Gazette Notice DGRB-003-08

Department of Industry
Department of Industry Act

Notice No. DGRB-003-08 — Fees for Spectrum in the Radio Frequency Band 4940-4990 MHz for Broadband Public Safety Communications

The Department of Industry is establishing a licence fee for the use of the radio frequency spectrum in the band 4940-4990 MHz for broadband public safety communications. This band will be dedicated primarily for use by public safety agencies to safeguard the lives and security of Canadians.


Wireless communications technologies and applications are increasingly playing a crucial role in the ability of public safety agencies to carry out their functions and to deliver enhanced public safety services. The public safety community has reiterated its need for access to dedicated broadband radio frequency spectrum, stating that this band will be critical to the delivery of innovative, advanced applications such as high-speed wireless transfers of large files, images and video. The spectrum may also provide intranet access throughout operating territories. The release of this spectrum will provide public safety agencies with more frequency band options in which to deploy advanced communications applications and services to safeguard the lives and security of Canadians.

In July 2004, the Department added a primary mobile allocation in the band 4940-4990 MHz and designated its use for fixed and mobile systems in support of public safety. Stakeholders were invited to provide comments and suggestions to the Department through two sets of consultations. The first consultation was announced in July 2005 in Canada Gazette Notice DGTP-005-05, Proposed Spectrum Utilization Policy, Technical and Licensing Requirements for Broadband Public Safety in the Band 4940-4990 MHz, and later closed in October 2005. A second consultation was announced in October 2006 in Canada Gazette Notice DGRB-002-06, Spectrum Licence Fees for Broadband Public Safety in the Band 4940-4990 MHz, and concluded in November 2006.

The Department proposed an annual spectrum licence fee of $0.004166 per 50 MHz per population subject to a minimum fee of $250.00Footnote 1 for the provision of broadband public safety communications in this band. The Department also proposed that spectrum licences in this band would have a term of 10 years and fees would be payable to the Department by March 31 of each year.

Both consultations emphasized: the importance of making this spectrum available to the public safety community; the new and enhanced services that the spectrum will support; and the anticipated improvements in the delivery of public safety services. In response to the proposed fee, several stakeholders voiced concerns about charging licence fees to public safety agencies, citing concern that the development and deployment of public safety services, as well as the interoperability between public safety agencies, may be hindered if licensees are unable to afford the fee. However, the Department did not receive a strong negative reaction, as the proposed fee is considered reasonable. Furthermore, no alternate fee level was proposed.

Typically, network systems deployed for wireless communications can cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars. Based on the review of existing fees in Canada and other countries, the Department believes that this fee will not hinder the ability of public safety agencies to provide essential services, as it represents only a small portion of the total cost to implement and maintain a communications system. In addition, the Department's analysis of its spectrum licence fees has determined that the fee for this band provides a reasonable assessment of the economic value for the use of this spectrum and that it is in line with the fees paid for spectrum in other bands, including those utilized by public safety agencies.

In accordance with the User Fees Act, the fee was presented to both Houses of Parliament and was approved in early 2008 during the 2nd Session of the 39th Parliament.

Fee Schedule

The Minister of Industry, pursuant to section 19 of the Department of Industry Act, hereby fixes the following spectrum licence fee, effective the date of publication of this notice in the Canada Gazette. The fee is applicable to spectrum licences issued by the Minister pursuant to paragraph 5(1)(a) of the Radiocommunication Act to establish broadband public safety communications systems in accordance with the terms of the licence.


1. For the purpose of this fee schedule,

"service area" means the defined geographic area specified on the spectrum licence;

"specified frequencies" means the full 50 MHz of spectrum in the band 4940-4990 MHz specified on the spectrum licence;

"population" means the number of individuals residing in the service area as determined by Statistics Canada and as specified for the service area on the spectrum licence;

"annual fee" means the fee payable for the continuance in force of the spectrum licence until the spectrum licence expires.

Annual Spectrum Licence Fee

2.1 The annual spectrum licence fee, payable with respect to the specified frequencies upon which a public safety entity is authorized to operate, is $0.004166 per 50 MHz per population in the band 4940-4990 MHz for the authorized service area specified on the spectrum licence.

2.2 The minimum annual spectrum licence fee with respect to a spectrum licence issued under subsection 2.1 is $250.00.

2.3 The annual spectrum licence fee is calculated based on 50 MHz of radio frequency spectrum in the band 4940-4990 MHz.

2.4 The applicable annual spectrum licence fee payable pursuant to subsection 2.1 or 2.2 applies to all new and existing licences effective on the date of publication of this notice.

Schedule I

Table 4: Examples of Annual Spectrum Licence Fees for Select Canadian Service Areas
Service Area Population* Spectrum Fee
($0.004166/50 MHz/pop)
National 31,612,897 $131,699
Province of Quebec 7,546,131 $31,437
Greater Toronto Area 5,113,149 $21,301
Montréal 3,635,571 $15,146
Vancouver 2,116,581 $8,818
Calgary 1,079,310 $4,496
Halifax 372,858 $1,553
(minimum fee)
58,625 $250

* 2006 Census population data.

Prorated Spectrum Licence Fees

3. For new spectrum licensees, the month that the Minister issues the initial spectrum licence determines the applicable prorated fee.

4. The prorated fee is 1/12 of the total applicable annual licence fee, for each month until March 31 of the current fiscal year.

5. The prorated fee for the current fiscal year's spectrum licence is due on the date of licence issuance.

General Notes

6. Spectrum licences issued for the frequency band 4940-4990 MHz are for shared use.

7. The aggregate fees are rounded to the nearest dollar.

8. The annual licence renewal fees are due on or before March 31 for the subsequent year commencing on April 1.

9. These fees may be revised from time to time.

May 12, 2008

The Honourable Jim Prentice, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Industry


Footnote 1

The minimum licence fee is $250.00 for service areas with populations of 60,000 people or less.

Return to footnote 1 referrer