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Consultation on Updates to the Licensing and Fee Framework for Earth Stations and Space Stations in Canada

SMSE-009-21
August 2021

Note (effective October 27, 2021): The reply comments deadline provided in section 12 has been extended as follows:

  • closing date for reply comments: November 22, 2021
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1. Intent

1. Through the release of this document, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), on behalf of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (the Minister) is initiating a consultation on the licensing and fee framework for earth stations and space stations (satellites), with a view to increasing spectrum efficiency, use and flexibility, taking into account the evolving radiocommunication industry, advancements in technology, and marketplace demands.

2. The consultation addresses the licensing and fee regime for all space stations and all earth stations, except for those earth stations specifically exempt under the Radiocommunication Act. This includes a review of existing fees for fixed- and broadcasting-satellite service (FSS and BSS) and mobile-satellite services (MSS) spectrum licences.

2. Mandate

3. 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 national policies for spectrum use and ensuring effective management of the radio frequency spectrum resource. The Minister may also fix fees regarding the rights and privileges related to the use of spectrum in Canada, including new licence fees. Under the Radiocommunication Act, the Governor-in-Council may make regulations prescribing fees for radio authorizations.

3. Policy objectives

4. The radio frequency spectrum is a unique and scarce resource that is an integral component of Canada’s telecommunications infrastructure. ISED encourages the efficient and optimal use of spectrum through policy and standards to ensure its continued availability. The type of licence and the associated licence fees are one mechanism designed to both promote the effective use of spectrum and to earn a fair return for the Canadian public for the privilege of access to this public resource.

5. In developing this consultation, the Minister was guided by the policy objectives of the Spectrum Policy Framework for Canada (SPFC) to maximize the economic and social benefit that Canadians derive from the use of the radio frequency spectrum in light of the challenges of a rapidly changing technological environment. ISED is committed to ensuring that Canada has a world-class telecommunications infrastructure and that Canadian consumers, businesses and public institutions continue to benefit from advanced wireless telecommunications services and applications.

6. Canada faces unique geographic challenges, with a widely dispersed population and many rural and remote communities. In this context, satellites play a vital role in Canada’s telecommunications and broadcasting infrastructure in that they are currently the only means of reaching many of those communities, with terrestrial solutions not feasible in the near term.

7. In May 2019, the Government of Canada released Canada’s Digital Charter: Trust in a digital world (the Digital Charter). The Digital Charter lists universal access as the first of 10 principles that will lay the foundation for a made-in-Canada digital approach and guide policy thinking and actions towards establishing an innovative, people-centred and inclusive digital and data economy built on trust. The principle of universal access states that all Canadians will have an equal opportunity to participate in the digital world and will have the necessary tools to do so, including access, connectivity, literacy and skills. Satellite systems will play a key role in supporting universal access in the most remote areas of the country.

8. The Government of Canada is also committed to promoting the delivery of broadband services to rural and remote areas across the country. In 2019, High-Speed Access for All: Canada’s Connectivity Strategy was launched, and a national connectivity target was announced that aims to make speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 10 Mbps upload available to all Canadian homes and businesses. As part of this commitment, ISED is considering the need to support and encourage connectivity for rural and remote communities as it develops new licensing rules and a fee regime for satellite services.

9. Proposals made in this consultation support the objectives of the SPFC, the Digital Charter and Canada’s Connectivity Strategy, by simplifying the licensing approach and fee structure, while reducing fees overall to support the evolution of the satellite industry and facilitate the deployment of innovative satellite solutions, including those for broadband connectivity.

4. Context

10. With the exception of the rules and fees for FSS and BSS satellites, which were updated in 2014 and 2016 respectively, the licensing and fee framework for satellite services has not been updated in over three decades. This framework varies according to the type of satellite service and employs different types of licensing instruments (e.g. radio licences and spectrum licences).

11. ISED’s current policies, procedures, and fees are organized by satellite service. They include:

12. The satellite industry has been undergoing a fundamental transformation in recent years, with new technologies, launch capabilities, industry players, and services. This includes the deployment of high throughput satellites in geostationary satellite orbit (GSO), the development of large constellations in low Earth orbit for the provision of broadband connectivity, the increased accessibility of space through the low-cost build and launch of SmallSats and CubeSats, and the introduction of new, disruptive industry players. Commercial activity in earth observation applications has continued to expand rapidly and new commercial communication services, such as satellite-enabled Internet of Things (IoT), have emerged.

13. The traditional definitions of satellite services (FSS, BSS, MSS, etc.) that form the basis of international and domestic regulatory frameworks are becoming blurred through convergence of previously distinct services, for example the emergence of earth stations in motion (ESIMs), which are mobile earth stations that use frequency bands assigned to the FSS. The demands to provide high capacity services and to lower the cost per bit are driving satellites to move into higher frequency bands such as the Ka, Q and V bands, where there is more spectrum to meet those demands.

14. Additionally, in response to the demand to free up more spectrum for terrestrial services, notably 5G services, ISED has made changes to the amount of spectrum available in lower frequency bands, for example the May 2021 SLPB-002-21, Decision on the Technical and Policy Framework for the 3650-4200 MHz Band and Changes to the Frequency Allocation of the 3500-3650 MHz Band. The demand to free up spectrum has also led to the development of spectrum policies that introduce sharing between flexible use services and satellite services in certain bands, such as in the SLPB-003-19, Decision on Releasing Millimetre Wave Spectrum to Support 5G.

15. The licensing and fee framework for fixed earth stations has been in place without significant modernization since the 1980s. In 2015, in order to keep pace with commercial and technological developments, ISED adopted an interim approach to licensing systems of identical earth stations in certain bands to streamline the licensing of direct-to-consumer satellite Internet terminals, as referenced in 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. The approach was also applied to other similar deployments, where the issuance of individual radio licences was unnecessary and cumbersome for both ISED and licensees and would have resulted in disproportionate fees compared to those of other earth stations.

16. Similarly, the development and implementation of ESIMs, which do not fit clearly within an existing set of procedures, have required an interim approach to licensing. ISED determined that the application of the existing MSS fee, designed for low-bandwidth systems in lower frequency bands, to ESIMs would have led to disproportionately high fees when compared with fees for similar licences. For that reason, ESIMs are currently authorized on an interim basis through radio licences with a fee per terminal, as established in Canada’s Radiocommunication Regulations.

17. In 2014 and 2016, ISED updated the licensing and fee framework for FSS and BSS satellites through Decisions on the Licensing Framework for Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS) and Broadcasting-Satellite Service (BSS), Implications for Other Satellite Services in Canada, and Revised Fee Proposal (the FSS/BSS Satellite Decision). Additional updates related to the licensing of non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) systems in 2017 were made through Decisions on the Licensing Framework for Non-Geostationary Satellite Orbit (NGSO) Systems and Clarification of Application Procedures for All Satellite Licence Applications (the NGSO Decision). However, the licensing and fee framework for MSS has not changed since the late 1990s and does not reflect changes in that industry. Similarly, there have been no changes to the licensing instrument or fees for scientific satellites or satellites performing other functions, such as those operating in the earth exploration satellite service (EESS), the space research service (SRS), the satellite operations service, and others.

18. In 2021, the licence fee framework for fixed point-to-point systems, which shared a fee table in the Radiocommunication Regulations with fixed earth stations, was updated through regulatory amendments that replaced a fee regime based on traffic carried with one based on spectrum authorized. These changes are described in ISED’s DGSO-004-19, Decision on the Licence Fee Framework for Fixed Point-to-Point Systems. Using the authorized spectrum multiplied by a base rate is known as “consumption-based” fee calculation. For fixed point-to-point links, the fees are set on a $/MHz basis, similar to existing fee orders for FSS and BSS satellites, MSS satellites, and MSS earth stations. Fixed earth stations were not included in the point-to-point fee update.

19. ISED is of the view that a fully updated licensing and fee framework for all satellite services would provide regulatory certainty and facilitate the deployment of modern satellite services for Canadians, such as broadband connectivity in rural and remote areas, and new service availability (e.g. satellite-enabled IoT). ISED is seeking comments on the updated framework through this consultation.

5. International comparison

20. ISED examined the licensing and fee frameworks of other countries, including Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Additional countries were studied in 2012 in preparation for the FSS/BSS Satellite Decision. It remains difficult to draw direct comparisons between administrations, given that licensing frameworks vary considerably and are often shaped by historical and institutional factors.

21. In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) issues apparatus-based licences, which also authorize communications links. When a satellite is licensed by ACMA, the licence includes earth stations in the coverage area and frequency bands authorized. ACMA’s spectrum fee framework combines consumption-based fees (to provide incentives for efficient spectrum use) with additional charges designed to recover administrative costs. In addition to the amount of spectrum consumed, the fee calculation also takes into account the density of services and demand for spectrum at different frequencies and in different geographic areas. The fee is updated each year by their consumer price index (CPI).

22. In the United Kingdom, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) does not issue licences for the use of spectrum on a satellite, but the calculation of fees for earth stations, which are licensed, include some communications links to the satellite. Ofcom’s earth station licence fees reflect spectrum consumption and other relevant factors, including the frequency band, paths (including polarization), power and amount of spectrum. While not related to the use of spectrum itself, the United Kingdom also requires satellite operators to hold third-party liability insurance in view of the liability of states pursuant to the Outer Space Treaty, which can be viewed as an indirect regulatory cost.

23. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) currently issues licences for GSO networks and NGSO systems, and their associated spectrum, with earth stations requiring a separate licence. The FCC has made a number of updates to its licensing framework in recent years, and the proposals in this paper are generally consistent with the approach taken in the United States. The FCC operates on a cost-recovery basis for both satellite and earth station licences, which are both subject to application fees and annual regulatory fees. For satellites, the regulatory fee is payable once a satellite is in orbit, but licensees are required to hold a performance bond, which has an associated cost, from the time of issuance of the licence to the time the associated satellite is in operation.

24. While it is useful to examine the approaches in other countries, each model comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, it is important to ensure that the regulatory regime in place for satellite services in Canada is consistent with ISED’s overall approach to spectrum management in order to facilitate the deployment of innovative services for Canadians and to ensure that Canadian licensees are not significantly disadvantaged compared with their global competitors.

6. Licensing framework

25. The paragraphs below provide details about the proposed licensing framework.

6.1 Introduction of spectrum licensing for earth stations

26. Fixed earth stations operate only at a fixed, stationary location. Transportable earth stations, on the other hand, can be moved from one location to another, but only operate while at a fixed location. These two types of earth stations are typically authorized individually through radio licences, with the same licensing requirements, regardless of the type of station, frequency band of operation or technical characteristics. A licensee is required to hold an apparatus-based radio licence for each individual antenna or earth station at each site, as defined in the Radiocommunication Regulations. Radio licences have also been used on an interim basis to authorize ESIMs.

27. This approach, requiring each antenna or earth station at each site to have a separate licence, was appropriate in the early days of commercial satellite communications. However, as satellite technologies and services have evolved, this licensing approach has become unnecessarily cumbersome and costly. For example, individually licensing thousands of home Internet earth stations is neither practical nor necessary from a technical perspective.

28. In 2015, following internal analysis and the recognition that there had not been any interference cases with these types of terminals, ISED adopted an interim approach to authorization in certain frequency bands, as identified in CPC-2-6-01. Authorizations are issued under section 5(1)(a)(v), which allows the Minister to issue “any other authorization relating to radiocommunication that the Minister considers appropriate,” and authorize systems of identical earth stations that share the same technical parameters and frequency bands and that communicate with the same satellites. These authorizations are similar in nature to spectrum licences, but are granted on an interim basis only, pending updates to the regulatory framework. While there are no fees currently applicable for these interim authorizations, the proposals in this consultation are intended to establish both the licensing requirements and applicable fees for these types of earth stations.

29. Another challenge to the existing radio licence framework is the deployment of NGSO systems, in particular those in low Earth orbit. These systems require multiple gateway earth station locations, both to accommodate capacity and to be able to communicate with satellites that are distributed around the globe. Each individual earth station site for these systems is also comprised of multiple antennas. Applying apparatus-based radio licences is technically unnecessary and results in significant fee distortion when compared with gateway earth stations supporting GSO satellites.

30. In general ISED has been moving away from apparatus-based radio licensing for satellite services since the 1990s, when spectrum licences were first introduced. Spectrum licences were first applied to earth and space stations operating as part of MSS systems, and were adopted in 2016 for FSS and BSS space stations.

31. ISED is proposing to replace radio licences with spectrum licences for all earth stations (fixed, transportable and ESIMs). Multiple earth stations would be authorized under a single spectrum licence, replacing individual station licensing. As with existing earth station radio licences, these spectrum licences would be issued as annual licences and subject to the annual renewal cycle.

32. Given the large geographic coverage of the majority of satellites, with many covering large parts of North America, ISED is proposing that the spectrum licences for all satellite earth stations be issued for the Tier 1 service area. The licences would also authorize the radio service and frequency bands, and identify the satellites (and associated International Telecommunication Union (ITU) filings) with which the earth stations are permitted to communicate.

33. The same general conditions of licence that apply to current authorizations would be applied to the new spectrum licences, as would any frequency- or location-specific conditions based on spectrum policies for the relevant band. General conditions of licence are listed in annex A.

34. As set out below, ISED is proposing that two broad categories of spectrum licence be used to authorize earth stations. Both would authorize the licensee to operate an unlimited number of earth stations across Canada in accordance with technical and operational requirements.

Q1

ISED is seeking comments on its proposals to:

  1. use spectrum licences to authorize fixed and transportable earth stations and ESIMs within Canadian territory, with multiple earth stations authorized under a single licence
  2. issue the proposed spectrum licences for a Tier 1 service area, and have those licences authorize the radio service and frequency bands
  3. apply the general conditions of licence that are listed in annex A to earth station spectrum licences

6.2 Earth station spectrum licences requiring site approval

35. For some earth stations, site-specific analysis will be required prior to an earth station being deployed. Examples include:

  • earth stations that operate in bands where coordination is required in order to avoid harmful interference with other services sharing the band or where international coordination is required
  • transportable earth stations
  • large earth stations that may have a significant frequency impact on the immediate area
  • stations in frequency bands where deployments are otherwise limited through spectrum policies, such as gateway earth stations

36. Additionally, for those earth stations that conduct telemetry, telecommand and control (TT&C) functions for space stations and/or provide feeder links for FSS, BSS and MSS satellites, station-specific information will be required, reflecting the importance of interference-free operation of those functions.

37. ISED notes that all earth stations conducting TT&C, even those that use bands allocated to the amateur-satellite service or that control a satellite operating in the amateur-satellite service, must have a licence with site approval prior to operation.

38. ISED proposes to issue spectrum licences for these types of stations, but to require that each individual station and site under the spectrum licence be approved. For spectrum licences requiring site approval, the licensee would be required to submit technical information for each station for assessment and to receive approval by ISED prior to the deployment and operation of that earth station. An applicant could apply for a single or multiple stations at the time of initial application and would be required to apply for any additional stations to be deployed under the spectrum licence. Each site would require ISED’s approval. While yet to be defined, the administrative process could be similar to the existing site-specific process in place for radio licensing through the Spectrum Management System, and the spectrum licence would include reference to station-specific location information. Multiple stations and locations would be included on a single spectrum licence, with the fee being assigned to the licence, not to each individual location or station.

39. ISED proposes to require the same technical information as is currently collected for an application for a radio licence for a fixed earth station, as listed in annex B. This will facililate the conduct of electromagnetic compatibility analyses and international coordination prior to site approval.

40. For site-approved spectrum licences issued in bands shared with flexible use, or where SRSPs are in place that define band plans, ISED proposes that earth station licensees be required to hold a licence for entire spectrum blocks, at a minimum, as per the relevant SRSP.

41. Site approvals would be required in any frequency band for all stations described in paragraphs 35 to 38.

Q2

ISED is seeking comments on its proposals to:

  1. implement spectrum licences that require site approvals for all earth stations described above operating in any frequency band
  2. collect and assess the technical information listed in annex B as part of the site approval process
  3. require earth station licensees with site-approved spectrum licences to hold licences for entire spectrum blocks, as per relevant SRSPs
Q3

ISED is seeking comments on any additional technical information that should be required for site-approved earth stations. In providing comments, respondents are requested to include supporting arguments and a rationale.

Q4

ISED is seeking comments on what other types of earth stations, in addition to those identified, could be subject to spectrum licences that require site approvals.

6.3 Spectrum licences for generic earth stations

42. Most earth stations are deployed in bands for which specific coordination is not required between earth stations or with terrestrial services, or in bands where there have been no issues with harmful interference between services. In these bands, earth stations may be ubiquitously deployed and their technical characteristics are typically identical, for example, customer-premise antennas for home Internet or ESIMs providing broadband connectivity on board aircraft.

43. In 2015, ISED introduced an interim policy for authorizing systems of identical earth stations in portions of the Ku and Ka bands, specifically in the following bands:

  • 11.7-12.2 GHz (space-to-Earth) and 14.0-14.5 GHz (Earth-to-space);
  • 18.3-18.8 GHz (space-to-Earth);
  • 18.8-19.3 GHz (space-to-Earth);
  • 19.7-20.2 GHz (space-to-Earth) and 29.5-30 GHz (Earth-to-space);
  • 28.35-28.6 GHz (Earth-to-space);
  • 28.6-29.1 GHz (Earth-to-space); and
  • 29.25-29.5 GHz (Earth-to-space).

44. To date, there have been no reported instances of harmful interference between earth stations authorized under this interim policy and terrestrial services. ISED has also been issuing ESIM licences on a case-by-case, no-interference, no-protection basis in some of these bands.

45. ISED has been approached by a number of satellite operators with requests to expand the number of frequency bands where these interim licensing approaches could be applied in order to support existing or planned broadband services provided to ubiquitously deployed earth stations. Some operators also included plans to serve mobility markets such as in-flight connectivity services and connectivity to cruise ships.

46. Given the experience with the 2015 interim process, ISED is of the view that this process could be made permanent and expanded to other bands. As such, ISED is proposing to introduce a new licensing process for generic spectrum licences for earth stations that have identical parameters and do not require coordination with terrestrial systems. ISED is also proposing to adopt this process for authorizing systems of identical ESIMs.

47. It should be noted that certain technical information, as set out in annex B, would continue to be required as part of the application process for generic earth station licences, including information needed to confirm compliance with SRSP-101, Technical Requirements for Fixed Earth Stations Operating Above 1 GHz in Space Radiocommunication Services and Earth Stations on board Vessels (ESVs) Operating in the Fixed-Satellite Service.  Additional technical requirements for ESIMs may also be developed in the future.

