SAB-001-19 — Request for Information on Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) Earth Stations Operating in the 3700-4200 MHz Band

Purpose

The purpose of this notice is to advise that Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) is requesting operators of fixed satellite service (FSS) earth stations (both licensed and licence-exempt) in the 3700-4200 MHz band to provide information on their stations. This includes television receive only (TVRO) earth stations for the reception of satellite television from FSS satellites.

Context

New flexible use

Through Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan and its focus on people, technologies and companies, the Government of Canada is committed to promoting innovation-led growth across all sectors of the Canadian economy. Access to spectrum remains an important element in positioning Canada at the leading edge of the digital economy. Consequently, ISED launched the Consultation on Revisions to the 3500 MHz Band to Accommodate Flexible Use and Preliminary Consultation on Changes to the 3800 MHz Band (the Consultation) and released the Decision on Revisions to the 3500 MHz Band to Accommodate Flexible Use and Preliminary Decisions on Changes to the 3800 MHz Band (the Decision) on revisions to the 3500 MHz band (3450-3650 MHz band) to accommodate flexible use (i.e. fixed and/or mobile use). The Decision also recognizes the potential for new flexible use in the 3700-4200 MHz band and states that ISED is adding this band to its planned spectrum releases, targeting a 2022 auction process. A future consultation will address proposed changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations, the amount of spectrum for flexible use, the spectrum utilization policy and the band plan, as well as the potential for implementing a Spectrum Access System (SAS) or similar database. Technical and policy considerations to optimize the use of this spectrum will also be addressed. In preparation for the future consultation, it is important that ISED has additional information of the current use, including both licensed and licence-exempt uses of this band (as discussed below).

Existing licensed use

The 3700-4200 MHz band is licensed for use for downlink (i.e. space-to-earth) by FSS systems, primarily for the delivery of telephony and Internet in northern and remote communities. This band is paired with the uplink (i.e. earth-to-space) band 5925-6425 MHz. Given that these systems operate on a licensed basis, ISED retains a record of their operating parameters, including locations of their earth stations and other technical parameters. However, as part of the overall exercise to obtain additional information on the existing use of the band, it would be beneficial to obtain up-to-date records to reflect the current deployment of these systems.

Licence-exempt use

The band is also used by earth stations that only operate as broadcasting receive-only terminals. Most of the receive-only FSS usage within Canada operate on a licence-exempt basis. Hence, ISED does not have any information about the location or parameters of these stations. These stations include licence-exempt receivers or TVRO earth stations used by consumers or businesses for direct TV program viewing or used by broadcasting undertakings for the reception of programming content, some of which are also used to re-distribute to subscribers via wired networks (e.g. cable headends). In accordance with the current spectrum utilization policy (SP 3-30 GHz, Revisions to Spectrum Utilization Policies in the 3-30 GHz Frequency Range and Further Consultation) that allows receive-only earth stations to be operated on a license-exempt basis, these earth stations operate without protection from licensed systems.

Request for information

As discussed above, in order to develop a future consultation to evaluate the potential for allowing flexible use in portions of the 3700-4200 MHz band, ISED is requesting information on both the licensed and licence-exempt FSS earth stations operating in the 3700-4200 MHz band.

Timing and process

The details related to the request for earth station information are as follows:

  1. Operators of licenced FSS earth stations are urged to verify or update all information reflected on their licences on ISED's Spectrum management system by November 1, 2019.
  2. Effective June 5, 2019 and until November 1, 2019, ISED will be accepting information on earth stations (satellite dishes) currently used for direct television program viewing through the form, Information requested for earth stations (satellite dishes) currently used for direct television program viewing in the C-Band (3700-4200 MHz).
  3. Effective June 5, 2019 and until November 1, 2019, ISED will be accepting information on licence-exempt earth stations currently used by broadcasting undertakings through the form, Information requested for licence-exempt earth stations currently used by broadcasting undertakings in the C-Band (3700-4200 MHz).
  4. The submission of information does not afford interference protection from potential future licensed systems. The future consultation will address the treatment of existing earth stations.
  5. ISED will monitor and may make changes to these instructions as required.
  6. For questions, please email ic.spectrumengineering-genieduspectre.ic@canada.ca.

June 5, 2019

Adam Scott
Director General
Spectrum Licensing and Policy Branch

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