for in-flight broadband service. SkySurf held the view that it is not ISED’s role to select or favour specific technology, and that if ISED did not provide a high expectation of renewal, it could lead customers and suppliers to favour satellite technology simply due to greater regulatory certainty. Both Gogo and SkySurf highlighted the significant investments that have been made to provide air-ground services in Canada. SkySurf suggested that a high expectation of renewal would support continued investment in air-ground technology, and that such investment would otherwise be curtailed.

30. In its reply comments, Rogers disputed comments that long-term licence certainty would promote technological improvements. Rogers also expressed its belief that airlines would be unlikely to invest in upgrading the technology used in Gogo’s air-ground network, as satellite technology continues to improve and low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite systems come online. In its reply comments, SkySurf argued that current technology demonstrably serves Canadians effectively and efficiently, and that LEO technology is speculative and years away from implementation and active service. SkySurf disagreed with Rogers’ assessment of air-ground technology, noting that the number of air-ground users continues to grow and that there is a strong and expanding installed base of airplanes equipped with the technology in Canada.

6.2.2 Discussion

31. As noted in the Consultation, ISED recognizes the importance of balancing the need for flexibility in responding to evolving technology with the need for investment certainty. The availability of broadband connectivity on-board aircraft is a relatively recent development. Service providers, including Gogo, currently deliver this connectivity using a combination of air-ground and satellite technologies. ISED anticipates that air-ground technology will continue to be well suited to serve business jets and general aviation due to the relatively low cost and weight of installed air-ground equipment.  On the other hand, satellite technology will meet the growing need for customer broadband demands and new aircraft are being built with integrated satellite antennas. ISED foresees that the use of this band for air-ground services is likely to continue, but recognizes that the parallel development of air-ground and satellite technologies could change how providers deliver on-board broadband connectivity in the future, and that other potential uses for the air-ground spectrum may arise.

32. In developing policies and licensing frameworks, ISED seeks to maximize the economic and social benefits that Canadians derive from the use of the radio frequency spectrum resource. ISED recognizes that the air-ground network currently in place serves a large and established client base using a relatively small amount of spectrum.

33. With the rapid and ongoing pace of advancement in wireless communications, ISED’s challenge is to prepare for the future while continuing to support the services that Canadians depend on today. Having a consultation as part of a licence renewal provides an opportunity to re-evaluate the appropriateness of spectrum use, and for various stakeholders to make submissions on ISED’s potential future approach to the band. The decisions outlined in this document are based on information obtained through such a consultation process. Based on the information available at this time, ISED is not according a high expectation of renewal to licences issued through this process. In considering whether to renew licences at the end of this licence term, ISED will hold a consultation process that will permit the licensee and other stakeholders to once again provide information to update ISED’s assessment of technological developments that may impact how this spectrum is used, the extent of the service offering in Canada and the degree to which Canadians are using the service, and other factors as appropriate.

D3: Prior to the expiry of licences issued through this renewal process, ISED will hold a consultation process to inform its assessment of ongoing trends in technology and spectrum use in the band.  The results of this future consultation process will determine whether new licences will be issued through a renewal process and, if so, under what terms and conditions.

6.3 Deployment requirement

34. Deployment requirements are conditions of licence that encourage the delivery of service in all regions of Canada in a timely manner for the benefit of Canadians.

35. The 2009 Licensing Framework set out deployment targets as follows: “Two years prior to the end of the licence term, the licensee must demonstrate implementation of stations covering 75% of Canadian air routes. Any deployment below 75% or using another indicator will be taken into consideration by [ISED] in determining whether to renew the licence in whole, in part or not at all….”

36. In support of its policy objectives, ISED proposed in the Consultation that licences issued through the renewal process be subject to updated deployment requirements that provide additional clarity to the licensee while promoting continued provision of services.

37. The proposed deployment requirements for licences issued through the renewal process were as follows: “For the duration of the new licence term, the licensee will be required to demonstrate that this spectrum has been put to use. Use is defined as implementation of ground stations using air-ground spectrum in the bands 849-851 MHz and 894-896 MHz covering 75% of air routesFootnote 1 originating or terminating in Canada, for segments within Canadian Domestic Airspace as defined in the issue of the Designated Airspace Handbook in effect at the time of licences being issued through this process.”