Q5
ISED is seeking comments on its proposal to adopt generic spectrum licences in order to authorize systems of identical fixed earth stations and ESIMs.

6.3.1 Frequency bands where generic spectrum licences will be available

48. ISED has reviewed the spectrum policies and use of bands currently allocated to FSS in Canada to determine where generic spectrum licensing would be appropriate for fixed earth stations. In addition, ISED has reviewed existing spectrum policies, as well as the ITU Radio Regulations, with a view to adopt policies for ESIM licensing that would enable the issuance of generic spectrum licences for different types of ESIMs (aeronautical, land and/or maritime) in certain frequency bands.

49. ISED is proposing that generic spectrum licences would be available for various types of earth stations in specific frequency bands, as discussed below.

50. 3700-4200 MHz (space-to-Earth): This band is allocated to fixed service (FS), FSS, and mobile (except aeronautical mobile) services on a primary basis. As per ISED’s SLPB-002-21, Decision on the Technical and Policy Framework for the 3650-4200 MHz Band and Changes to the Frequency Allocation of the 3500-3650 MHz, published in May 2021, FSS earth stations will no longer be licensed in the 3700-4000 MHz band, except in satellite-dependent areas and at specific identified gateway locations in other areas of Canada. For the 4000-4200 MHz band, ISED proposes to allow generic licensing for aeronautical and maritime ESIMs only (see 5925-6425 MHz below). ISED seeks comments on the application of generic spectrum licensing for systems of identical receive-only earth stations that are part of an enterprise network, as per the above-noted decision, given that location information would be required to establish protection.

51. 5925-6425 MHz (Earth-to-space): This band is allocated to FS and FSS on a primary basis. ISED notes that it recently released a decision to repurpose the 3650-4000 MHz band for flexible use, which is a portion of the band traditionally paired with this spectrum. In addition, ISED released its SMSE-006-21, Decision on the Technical and Policy Framework for Licence-Exempt Use in the 6 GHz Band, allowing licence-exempt radio local area network (RLAN) use in the 5925-6425 MHz band. Widespread deployment of RLANs is anticipated across Canada in the coming years. As such, ISED proposes to limit the issuance of generic spectrum licences in this band to aeronautical and maritime ESIMs only (see 3700-4200 MHz above).

52. 10.7-10.95 GHz and 11.2-11.45 GHz (space-to-Earth): These bands are allocated to FS and FSS on a co-primary, equal basis and are part of the ITU Radio Regulations, appendix 30B (see paragraph 61 below). Both bands are heavily used by fixed point-to-point systems, with international limits in place to protect FS from transmitting space stations. ISED proposes to allow generic licensing in these bands for fixed earth stations on a no-interference, no-protection basis in relation to other licensed services in the band. ISED also proposes to permit generic licensing for aeronautical and maritime ESIMs.

53. 10.95-11.2 GHz and 11.45-11.7 GHz (space-to-Earth): These bands are allocated to FS and FSS on a co-primary basis, with FSS subject to power flux density (pfd) limits to protect FS. The 11.075-11.2 GHz and 11.575-11.7 GHz portions of the band are currently used for direct-to-home (DTH) television services, permitted until January 1, 2028, through Canadian footnote C16H. The associated customer-premise earth stations operate on a licence-exempt basis. There is a moratorium in place on new FS stations within these same portions of the band until 2026 (see DGTP-013-09 in the Canada Gazette). Given that the ubiquitous deployment of DTH is already permitted and pfd limits are in place to protect terrestrial services, ISED proposes to allow generic spectrum licensing in these bands for fixed earth stations and all three types of ESIMs. Given that current Canadian footnote C16H specifies time limits on the services to be offered in these bands, including not allowing the licensing of new FS systems until January 1, 2026, these bands may be subject to a future consultation, specifically on their allocation and use.

54. 11.7-12.2 GHz (space-to-Earth) and 14.0-14.5 GHz (Earth-to-space): These bands are included in the interim policy for authorizing systems of identical earth stations and there have not been any cases of harmful interference. ISED therefore proposes to issue generic spectrum licences for both fixed earth stations and all types of ESIMs (aeronautical, land and maritime) in these frequency bands.

55. 12.2-12.7 GHz (space-to-Earth): Although this band is allocated to FS, broadcasting service and BSS, ISED notes that NGSO FSS (space-to-Earth) is already permitted in this band in Region 2 through footnote 5.487A. Given limited deployment and lack of licensing policy for FS in this band, ISED proposes to allow generic spectrum licensing for both fixed earth stations and ESIMs (aeronautical, land and maritime) communicating with NGSO systems. ISED notes that this band is heavily used for DTH television broadcasting, which is not expected to change in the near-to-medium term. Given that BSS has been in decline in recent years, and uses and demand change over time, this band could be subject to future consultation.

56. 13.75-14.0 GHz (Earth-to-space): This band is allocated to FSS and radiolocation service on a primary basis, with the EESS and standard frequency and time signal-satellite service on a secondary basis. Given limited radiolocation use, ISED is proposing to allow generic spectrum licensing in these bands for fixed earth stations and all three types of ESIMs.

57. 17.7-18.3 GHz (space-to-Earth and Earth-to-space): This band is allocated to FS and FSS on a co-primary basis; however, given that FS has priority over FSS within the 17.9-18.3 GHz band, ubiquitously deployed FSS earth stations would contradict this priority and impede FS deployment. ISED will therefore not permit generic spectrum licensing for fixed earth stations in this band. The 17.7-18.3 GHz (space-to-Earth) band was also the subject of significant discussion at World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19), and is included in ITU-R Resolution 169 (WRC-19), Use of the frequency bands 17.7-19.7 GHz and 27.5-29.5 GHz by earth stations in motion communicating with geostationary space stations in the fixed-satellite service. Given the existing international framework for ESIMs in this band, ISED proposes to allow generic licensing of aeronautical and maritime ESIMs in the space-to-Earth direction, communicating with GSO satellites only. ISED seeks comments on whether to also allow generic licensing of aeronautical and maritime ESIMs in the space-to-Earth direction communicating with NGSO satellites.

58. 18.3-18.8 GHz (space-to-Earth) and 18.8-19.3 GHz (space-to-Earth): These bands are included in the interim policy for authorizing systems of identical earth stations and there have not been any cases of harmful interference. ISED therefore proposes to issue generic spectrum licences for both fixed earth stations and all ESIMs (aeronautical, land and maritime) in these frequency bands.

59. 19.7-20.2 GHz (space-to-Earth) and 29.5-30 GHz (Earth-to-space); 28.35-28.6 GHz (Earth-to-space); 28.6-29.1 GHz (Earth-to-space); and 29.25-29.5 GHz (Earth-to-space): These bands are included in the interim policy for authorizing systems of identical earth stations and there have not been any cases of harmful interference. ISED therefore proposes to issue generic spectrum licences for both fixed earth stations and ESIMs in these frequency bands.

60. 27.5-28.35 GHz band (Earth-to-space): ISED proposes to limit the issuance of generic spectrum licences to only aeronautical and maritime ESIMs communicating with GSO satellites in this band, consistent with the existing international framework and ISED’s SLPB-003-19, Decision on Releasing Millimetre Wave Spectrum to Support 5G, where it was decided that due to the ubiquitous nature of proposed fixed earth stations and land ESIMs, and the potential lack of geographical or altitudinal separation between land ESIM and flexible use stations, there is a high potential of harmful interference to flexible use systems. ISED seeks comments on whether to also allow generic licensing of aeronautical and maritime ESIMs communicating with NGSO satellites in the band.

61. ISED also assessed allowing generic spectrum licences for earth stations in other bands, including 12.7-12.75 GHz (Earth-to-space) and 12.75-13.25 GHz (Earth-to-space). However, ISED found that these bands would not be appropriate at this time, due to existing international regulations specifically related to planned bands set aside for equitable access to GSO FSS orbital spectrum resources. ISED notes that these bands are under discussion as part of agenda item 1.15 leading up to the World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23). ISED will closely monitor developments, including reviewing any resulting ITU technical and regulatory frameworks, and may consider a future consultation on a technical and licensing policy for ESIMs in these bands, as appropriate.

62. Generic spectrum licensing may also be appropriate for certain networks of receive-only earth stations, or sensor networks and environmental monitoring stations. ISED seeks comments on what other satellite services and frequency bands should be considered for generic spectrum licensing.

63. Transportable earth stations will not be eligible for generic spectrum licences.

Q6
ISED is seeking comments on its proposals to allow generic spectrum licensing systems of identical fixed earth stations and ESIMs in the frequency bands discussed above.
Q7
ISED is also seeking comments on any other bands that should be considered for generic spectrum licensing for fixed earth stations and ESIMs, including for systems of identical receive-only earth stations in the 4000-4200 MHz band. In providing comments, respondents are requested to include supporting arguments and a rationale.

6.3.2 Additional conditions of licence for generic spectrum licences for ESIMs and for earth stations installed by consumers

64. Given that the international framework regarding the status of ESIMs is still evolving, it is proposed that all generic spectrum licences for ESIMs be issued on a no-interference, no-protection basis. Furthermore, ISED proposes that for any authorization of ESIMs operating in Canada, a contact must be provided that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in case of interference. Text for these proposed conditions of licence is included in annex A.

