Public Notice CRTC 2000-127 — Call for Comments on a Licensing Framework for Low-power Community Television Undertakings in Urban Areas, and in Other Markets Not Covered by Existing Policy

October 30, 2000

Ms. Andrée Wylie
Vice-Chairperson, Broadcasting
Canadian Radio-television
and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N2

Dear Ms. Wylie:

Subject: Public Notice CRTC 2000-127 - Call for Comments on a Licensing Framework for Low-Power Community Television Undertakings in Urban Areas, and in Other Markets Not Covered by Existing Policy

This is to advise the CRTC that in response to Public Notice CRTC 2000-127, the Department of Industry wishes to submit, for the public record in this proceeding, the following information with regard to spectrum availability:

1. In April of 1997, the Department of Industry released the DTV (Digital Television) Transition Allotment Plan, Issue 2. The Plan fulfilled the Department's commitment to the technical recommendations of the DTV Task Force. This commitment was to provide every analogue television broadcaster with an equivalent digital channel to enable simulcasting during the transition to DTV until such time as analogue broadcasting ceases.

2. During the preparation of the DTV Transition Allotment Plan, the Department endeavoured to ensure that the majority of these new DTV allotments for standard power stations were accommodated below TV channel 60. However, because of Canada/US sharing requirements and other technical constraints that needed to be considered in the Plan, not all of the new DTV allotments could be implemented below channel 60. Consequently, over 70 standard DTV channel allotments were designated above channel 60, many of which are in Canada's major urban centres. For example, in Toronto some 5 out of 8 DTV allotments are above channel 60. While these DTV allotments above TV channel 60 are temporary and will move down below channel 60 after the transition period to DTV, it is clear that spectrum above channel 60 is already significantly encumbered in major urban centres.

3. The Department of Industry intends to undertake shortly a public consultation to determine the appropriate spectrum policies and timing to re-allocate the spectrum in the frequency range 746–806 MHz (television channels 60-69), for public safety and other commercial wireless services including broadcasting. As such, the licensing of low-power community television above channel 59, would further encumber this spectrum and compromise the development of the Department's plans for the medium and long term use of the spectrum in channels 60-69.

4. Hence, the Department wishes to inform the Commission that unless there are extraordinary circumstances, it will not issue broadcasting certificates for low power TV stations in channels 60-69. Moreover, broadcasting certificates issued below channel 60 will carry a condition of notifying the licensees of a possible requirement to move to other channels in the future if the DTV transition so requires.

I trust that these points clarify the Department's position on this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Binder
Assistant Deputy Minister,
Spectrum, Information Technologies
and Telecommunications

c.c. Françoise Bertrand, Chairperson, CRTC
Ursula Menke, Secretary General, CRTC
Michael Wernick, Assistant Deputy Minister, Cultural Development-
Department of Canadian Heritage