6.3.1 Comments

38. SkySurf supported ISED’s proposed deployment conditions. SaskTel did not specifically address the deployment requirements proposed as part of this renewal process, but expressed that all licensees should meet a reasonable deployment requirement in order to receive new licences through a renewal process. Rogers argued generally that spectrum licences for which initial deployment requirements have been met should have deployment requirements removed upon licence renewal. Rogers also expressed the general view that deployment requirements would be unnecessary for licences without a high expectation of renewal.

6.3.2 Discussion

39. ISED believes that spectrum is a public resource that should be used in ways that serve the public interest. As outlined in the SPFC, in developing policies and licensing frameworks, ISED seeks to maximize the economic and social benefits that Canadians derive from the use of the radio frequency spectrum resource.

40. Deployment requirements are conditions of licence that encourage the delivery of service in all regions of Canada in a timely manner for the benefit of Canadians. As such, ISED is of the view that deployment requirements should continue to be applied to any long term licence.

41. As the proposed deployment criteria adds clarity for both ISED and licensees, and considering that stakeholders did not raise any objections to the updated phrasing, ISED will adopt the newly worded deployment requirements as proposed in the consultation and as stated in annex A of this decision.

D4: Deployment requirements for licences issued through this renewal process will be as stated in annex A.

6.4 Annual reporting requirements

42. In the Consultation, ISED proposed additional annual reporting requirements, which ISED would take into consideration in determining whether to renew the licence in whole, in part or not at all, as part of any subsequent renewal process. These proposed additional requirements included reporting on the total number of aircraft actively offering air-ground connectivity to passengers, and the total amount of data traffic over the licensee’s air-ground network in Canada.

6.4.1 Comments

43. SaskTel and SkySurf supported ISED’s proposed annual reporting requirements. SaskTel expressed that the information to be provided would be important in future renewal processes. SkySurf expected that the information would serve to highlight the commercialization activities undertaken by it and its partners.

44. Rogers recommended that ISED modify the proposed reporting requirements for air-ground to reduce the burden on the licensee. Rogers suggested that ISED move towards an “as-requested” model for reporting requirements in order to reduce the administrative burden for both licensees and ISED.

6.4.2 Discussion

45. As other solutions such as satellite and direct air-ground are becoming more available, ISED recognizes the need to monitor spectrum usage and implementation in this band to ensure the spectrum is being put to its best use.

46. Currently, spectrum licence conditions include a requirement to submit an annual report along with existing company reports to ISED to provide basic information on spectrum use. While this reporting provides ISED with valuable information, the concerns of respondents have been noted. ISED may consult in the future to review this condition of licence. As the proposed reporting requirements will assist ISED in monitoring spectrum usage, ISED will adopt the reporting requirements as referenced in the Consultation as stated in annex A of this decision.

D5: The annual reporting requirements for licences issued through the renewal process will be as stated in annex A.

6.5 Other conditions of licence

47. In the Consultation, ISED also sought comments on the other proposed conditions of licence, which were contained in Annex A of the Consultation. These conditions would apply to new licences issued under this renewal process.

6.5.1 Comments

48. Gogo, SaskTel and SkySurf supported the other conditions of licence as proposed in the Consultation.

49. Rogers suggested modifications to two conditions of licence. It proposed that the conditions related to lawful interception be modified to mandate only those interception capabilities provided for in industry standards, and that the conditions related to research and development requirements be phased out.

6.5.2 Discussion

50. The remaining proposed conditions of licence contained in annex A would apply to new licences issued under this renewal process. The conditions of licence are based on existing policies and procedures developed through consultation.

51. Research and development (R&D) requirements align with the spectrum objectives of the federal government, namely to foster innovation and investment, and to maximize the economic and social benefits that Canadians derive from the use of the radio frequency spectrum resource. In February 2014, ISED released a decision, modifying the R&D condition, as published in SLPB-002-14, Decisions on Conditions of Licence Regarding Research and Development and Learning Plans.

52. R&D continues to be recognized as a significant contributing factor to the ongoing success of the digital economy in Canada. Maintaining the R&D requirement supports research, technology and investment for the current and future prosperity of Canadians. As such, the R&D condition of licence will be adopted as proposed.

53. The condition of licence on lawful intercept was first introduced in 1996 for Personal Communications Services (PCS) spectrum licences. This condition has been applied to most spectrum licences that carry public traffic to and from the public networks. The requirement has been modified over the years to ensure consistency with the Telecommunications Act and related regulations.