65. For ESIMs and earth stations that are distributed directly to consumers for self-installation, ISED will also require, as part of the application process, that technical information be submitted to confirm compliance with SRSP-101, Technical Requirements for Fixed Earth Stations Operating Above 1 GHz in Space Radiocommunication Services and Earth Stations on board Vessels (ESVs) Operating in the Fixed-Satellite Service. ISED notes that additional technical requirements for ESIMs may be developed in the future, including possible requirements similar to those in the ITU Radio Regulations, e.g. Resolution 169 (WRC-19), as appropriate.

66. Existing licensing rules for earth stations were developed with the assumption that earth stations would always be professionally installed and operated. With the emergence of earth stations that can be acquired and installed directly by consumers and other end-users, ISED is seeking views on whether a Radio Standards Specification (RSS) should be developed, similar to those in place for other direct-to-consumer devices, including MSS devices in some bands. Under the requirements of this RSS, these earth stations would be subject to certification in order to enter the Canadian market.

Q8

ISED is seeking comments on its proposals to:

  1. issue generic spectrum licences for ESIMs on a no-interference, no-protection basis
  2. require ESIM licensees to provide a contact that would be available to respond to interference issues 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as per the licence conditions in annex A
  3. require applicants to submit technical information needed to confirm compliance with SRSP-101 when they apply for generic spectrum licences for ESIMs and for fixed earth stations intended for self-installation by consumers
Q9
ISED is seeking comments on whether an RSS should be developed for earth stations intended for self-installation by consumers.

6.4 MSS earth stations

67. Mobile earth stations, which are earth stations that operate while in motion, are operated by service providers of “traditional” MSS systems in MSS bands (e.g. VHF/UHF, L-band, S-band). These stations are already licensed through spectrum licences under CPC-2-6-06, Guidelines for the Submission of Applications to Provide Mobile Satellite Services in Canada, with no site information required. No changes are proposed to the licensing procedures for earth stations operated by service providers. ISED will review RP-007, Policy Framework for the Provision of Mobile Satellite Service Via Regional and Global Satellite Systems in the Canadian Market to ensure that it reflects the evolution of MSS, including IoT applications. MSS earth stations operated by Canadian-licensed satellite operators will be addressed in section 7.3.

6.5 Introduction of spectrum licensing for space stations for all satellite services

68. Spectrum licensing is to be introduced for space stations for all satellite services, as detailed in the paragraphs below.

6.5.1 Non-communications satellites

69. Non-communications satellites (not FSS, BSS or MSS) are currently authorized through radio licences. Under this regime, an approval-in-principle is issued when a licence application is accepted and a radio licence is issued just prior to launch. As with most radio licences, fees are calculated based on the amount of traffic the satellite is capable of transmitting/receiving, as per Part VI, Schedule III (see section 73 of the Radiocommunication Regulations). In order to calculate the fee, detailed technical information must be generated by the licensee and assessed by ISED.

70. ISED is of the view that the same arguments in favour of spectrum licensing for communications satellites also apply to satellites operating in other services, such as the EESS, the SRS, and the meteorological satellite service. ISED therefore proposes to introduce spectrum licences to authorize all other satellite services. Licences would be issued immediately upon a favourable licensing decision. The fee would apply once the satellites are in operation and would be payable on an annual basis.

71. The licence would authorize the radio service, the frequency band, the orbital location, supported by an ITU filing, and a coverage area. No other changes to the existing licensing procedures are proposed. ISED proposes to establish the term of these spectrum licences on a case-by-case basis, depending on the characteristics of the particular satellite system. General conditions of licence would remain as they are described in CPC-2-6-02 and on ISED’s website, published as N2 Space station licences.

Q10

ISED is seeking comments on its proposals to:

  1. introduce spectrum licensing for space stations in all satellite services, with licences authorizing the radio service, the frequency band(s), the orbital location and a coverage area
  2. set the licence term on a case-by-case basis for satellites that are not FSS, BSS or MSS
  3. apply the existing conditions of licence for space stations, published as N2 – Space station licences, to the new spectrum licences

6.5.2 FSS feeder link spectrum used by space stations in the MSS

72. Feeder link satellite spectrum in FSS bands used to support MSS satellites are currently authorized under radio licences. At the time of the 2013 Consultation on the Licensing Framework for Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS) and Broadcasting-Satellite Service (BSS) in Canada, MSS operators expressed the view that the consultation was not sufficiently clear on how the proposed fee would be applied to feeder link spectrum. They were also concerned that the introduction of the new spectrum licence fee would result in significant fee increases, as opposed to the fee reduction that FSS operators received when the fee was introduced. For those reasons, the new spectrum licensing and fee regime was not applied to FSS feeder link spectrum for MSS. ISED’s intention was to revisit the issue when it reviewed the MSS fee regime.

73. ISED now proposes to implement spectrum licensing to authorize FSS spectrum used by space stations for MSS feeder links and/or TT&C. Licences would be issued immediately after acceptance of a licence application, with fees only becoming payable once the satellites are launched and in operation.

74. ISED’s policy for FSS and BSS spectrum licences (RP-008) requires satellite licence-holders to hold full sub-bands of FSS spectrum, as defined in that document. Canadian MSS satellite operators currently hold radio licences for their feeder link spectrum that align with RP-008 sub-bands, and are assigned fees based on the amount of traffic carried. Under the proposed spectrum licensing regime, ISED is seeking views on whether to require MSS satellite operators to also comply with the rules regarding minimum holdings, as defined in RP-008, for FSS feeder link spectrum.

Q11
ISED is seeking comments on its proposal to introduce spectrum licensing to authorize FSS feeder link and/or TT&C spectrum used by space stations to support MSS, with licences issued immediately after a favourable licensing decision and fees applicable once satellites are in operation.
Q12
ISED is seeking comments on whether to require MSS satellite operators to comply with the rules regarding minimum holdings for FSS feeder link spectrum, as defined in RP-008. In providing comments, respondents are requested to include supporting arguments and a rationale.

6.5.3 Changes to spectrum licences for MSS space stations

75. For MSS satellites operating in bands allocated to MSS, approvals in principle are issued immediately if a licence application receives a favourable decision. Spectrum licences are issued and fees are payable only once satellites are launched and operational, with fees assigned on a consumption-based ($/MHz) model. ISED is proposing to issue spectrum licences, not approvals in principle, for MSS satellites, with fees remaining payable only when satellites are in operation, in order to align the licensing rules for all satellites.

76. Existing spectrum licences for MSS satellites have different licence terms. ISED is proposing to issue spectrum licences for MSS satellites with a 20-year term, aligning MSS policies with those for FSS and BSS satellites.

77. Currently, MSS spectrum licences issued to MSS space station operators also include authority to operate earth stations in the service bands under that single licence. This regime, as outlined in RP-007, was established at a time when most MSS satellite capacity was provided on foreign-licensed systems. With convergence, and the fee proposals described in section 8, ISED is of the view that the MSS licensing regime should be aligned with the licensing regime for other satellite services, whereby earth station and space station licences are issued separately, with a fee assigned for each.

78. ISED is proposing to limit the MSS space station licence to the use of frequencies by satellites only, and to issue separate spectrum licences for earth stations, as proposed above. User terminals would be authorized under a generic spectrum licence, with a second spectrum licence requiring site approvals for feeder link and/or TT&C earth stations, as described in paragraphs 35-38.

Q13

ISED is seeking comments on its proposals to:

  1. issue spectrum licences instead of approvals in principle for MSS satellites, with fees remaining payable only once satellites are launched and operational
  2. issue spectrum licences for MSS satellites with a 20-year term
  3. issue separate spectrum licences for MSS satellites and MSS earth stations, with each licence assigned a fee

6.6 Types of licences required

79. The granting of satellite-related licences has always been on a non-exclusive basis, subject to successful coordination and compliance with technical rules. For most satellite services, separate earth station and space station licences have been issued, even when held by the same licensee. ISED is of the view that this remains an appropriate model and that the introduction of spectrum licences for earth stations does not require a change in approach.

80. As a result, ISED proposes that the three different types of spectrum licences for a satellite network (generic earth stations, site-approved earth stations, and space stations) be issued separately and assigned a separate fee. Licences would be requested and granted on the basis of the applicant’s particular system. For example, a satellite operator, would hold a spectrum licence for the spectrum used by the satellite and a site-approved spectrum licence for associated TT&C, gateway and/or feeder link stations. If the satellite operator also requires a generic spectrum licence for user terminals, that would be issued separately.

81. Similarly, a telecommunications service provider may require a site-approved spectrum licence for its own gateway earth stations, as well as a generic spectrum licence for user terminals. The fee proposals outlined in section 7 reflect this approach.

82. ISED also proposes to allow communication with multiple GSO satellites on a single earth station spectrum licence, but require separate licences for earth stations communicating with NGSO systems, given the unique technical and orbital characteristics of each system.

Q14

ISED is seeking comments on its proposals to:

  1. issue the three types of satellite-related spectrum licences separately and assign a separate fee for each
  2. allow communication with multiple GSO satellites on a single earth station licence
  3. require separate earth station licences for NGSO systems

7. Fee regime

83. The paragraphs below provide details about the proposed fee regime.

7.1 General principles

84. In developing a fee model, ISED considers a number of policy objectives that relate both to its overall spectrum management responsibilities as well as to the licensing of earth and space stations set out above. First and foremost, ISED seeks to encourage the efficient use of spectrum by licensees. ISED also encourages innovation and aims to set fees that reflect the relative value and use of different spectrum bands in order to better manage them. Fees should also be clear, predictable and relatively easy to adjust to reflect changing markets and technological advances. Licensing and fee frameworks should also be technology-neutral. The requirements of the Service Fees Act must also be respected, including the implementation of a periodic fee adjustment.

85. A fee model based on how much spectrum is authorized, known as a “consumption-based model” ($/MHz), is already in place for FSS, BSS and MSS satellite spectrum licences and for MSS earth station licences. This model has also been implemented for fixed point-to-point radio licences. The consumption-based model is calculated based on the amount of spectrum authorized (consumed) multiplied by a base rate set in $/MHz.

86. In addition to being predictable and easy to administer, the most significant advantage of this approach is that it encourages spectral efficiency in comparison to the existing traffic-based fee currently in place for satellite-related radio licences. In particular, the existing traffic-based fee acts as a disincentive for licensees to apply the latest modulation and coding techniques and maximize frequency reuse because these are penalized with higher fees.

87. To promote more efficient use of the radio spectrum, ISED proposes to implement a consumption-based fee model for all new spectrum licences proposed in this consultation. The proposed annual spectrum licence fee would be based on the amount of spectrum authorized (in MHz) multiplied by a base fee rate. The fee rate would vary based on the type of earth station and the frequency band. Proposed fees for specific licences are outlined below.

7.2 Earth stations

88. The paragraphs below provide details about the proposed fees for earth stations.

7.2.1 Spectrum licences for earth stations requiring site approvals

89. The existing radio licence fee for fixed and transportable earth stations is set out in the Radiocommunication Regulations. The fee is capacity- and apparatus-based, with the telephone voice channel forming the basic unit, regardless of whether the system is digital or analog. Schedule III, Part II, of the Radiocommunication Regulations is used to calculate radio licence fees for fixed earth stations.

90. With the introduction of consumption-based fees for these earth stations, ISED proposes to adopt different rates based on the frequency band, reflecting relative utility and value. For fixed/transportable earth stations, the most frequently assigned band is the C-band (3.4-7.075 GHz), predominantly used for remote telecommunications and broadcast distribution. ISED is therefore proposing a base rate of $20/MHz for the C-band, which aligns with the average annual fee on a per-MHz basis currently paid by licensees in that band.

91. ISED proposes to establish lower base rates for higher frequency ranges above 7.075 GHz, which are generally less encumbered and where more spectrum is available and required to deploy high bandwidth services.

92. Applications in the lower frequency bands typically have smaller channel widths, sometimes measured in kilohertz (kHz) rather than MHz. The proposed base rate for these frequency ranges takes into consideration the relative size of the frequency assignments and limited amount of spectrum compared with the higher frequency bands. ISED is proposing higher base rates for frequencies lower than 3.4 GHz.

93. The proposed frequency ranges are based on propagation characteristics, types of applications, frequency allocations and available bandwidths. For any application, the choice of a particular frequency range depends on a variety of technical requirements, operational practicalities, propagation characteristics and the overall amount of available spectrum, making some frequency ranges more suitable or attractive than others.

94. For earth station spectrum licences where site approvals are required, ISED proposes to implement the following spectrum licence fees, applied per licence, not per earth station:

  • for frequencies at or below 1 GHz: $2000/MHz
  • for frequencies above 1 GHz and at or below 3.4 GHz: $100/MHz
  • for frequencies above 3.4 GHz and at or below 7.075 GHz: $20/MHz
  • for frequencies above 7.075 and at or below 17.3 GHz: $10/MHz
  • for frequencies above 17.3 GHz and at or below 51.4 GHz: $5/MHz
  • for frequencies above 51.4 GHz: $1/MHz

7.2.2 Generic earth station spectrum licences for fixed earth stations and ESIMs

95. For spectrum licences that do not require site approval (whether for fixed earth stations or ESIMs) in any frequency band allocated to satellite services in which generic licensing is permitted, ISED proposes to implement a consumption-based fee with a base rate of $5/MHz, applied per licence, not per station. This fee reflects the fact that most of the current and future deployments of this nature will be in the higher frequency ranges and is therefore aligned with the fee for site-approved licences for the same bands. It also reflects the value of FSS spectrum used regardless of whether the earth station operates in motion or only while fixed.

96. Once existing special authorizations for systems of identical fixed earth stations (currently no fee) and existing radio licences for ESIMs ($41/terminal) are replaced with spectrum licences, the new fee of $5/MHz will apply. These licensees would therefore see a fee increase over the current interim rules for which there is no, or a disproportionately low, fee.

Q15

ISED is seeking comments on its proposal to assign a consumption-based fee to earth station spectrum licences, where site and station approvals are required, as follows:

  • below or equal to 1 GHz: $2000/MHz
  • above 1 GHz and below or equal to 3.4 GHz: $100/MHz
  • above 3.4 GHz and below or equal to 7.075 GHz: $20/MHz
  • above 7.075 GHz and below or equal to 17.3 GHz: $10/MHz
  • above 17.3 GHz and below or equal to 51.4 GHz: $5/MHz
  • above 51.4 GHz: $1/MHz
Q16
ISED is seeking comments on its proposal to assign a consumption-based fee to generic earth station spectrum licences for fixed earth stations and ESIMs at the rate of $5/MHz.

7.3 MSS earth station spectrum licences

97. The existing spectrum licence fee orders in place for MSS were established more than 20 years ago on a consumption-based model ($/MHz). The high value of the spectrum reflected the fact that a viable low-bandwidth, low-data MSS service could be provided with small amounts of spectrum. Additionally, the fee order for MSS above 1 GHz includes discounted rates for spectrum shared with other satellite operators and/or service providers.

98. The current MSS fees were established in the late 1990s, as set out in DGRB-009-99, Radio Authorization Fees for Mobile Satellite Services Using Radio Spectrum Above 1 GHz and DGRB-001-97, Radio Authorization Fees for Mobile Satellite Services Using Radio Spectrum Below 1 GHz. The fee ranges from $540 per 100 kHz for frequencies above 1 GHz to $1140 per 100 kHz for frequencies below 1 GHz. Furthermore, the fee for above 1 GHz has a complex discount formula depending on whether the frequencies are shared with other service providers and/or satellite operators.

99. MSS services have evolved since the fee orders were put in place. New services, such as satellite Automatic Identification System, Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast, and satellite-enabled IoT have emerged. Additionally, the convergence of FSS and MSS services in higher frequency bands, as in the case of ESIMs, has led to fee distortions in the application of the fee orders. Although the MSS fee structure is outdated, ISED is of the view that the higher value of spectrum at lower frequency bands, in particular below 3 GHz, where spectrum is desirable for terrestrial services, should still be reflected in the associated MSS fee.

100. ISED proposes to reduce and simplify the spectrum licence fee for mobile earth stations operating in bands allocated to MSS. For earth stations in lower bands, particularly below 3 GHz, a higher spectrum value is justified in the context of contention for spectrum from terrestrial services, similar to the fee proposal for site-approved spectrum licences. For spectrum licences for MSS earth stations below 3 GHz, ISED is of the view that the fee should be set mid-range between the two existing MSS fee orders, close to the most common discounted rate applied to existing licensed service providers. ISED therefore proposes a fee of $1500/MHz for mobile earth stations operating in bands allocated to MSS at or below 3 GHz.

101. Furthermore, given the complex coordination environment for traditional MSS using omnidirectional antennas, it is not uncommon for MSS service providers to use only a certain amount of spectrum within a broader authorized range. This use is intended to reflect the fact that it is the global satellite operators that allocate the spectrum to their service provider customers based on their coordination agreements and operational needs. Additionally, there are some systems that are able to dynamically assign spectrum within a broad range but are limited by the fact that there is a maximum amount of spectrum that they can use at one time. To acknowledge these realities, ISED proposes to assign the spectrum licence fee for MSS earth stations to the maximum amount of spectrum that can be used at once, rather than the full frequency range of possible operation.

102. For MSS earth stations operating in bands allocated to MSS above 3 GHz, ISED proposes a fee of $5/MHz, aligning with the proposed fee for ESIMs.

Q17

ISED is seeking comments on its proposal to modify the existing consumption-based fee for spectrum licences for MSS earth stations operating in bands allocated to MSS as follows:

  • at or below 3 GHz: $1500/MHz
  • above 3 GHz: $5/MHz
Q18
ISED is seeking comments on its proposal to assign the spectrum licence fee for MSS earth stations based on the maximum amount of spectrum a system is capable of using, within a range of possible operation. This amount would be the assigned spectrum used in the fee calculation.

7.4 Space station spectrum licences

103. Space station spectrum licence fees are established through ministerial fee orders and currently vary by service. In 2016, the SMSE-008-16, Fee Order for Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS) and Broadcasting-Satellite Service (BSS) Spectrum in Canada, was adopted, establishing a single fee of $120/MHz for all frequency bands. For the MSS spectrum below 1 GHz, the fee order, DGRB-001-97, Radio Authorization Fees for Mobile Satellite Services Using Radio Spectrum Below 1 GHz, sets the fee at $1140 per 100 kHz, or portion thereof. For MSS spectrum above 1 GHz, there is a separate fee order, DGRB-009-99, Radio authorization Fees for Mobile Satellite Services Using Radio Spectrum Above 1 GHz, that establishes a fee of $540 per 100 kHz, or portion thereof. That fee is reduced if the authorized spectrum is shared with either a satellite operator or service provider. MSS satellite spectrum licences currently include user terminals but not gateway earth stations.