54. In order to ensure continued provision of intercept capabilities as authorized by law, the condition will be adopted as proposed.

D6: Conditions of licence not already addressed above will be as set out in annex A.

7. Fees

55. The FSAC states that for licences issued through a renewal process, licence fees that reflect some measure of market value will apply. A separate consultation will be required to determine the spectrum licence fees that will apply to the spectrum licences issued through this renewal process. Any fees would only apply after a consultation process.

8. Next steps

56. Licensees that have met their conditions of licence will be eligible to apply for and receive new licences in accordance with this decision as of June 2019.

57. Licences that are not issued through the renewal process will be reassigned through a subsequent licensing process. This subsequent licensing process would be the subject of a future consultation.

58. ISED will launch a consultation on fees applicable to new licences issued through this renewal process.

9. Obtaining copies

59. All spectrum related documents referred to in this paper are available on ISED's Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website.

60. For further information concerning the proposals outlined in this consultation or related matters, contact:

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
c/o Director, Spectrum Regulatory Best Practices
235 Queen Street, 6th Floor
Ottawa ON  K1A 0H5

Telephone: 613-219-5436
Fax: 343-291-1269
Email: ic.spectrumauctions-encheresduspectre.ic@canada.ca

Annex A: Conditions of licence

The following are the conditions of licence for the renewed licences for spectrum in the bands 849-851 MHz and 894-896 MHz for air-ground services.

It should be noted that the licences are subject to the relevant provisions in the Radiocommunication Act and the Radiocommunication Regulations, as amended from time to time. For example, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development continues to have the power to amend the terms and conditions of spectrum licences, under paragraph 5(1)(b) of the Radiocommunication Act. The Minister may do so for a variety of reasons, including furtherance of the policy objectives related to the band. Such action would normally only be undertaken after consultation.

A1. Licence term

Licences issued through this renewal process will have an eight-year term and will not have a high expectation of renewal. Prior to the end of this licence term, a consultation will be held to determine whether new licences will be issued through a renewal process and, if so, under what terms and conditions.

A2. Eligibility

The licensee must comply on an ongoing basis with the applicable eligibility criteria in subsection 9(1) of the Radiocommunication Regulations. The licensee must notify the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development of any change that would have a material effect on its eligibility. Such notification must be made in advance for any proposed transactions within its knowledge.

A3. Licence transferability, divisibility and subordinate licensing

This licence is transferable in whole or in part (divisibility), in both bandwidth and geographic dimensions, subject to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada's (ISED) approval. A subordinate licence may also be issued in regard to this licence. ISED's approval is required for each proposed subordinate licence.

The licensee must make the Transfer Request in writing to ISED. The Transfer Request will be treated as set out in Client Procedures Circular CPC-2-1-23, Licensing Procedure for Spectrum Licences for Terrestrial Services, as amended from time to time.

The licensee must apply in writing to ISED for approval prior to implementing any Deemed Transfer, which will be treated as set out in CPC-2-1-23. The implementation of a Deemed Transfer without the prior approval of ISED will be considered a breach of this condition of licence.

In all cases, the licensee must follow the procedures as outlined in CPC-2-1-23.

All capitalized terms have the meaning ascribed to them in CPC-2-1-23.

A4. Radio station installations

The licensee must comply with Client Procedures Circular CPC-2-0-03, Radiocommunication and Broadcasting Antenna Systems, as amended from time to time.

A5. Provision of technical information

The licensee must provide, and maintain, up‑to‑date technical information on a particular station or network in accordance with the definitions, criteria, frequency and timelines specified in Client Procedures Circular CPC-2-1-23, Licensing Procedure for Spectrum Licences for Terrestrial Services, as amended from time to time.

A6. Compliance with legislation, regulations and other obligations

The licensee is subject to, and must comply with, the Radiocommunication Act and the Radiocommunication Regulations, as amended from time to time. The licensee must use the assigned spectrum in accordance with the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations and the spectrum policies applicable to this band, as amended from time to time. The licence is issued on condition that all representations made in relation to obtaining this licence are all true and complete in every respect.

A7. Technical considerations and international and domestic coordination

The licensee must comply on an ongoing basis with the technical aspects of the appropriate Radio Standards Specifications (RSS) and Standard Radio System Plans (SRSP), as amended from time to time. Where applicable, the licensee must use its best efforts to enter into mutually acceptable agreements with other parties for facilitating the reasonable and timely development of their respective systems, and to coordinate with other licensed users in Canada and internationally.