104. Satellites that are currently authorized through radio licences are subject to the fees set out in Part VI, Schedule III, of the Radiocommunication Regulations, which are traffic-based. With the introduction of new spectrum licences for these satellites, a new spectrum licence fee must also be introduced for satellite spectrum not designated for FSS, BSS or MSS. The fees in Part VI, Schedule III, have increased since 2019 due to the annual fee adjustment required by the Service Fees Act, based on the CPI. For more information on current fees and how fees have been adjusted, and on the Service Fees Act, consult the Spectrum and telecommunications fees web page.

105. Recognizing the convergence of services and technologies, in particular between FSS and MSS and at the satellite level, and the increasing commercialization of non-communications satellite services (e.g. EESS), ISED is proposing to establish a fee for the use of all frequencies allocated to satellite services and used by satellites at the current FSS and BSS fee of $124.84/MHz, regardless of frequency band. For all services and frequency bands, the spectrum licence fee would become payable only once satellites are launched and operational.

106. While the different fee valuation for earth stations described earlier provides a better reflection of the different nature and characteristics of earth stations and their shared use with terrestrial services, ISED is of the view that it is not necessary to differentiate between satellite services at the space station level.

107. Not differentiating between services would lower the fees for MSS satellites compared with the current fees. However, when considered in the context of other proposed changes, notably assigning a separate licence and associated fee to MSS earth stations and introducing the spectrum licence fee for feeder link earth stations, some MSS systems will see fee increases. Nevertheless, ISED is of the view that the proposed fee level is more appropriate for current market conditions and available MSS services, and will be more in line with fees in similar licensing administrations.

108. For satellites that are not FSS, BSS or MSS, and where a smaller frequency range is typically used, the introduction of spectrum licensing with the proposed fee will be relatively neutral. Some licensees may see a moderate fee increase.

109. As is currently the case for the spectrum licences of FSS, BSS and MSS space stations, ISED proposes that fees for both GSO and NGSO space stations become applicable once the licensee has launched a satellite. Where a spectrum licence is issued to a licensee with a space station already in orbit (e.g. in the case of a licence transfer), the fee will be applicable immediately. Where a licence has not yet launched a satellite using the licensed spectrum, the licence will be issued immediately, but the fee will only be charged once the satellite is launched. Once charged, the fee will remain applicable until the end of the spectrum licence term.

Q19

ISED is seeking comments on its proposals to:

  1. modify the MSS satellite spectrum licence fee to $124.84/MHz
  2. assign a consumption-based fee for new spectrum licences for all other satellites (that are not FSS, BSS or MSS) at $124.84/MHz

7.4.1 Spectrum licences for NGSO systems

110. Since the adoption of the spectrum licence fees for FSS and BSS space stations, the space industry has undergone significant changes. High throughput satellites are becoming the norm for GSO FSS, and a number of commercial NGSO FSS constellations designed to provide broadband services have emerged. In the MSS, new constellations of SmallSat and CubeSat satellites are being deployed exclusively for IoT services, while the commercial earth observation industry has expanded.

111. In 2017, ISED modified its NGSO licensing framework to extend the deployment milestones for commercial NGSO systems to six years for 1/3 of the system and nine years for the full constellation. There were no changes proposed to the application of the licence fee, which becomes applicable once a satellite is launched and operational. Based on experience with Canadian satellite operators developing large NGSO systems, as well as discussions with companies interested in seeking a Canadian licence, it has become evident that this framework may pose significant challenges, particularly for new satellite operators.

112. ISED has heard from NGSO licensees of large constellations that paying full fees from the launch of the first satellite does not necessarily reflect the way these systems are developed and deployed. In particular, companies may choose to deploy only a small number of satellites prior to the first deployment milestone to test the initial design and technology and/or to conduct service demonstrations. Traditionally, a developmental licence could be issued for this phase; however, with large NGSO constellation development, some revenue may be generated from the first satellites as a means of funding the continued development and deployment of the constellation, making the company ineligible for a developmental licence. Even without an initial testing phase, for some constellations, the ability to provide a commercial service and generate significant revenue will require a critical mass of satellites to be launched and operational, which can take time depending on manufacturing and launch schedules.

113. Similar to the accommodations made in deployment milestones for large commercial constellations, ISED’s view is that the fee should also reflect the unique nature of these new types of satellite systems. At the same time, ISED must also ensure that the value of the use of a limited public resource is reflected. ISED therefore proposes to modify the fee applicable to spectrum licences issued to NGSO constellations.

114. As with other space station spectrum licences, no fee would apply prior to the launch and operation of a satellite. ISED proposes to introduce a two-step fee for NGSO spectrum licences in any satellite service that are subject to phased deployment milestones. The first step, at a rate of $62.42/MHz, would apply once the licensee launches a satellite and would apply up until the time the licence states the first domestic deployment milestone must be met, regardless of the number of satellites operating. For commercial NGSO systems, that milestone is set at year 6 after the issuance of the licence. ISED notes that the rate at the time of implementation would be adjusted according to the CPI in ensuing years.

115. ISED further proposes that at the deadline for the first deployment milestone (typically year 6), the second fee step would be implemented. That fee would be set to align with the space station spectrum licence fee in place at the time (currently $124.84, but adjusted according to the CPI in ensuing years). Licences with a single deployment milestone would be subject to a single fee of $124.84 once satellites become operational. Going forward, licence fees would continue to be based on annually adjusted rates for the term of the licence, as per section 9.3.

Q20

ISED is seeking comments on its proposals to:

  1. introduce a two-step fee for space station spectrum licences for constellations of NGSO satellites in any satellite service that are subject to phased deployment milestones
  2. apply the first fee step currently at $62.42/MHz from the launch of the first satellite up until the deadline for the first deployment milestone (typically year 6). The second fee step, currently at $124.84/MHz, would apply thereafter and would continue until the end of the licence term, recognizing that all annual fees will increase over time, according to the CPI

7.5 Minimum spectrum licence fees

116. Minimum fees have been used in spectrum licensing as a proxy to reflect the value of a licence when the calculated value is below a reasonable threshold. The minimum fee licensees currently pay for a radio licence for a fixed earth station (one transmit and one receive channel) is $70.76. This fee reflects the lowest possible traffic as expressed in equivalent voice channels. Given that with a spectrum licensing regime a licence would cover multiple sites, ISED proposes to apply a minimum annual spectrum licence fee for earth stations of $160 per licence. This would be a simple, standard and consistent fee to align with the guiding principles noted above. This fee would be applied whenever the use of the consumption-based model in the relevant frequency band would result in an annual fee lower than $160.

117. Recognizing the importance of protecting radio astronomy earth stations from harmful interference, ISED issues licences for those earth stations. Because these sites are comprised of passive, receive-only Earth stations and the frequencies are determined based on physical characteristics and reflected in both the international and national tables of frequency allocations, ISED proposes to apply the minimum fee of $160/year to these fixed earth stations, regardless of the amount of spectrum authorized.

118. For space stations, the minimum annual fee for a radio licence, reflecting the lowest possible traffic as expressed in equivalent voice channels, is $2449 for one transmit and receive channel. ISED proposes the introduction of a minimum annual spectrum licence fee for space stations of $300 per licence. This fee would be applied whenever using the consumption-based model would result in an annual fee lower than $300.

8. Developmental spectrum licences for earth stations and space stations

119. Part III, Schedule III, of the Radiocommunication Regulations establishes a fee for developmental radio licences for fixed and mobile stations. (See section 62(2)(a) for fixed stations and section 60(3) for mobile stations.) There is no applicable developmental licence fee for spectrum licences or for space stations. ISED proposes to issue developmental earth station and space station spectrum licences and to establish a flat fee that is equivalent to the minimum fee, in the amount of $160/year and $300/year, respectively.

120. Developmental licences, typically issued on a no-interference, no-protection basis, may be appropriate in a number of scenarios. For example, with the increasing availability of satellite technology, including CubeSats, access to space has been expanded to non-traditional and non-commercial actors, such as university students. In order to support innovation and the development of the next generation of highly skilled workers, ISED proposes to authorize student-led projects through developmental spectrum licences.

121. ISED is of the view that developmental licences issued on a no-interference, no-protection basis would not be appropriate for the authorization of frequencies used for satellite TT&C in any band, even where other frequencies for the same system may be authorized under a developmental licence. ISED will therefore issue standard earth station and space station spectrum licences for all TT&C frequencies. Given the amount of spectrum used for TT&C, these licences would typically be subject to the relevant minimum fees.

122. ISED is seeking views on limits to eligibility requirements for developmental spectrum licences, limits on frequency bands where developmental licences could be issued, and conditions of licence that could be applied.

Q21
ISED is seeking comments on its proposals to introduce a minimum annual spectrum licence fee of $160 for earth stations and $300 for space stations, and to apply these fees whenever the application of the consumption-based fee model would result in a fee lower that those amounts.
Q22
ISED is seeking comments on its proposal to apply a minimum annual spectrum licence earth station fee of $160 to radioastronomy sites.
Q23
ISED is seeking comments on its proposals to introduce developmental spectrum licence fees for earth stations and space stations at a flat rate of $160 and $300, respectively.
Q24
ISED is also seeking comments on limits to eligibility requirements for developmental spectrum licences, limits on frequency bands where developmental licences could be issued, and conditions of licence that could be applied. In providing comments, respondents are requested to include supporting arguments and a rationale.

9. Other administrative aspects

123. The paragraphs below provide details about other administrative aspects of the proposed licensing and fee regime.

9.1 Licence issuance, renewals and periodic adjustments

124. ISED does not propose to change the timing around the issuance and renewal of licences. ISED’s fiscal year begins April 1 and concludes March 31. Annual licence and annual renewal fees are payable each year by March 31. Once paid, licences are valid until March 31 of the following year. Fees for spectrum licences with terms longer than one year are also payable annually on the same cycle.

9.2 Prorated fees for new and amended licences

125. Spectrum licences will continue to be issued by ISED at any point during the year. However, ISED proposes that the annual fee be prorated based on the month the licence is issued. Specifically, the prorated fee would be 1/12th of the total annual fee for each calendar month until March 31 of the current fiscal year, rather than using a set, monthly fee in the calculation. Base rates and fees will be prorated and rounded to the nearest cent before being multiplied by the assigned spectrum. However, ISED proposes that, should the prorated fee be less than $160 for an earth station spectrum licence or less than $300 for a space station spectrum licence, the minimum annual spectrum licence fees would apply.

9.3 Periodic fee adjustment

126. Space station licences are typically issued with longer terms, some up to 20 years. Fees for these licences are applied on an annual basis, similar to annual licences, with fees payable each year by March 31 for the upcoming year.

127. The Service Fees Act (SFA) requires that federal fees be periodically adjusted. If a fee escalator is not in place, departments are to apply the CPI annually. In its 2019 DGSO-005-19, Decision on Periodic Adjustments for Radio and Spectrum Licence Fees and Fees Related to Equipment Certification Services, ISED decided that periodic fee adjustments would continue to be based on the April to April CPI, as set out in the SFA. ISED continues to believe that the SFA’s CPI model allows for consistent adjustment of all fees by means of a widely used and predictable economic indicator. Annual CPI will be applied to all base rates, fees per MHz, and minimum fees.

Q25
ISED is seeking comments on its proposal to apply a prorated fee, of 1/12th of the relevant annual fee for each month until March 31 of the fiscal year, for licences issued part-way through a licensing year.

9.4 Short-duration licences

128. ISED proposes to define a short-duration licence as a licence issued for less than one year. ISED proposes that the applicable fee be set at 1/12th of the total annual fee per month, and that the lowest applicable fee corresponds to the minimum fee of $160 for earth stations or $300 for space station spectrum licences.

Q26

ISED is seeking comments on its proposals to:

  1. issue short-duration licences for periods of less than one year
  2. assign a prorated fee of 1/12th of the total annual fee per month, with the lowest fee possible being $160 for earth stations and $300 for space stations

9.5 Service standards and remissions

129. In accordance with the SFA and related policy directives, ISED has set service standards for each fee. The service standards for satellite licences are different from those for earth station licences. The current service standard for ISED to process applications for satellite licences is 130 days (18.57 weeks) (see Spectrum and Telecommunications Service Standards). The service standard for processing fixed and transportable earth station applications is 49 days (7 weeks), and for processing mobile earth stations, 130 days (18.57 weeks).

130. Satellite licence applications are considered to be very complex, due to a number of factors, including technical complexity and the need to assess compliance with the ITU Radio Regulations. However, ISED proposes to reduce the service standard to 126 days (18 weeks). Satellite licence applications would be subject to remissions as per ISED’s Service Fees Remission Policy and the Spectrum and Telecommunications program annex.

131. Spectrum licensing of earth stations is also a complex endeavour, in particular for those requiring site approvals and those where domestic or international spectrum policies may not yet be defined (e.g. ESIMs). ISED therefore proposes that the service standard for the initial licence application, whether for a site-approved spectrum licence or a generic spectrum licence, also be set at 126 days (18 weeks). These applications would be subject to remissions as per the ISED Remission Policy and the Spectrum and Telecommunications program annex.

132. ISED further proposes that applications for adding a site-approved earth station to an existing spectrum licence be processed in 49 days (7 weeks). As there would be no additional fee for adding earth stations to a spectrum licence, these applications would not be subject to remissions.

133. Existing earth station licences that are converted to spectrum licences would not be subject to service standards or remissions.

Q27

ISED is seeking comments on its proposals to set service standards for the issuance of licensing decisions for satellite-related spectrum licences as follows:

  • space stations: 126 days
  • generic earth stations: 126 days
  • site-approved earth stations: 126 days
  • additional sites under an existing site-approved earth station licence: 49 days

10. Impact of proposed fee models

134. The main objective of this consultation is to modernize the licensing framework for satellite services and to remove the distortions that result from applying the existing, dated regime to modern satellite deployments for broadband Internet. The intent is not to conduct a fundamental reassessment of the value of satellite spectrum. As a result, the proposed rates are designed to be generally fee-neutral overall. Fee neutrality cannot apply to each individual licence, in particular to those earth station licences for which no fee is currently in place, such as those subject to the interim process for systems of identical earth stations. Fee neutrality can also not apply if the fee is artificially low, such as for ESIMs.

135. ISED currently collects approximately $1.68 million annually in fee revenue from earth and space station licensees operating under licences that are affected by this consultation. This represents roughly 0.5% of total annual fee revenue collected in the spectrum management program, which is approximately $315 million.

136. While individual licensees may experience increases or decreases in their annual fee as a result of these proposals, ISED will see a reduction in fee revenue overall, of approximately $500,000 per year. This reduction would be offset as new licences are issued, particularly as new licences are issued for commercial space stations and networks of earth stations supporting NGSO systems.

137. Of note, these calculations are based on information from ISED’s licensing database. The exact spectrum identified on licences may not reflect actual spectrum used. Licensees should review the spectrum identified on their licence and consider what is actually needed for service provision to avoid unintentional or unnecessary fee increases.

11. Implementation

138. Given the time required to complete this consultation, to put in place new procedures and fee orders, to implement required changes to ISED’s licensing database, and to effectively manage the conversion of existing authorizations to new spectrum licences, ISED intends for the new licensing model and proposed fees to take effect on April 1, 2023.

139. As part of implementation, current licensees who are eligible for a new spectrum licence, if one is established under this process, will have an opportunity to confirm the accuracy of the parameters of their existing licences and authorizations. The applicable fee will be based on the amount of spectrum that is authorized.

140. All relevant policy and procedure documents and fee orders will be updated and in place prior to implementation of the new regime.

12. Submitting comments

141. Respondents are requested to provide their comments in electronic format (Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF), along with a note specifying the software, version number and operating system used, to the following email address: satelliteauthorization-autorisationsatellite@ised-isde.gc.ca.

142. In addition, respondents are asked to specify the paragraph or proposal number for ease of referencing and to provide a supporting rationale for each response.

143. Paper submissions should be mailed to the following address:

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Senior Director, Space Services and International
Engineering, Planning and Standards Branch
235 Queen Street (6th Floor, East Tower)
Ottawa ON  K1A 0H5

144. All submissions should cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, the publication date, the title, and the notice reference number (SMSE-009-21). Parties should submit their comments no later than October 4, 2021, to ensure consideration. Soon after the close of the comment period, all comments received will be posted on ISED's Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website.

145. ISED will also provide interested parties with the opportunity to reply to comments from other parties. Reply comments will be accepted until November 22, 2021.

146. Following the initial comment period, ISED may, at its discretion, request additional information if needed to clarify significant positions or new proposals. In such a case, the reply comment deadline would be extended.

13. Obtaining copies

147. All spectrum-related documents referred to in this paper are available on the Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website.

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

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Senior Director, Space Services and International
Engineering, Planning and Standards Branch
235 Queen Street (6th Floor, East Tower)
Ottawa ON  K1A OH5
Email: satelliteauthorization-autorisationsatellite@ised-isde.gc.ca

Annex A: Typical conditions of licence for earth stations

In addition to the typical conditions of licence listed below, any operational requirements specific to an earth station 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.

The following are typical conditions of licence for all earth stations:

A1. Eligibility: The licensee must comply with the eligibility criteria as set out in the Radiocommunication Regulations.

A2. Licence transferability: 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.

A3. Laws and regulations: 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.

A4. Technical acceptability: The earth station radio apparatus must, under all operating conditions, comply with the applicable Canadian technical requirements as specified in ISED’s Standard Radio System Plan SRSP-101, Technical Requirements for Fixed Earth Stations Operating Above 1 GHz in Space Radiocommunication Services and Earth Stations on board Vessels (ESVs) Operating in the Fixed-Satellite Service.

A5. Safety Code 6, land-use and public consultation, environmental assessment and aeronautical safety: Licensees must comply with the procedures, as outlined in Client Procedures Circular CPC-2-0-03, Radiocommunication and Broadcasting Antenna Systems. Among other requirements, these procedures require that:

  1. radio stations are installed and operated in a manner that complies with the limits of human exposure to radio frequency fields established by Health Canada;
  2. necessary consultation has taken place prior to the installation or modification of significant antenna structures;
  3. the installation and modification of radio stations are done in a manner that complies with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012; and
  4. proponents ensure that their proposals for any antenna system are first reviewed by Transport Canada and NAV CANADA.

A6. Agreement with space station operator: The licensee shall ensure that an agreement is in place with the space station operator, or its representatives, which provides for access to the space station capacity or signals.