The licensee must comply with the obligations arising from current and future frequency coordination agreements established between Canada and other countries and shall be required to provide information or take actions to implement these obligations as indicated in the applicable SRSP. Although frequency assignments are not subject to site licensing, the licensee may be required through the appropriate SRSP to furnish all necessary technical data for each relevant site.

A8. Lawful interception

The licensee operating as telecommunication common carrier 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) – SGES. These standards may be amended from time to time.

The licensee may request the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to forbear from enforcing certain assistance capability requirements for a limited period of time. The Minister, following consultation with Public Safety Canada, may exercise the power to forbear from enforcing a requirement or requirements where, in the opinion of the Minister, the requirement is not reasonably achievable. Requests for forbearance must include specific details and dates indicating when compliance to the requirement can be expected.

A9. Research and development

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 (R&D) activities related to telecommunications. Eligible R&D activities are those that 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 R&D expenditure requirements if it, together with all affiliated licensees that are subject to the R&D 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.

A10. Deployment requirement

For the duration of the licence term, the licensee will be required to deploy ground stations using air-ground spectrum in the bands 849-851 MHz and 894-896 MHz covering at least 75% of air routes originating or terminating in Canada, for segments within Canadian Domestic Airspace as defined in the Designated Airspace Handbook at the time of issuance of this licence. Air routes originating or terminating in Canada, but not receiving service for the entire segment within Canadian Domestic Airspace shall be pro-rated for the purpose of calculating the percentage of air routes receiving service. For example, a route that receives service for only 50% of the route within Canadian Domestic Airspace will count as 0.5 of an air route relative to the total number of air routes.

A11. Mandatory antenna tower and site sharing

The licensee must comply with the mandatory antenna tower and site sharing requirements set out in Client Procedures Circular CPC-2-0-17, Conditions of Licence for Mandatory Roaming and Antenna Tower and Site Sharing and to Prohibit Exclusive Site Arrangements, as amended from time to time.

A12. Annual reporting

The licensee must submit an annual report for each year of the licence term, which includes the following information:

  • a statement indicating continued compliance with all conditions of licence, including all calculations related to deployment
  • an update on the implementation and spectrum usage within the area covered by the licence, including specific data demonstrating: 
    • the total number of aircraft actively offering air-ground connectivity to passengers
    • the amount of spectrum use, as approximated by the total amount of data traffic over the licensee’s air-ground network in Canada
  • existing audited financial statements with an accompanying auditor’s report
  • a statement indicating the annual gross operating revenues from the provision of wireless services in Canada, and where applicable, the annual adjusted gross revenues resulting from the use of this licence, as defined in these conditions of licence
  • if required, a report of the R&D as set out in these conditions of licence (ISED may request an audited statement of R&D expenditures with an accompanying auditor’s report, at its discretion)
  • supporting financial statements where a licensee is claiming an exemption based on—together with all affiliated licensees that are subject to the R&D condition of licence—it having less than $1 billion in annual gross operating revenues from the provision of wireless services in Canada, averaged over the term of the licence
  • a copy of any existing corporate annual report for the licensee’s fiscal year with respect to the authorization and
  • other information related to the licence as specified in any notice updating the reporting requirements as issued by ISED

All reports and statements must be certified by an officer of the company and submitted, in writing, within 120 days of the licensee's fiscal year‑end. Confidential information provided will be treated in accordance with subsection 20(1) of the Access to Information Act.

Reports are to be submitted to ISED at the following address:

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
c/o Manager, Operational Policy 
Spectrum Management Operations Branch
235 Queen Street, 6th Floor
Ottawa ON  K1A 0H5

Where a licensee holds multiple licences, spectrum implementation reports should be broken down by service area. This information, including the extent of implementation and spectrum usage, is important for analyzing each licensee's individual performance against its conditions of licence. In addition, it allows ISED to monitor the effectiveness of these conditions in meeting the policy objectives regarding the band and ISED's intent that the spectrum be deployed in a timely manner for the benefit of Canadians.

A13. Licence fees

The licensee must pay any applicable licence fees. Licences will be subject to fees after they are established, as noted in SLPB-007-18, Decision on a Licence Renewal Process for Spectrum in the Bands 849-851 MHz and 894-896 MHz for Air-Ground Services.

A14. Amendments

The Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development retains the discretion to amend these terms and conditions of licence at any time.

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