A7. Reporting: At any time, operators may be required, as directed by ISED, to demonstrate compliance with SRSP-101 and Safety Code 6 by:

  1. providing detailed calculations and/or conducting site surveys; and
  2. implementing corrective measures, where necessary.

A8. Licence fees: Licence fees are paid on an annual basis, in advance, and are due by March 31 of each year.

Additional conditions of licence for generic spectrum licences

In addition to conditions A1 through A8, the following conditions also apply:

A9. Operation of identical stations: The licensee may install, operate or possess systems of identical earth stations, as defined by the authorization. (NOTE: The licence will include the technical parameters as listed in annex B for each type of earth station authorized.)

A10. Provision of technical information: The licensee must provide technical information on a particular station or system of stations when requested by ISED, according to the definitions, criteria, frequency and timelines specified by the Department.

Additional conditions of licence for generic spectrum licences for earth stations in motion

In addition to conditions A1 through A10, the following conditions apply:

A11. Earth stations are authorized to operate on a no-interference, no-protection basis. Should the operation of an earth station cause interference, the licensee must immediately take steps to mitigate the interference, including, if necessary, ceasing operations of the interfering earth station.

A12. The licensee shall provide ISED with a contact that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to be used in the event of harmful interference.

A13. Earth stations, including those on board aircraft, are authorized to operate in Canada only. Earth stations on board vessels are authorized to operate in Canada and on board Canadian licensed or registered vessels outside Canada.

A14. The licensee must provide the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) (in a form and manner acceptable to CITEL) with information as set out in section 2 of the annex to CITEL's Resolution PCC.II/RES. 33 (VII-06), Common Regulatory Basis for the operation of Earth Stations on Vessels (ESVs) in the Americas.

Additional conditions of licence for mobile-satellite services (MSS) earth stations

In addition to conditions A1 through A3, A5 and A8, the following conditions apply:

A15. Lawful interception

  1. The licensee shall provide and maintain lawful interception capabilities, as set out in the Solicitor General’s publication entitled Enforcement Standards for Lawful Interception of Telecommunications.
  2. The licensee may request that the Minister forbear from enforcing certain assistance capability requirements for a limited period. The Minister, following consultation with the Minister of Public Safety Canada, may exercise his power to forbear from enforcing a requirement or requirements where, in the opinion of the Minister, the requirements are not reasonably achievable. Forbearance requests must include specific details and dates regarding timelines for compliance to requirements

A16. 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 activities related to telecommunications. Eligible research and development 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 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.

A17. Technical requirements: Radio equipment must meet all applicable Canadian radio equipment standards and, if required, be type-approved or certified for use in Canada.

Any roaming into other countries must respect the licensing regimes of those countries. To ensure compliance, the licensee must provide its subscribers with a copy of this condition of licence.

Additionally, subscriber radio equipment brought into Canada by visitors for use while temporarily located in Canada must:

  1. meet any applicable Canadian radio equipment standards and be certified for use in Canada; or
  2. be type-approved by an administration that is a signatory to the Global Mobile Personal Communications by Satellite-Memorandum of Understanding (GMPCS‑MoU) and must carry the GMPCS-MoU mark.

A18. Annual reports: The licensee must submit an annual report for each year of operation, including:

  1. a statement indicating continued compliance with all licence conditions;
  2. an update on the provision of mobile satellite service, including the expansion of the services provided;
  3. an update on the satellites used for the provision of the service, the spectrum used and the number of subscriber earth stations operating within Canada;
  4. a statement indicating the annual gross operating revenues from the provision of wireless services in Canada and the annual adjusted gross revenues resulting from the use of this licence, as defined in condition A16;
  5. when applicable, a report and description of research and development expenditures as set out in condition A16, signed by a duly authorized officer of the licensee. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada may, at its discretion, request an audited statement of research and development expenditures with an accompanying auditor’s report; and,
  6. if the licensee is claiming an exemption based on having less than $1 billion in annual gross operating revenues, it must provide supporting financial statements signed by a duly authorized officer of the company.

All reports and statements must be submitted in electronic format by June 30 of each year to the Manager, Satellite Authorization Policy, Engineering, Planning and Standards Branch, at satelliteauthorization-autorisationsatellite@ised-isde.gc.ca. Any confidential information provided will be treated in accordance with subsection 20(1) of the Access to Information Act.

Annex B: Technical information required for earth station spectrum licences

This annex contains a list of the technical details that must be submitted as part of an application for an earth station spectrum licence.

B1. Technical information required for earth stations that need site approval

a. Site information

  • Municipality and street address and/or site name
  • Geographical latitude of the earth station in degrees, minutes and seconds up to an accuracy of 1/1000 second
  • Geographical longitude of the earth station in degrees, minutes and seconds up to an accuracy of 1/1000 second
  • Site elevation in metres above mean sea level
  • Where the earth station requires coordination with other domestic or international radiocommunication stations, the applicant must provide the array of horizon elevation angles (in degrees) and associated azimuths (in degrees) for each azimuth around the earth station starting from true north. There is a maximum of 360 values. This information is provided as an attachment. If this information is not provided, the horizon elevation angles will be derived from available map terrain data and will be used in subsequent International Telecommunication Union (ITU) coordination and notification procedures.
  • For transportable earth stations, the applicant must provide the radius of operation of the transportable station (in kilometres).

b. Antenna information

  • Height (in metres) of the antenna centre above ground level
  • Diameter of the antenna (in metres), accurate to two decimal places (e.g. 1.20)
  • Isotropic gain of the transmit antenna (in dBi) in the direction of maximum radiation
  • Transmit antenna half-power beamwidth (in degrees)
  • Isotropic gain of the receive antenna (in dBi) in the direction of maximum radiation
  • Receive antenna half-power beamwidth (in degrees)
  • ITU antenna reference pattern, or, if the pattern is not in the ITU antenna reference pattern list, an antenna measured radiation diagram (taking as a reference the direction of maximum radiation) for each band of operation
  • Operating azimuthal angle or lower limit of the range (in degrees), clockwise from true north, in the direction of the satellite
  • Operating azimuthal angle or upper limit of the range (in degrees) if applicable, clockwise from true north, in the direction of the satellite
  • If the earth station is communicating with a GSO, the applicant must provide the operating elevation angle (in degrees) of the antenna from the horizontal plane, in the direction of the satellite.
  • If the earth station is communicating with an NGSO system, the applicant must provide the range of minimum operating elevation angles (in degrees) of the antenna from the horizontal plane, at various azimuths, between the lower and upper operating azimuthal angles, in the direction of the satellite.
  • If the earth station is communicating with an NGSO system, the applicant must provide the azimuths corresponding to the minimum antenna elevation angles (in degrees), as identified above. The values must be entered in an array. The values are paired with those of the preceding question.

c. Transmitter information

  • Transmit carrier frequency (in MHz) of the emission(s)
  • Transmit occupied bandwidth
  • For each carrier, the necessary transmit class of emission using the ITU designators
  • Type of polarization of the transmitted wave in the direction of maximum radiation
  • In the case of linear polarization, the angle of polarization of the transmitted wave in the direction of maximum radiation
  • Maximum peak envelope power (dBW) supplied to the input of the antenna
  • Maximum power density in dB (W/Hz) supplied to the input of the antenna averaged over the worst 4 kHz band for carriers below 15 GHz, or averaged over the worst 1 MHz band for carriers above 15 GHz
  • Minimum peak envelope power (dBW) supplied to the input of the antenna
  • Minimum power density in dB (W/Hz) supplied to the input of the antenna averaged over the worst 4 kHz band for carriers below 15 GHz, or averaged over the worst 1 MHz band for carriers above 15 GHz
  • Transmit modulation type (i.e. digital or analog)
  • Where the transmit carrier is digitally modulated, the type of modulation
  • Where the transmit carrier is digitally modulated, the number of modulation phases
  • Where the transmit carrier is digitally modulated, the modulated bit rate in Mb/s (data rate plus any bits added as a result of overhead, i.e. the addition of coding and error correction bits)

d. Receiver information

  • Receive carrier frequency or frequencies (in MHz) of the emission(s)
  • Receive occupied bandwidth
  • For each carrier, the class of emission using the ITU designators
  • Type of polarization of the received wave in the direction of maximum gain
  • In the case of linear polarization, the angle of polarization of the received wave in the direction of maximum gain
  • Lowest total receiving system noise temperature (in degrees Kelvin) with reference to the output of the receiving antenna of the earth station under "clear sky conditions", with this value being indicated for the nominal value of the angle of elevation when the associated transmitting station is aboard a geostationary satellite and, in other cases, for the minimum value of angle of elevation
  • Carrier-to-noise (C/N) ratio (in dB)
  • Receive modulation type (i.e. analog or digital)
  • Where the receive carrier is digitally modulated, the type of modulation phases
  • Where the receive carrier is digitally modulated, the number of modulation phases
  • Where the receive carrier is digitally modulated, the modulated bit rate in Mbps (data rate plus any bits added as a result of overhead, i.e. the addition of coding and error correction)

B2. Technical information required for generic spectrum licences for fixed earth stations and earth stations in motion

  • Transmit frequency(ies)
  • Maximum transmit power (equivalent isotropically radiated power)
  • Bandwidth and type of emission
  • Receive frequency(ies)
  • Number of identical stations
  • Commercial name of the associated satellite(s)
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