An Update of the Studies to Identify Spectrum for Public Safety in Television Channels 60-69

March 10, 2003

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

Dear Ms. Wylie:

Subject: An Update of the Studies to Identify Spectrum for Public Safety in Television Channels 60-69

Further to our correspondence of July 10 and 29, 2002 (see attached), I wish to apprise the Commission of our activities and findings in identifying potential spectrum for public safety in the television channel pairs 63/68 or 64/69. The Department had asked that new digital television (DTV) allotments not be assigned in these channels to provide sufficient time for a re-assessment of the DTV Transition Allotment Plan with public safety requirements in mind. We appreciated the cooperation of the Commission and the broadcasting industry in carrying out this assessment.

We were able to determine early last summer that it was not practical to re-arrange the DTV Transition Allotment Plan in channel pairs 64/69. Industry stakeholders and the Commission's staff were accordingly informed that we would consider broadcasting certificates for this channel pair, if DTV applications were made to the Commission. However, with only a few DTV allotments in television channel pair 63/68, a re-arrangement of the DTV Transitional Allotment Plan was deemed feasible.

The Department has focussed its study on identifying new DTV channels to accommodate allotments that were assigned to channels 63 and 68. We were able to re-arrange the DTV Transitional Allotment Plan, in consultation with the US Federal Communications Commission, to accommodate all DTV assignment requirements and have informed the affected parties. Also, the Department has completed successfully the coordination of this re-arrangement with the US counterparts and this will be reflected in the current Canada/US Letter of Understanding. These activities have resulted in television channels pair 63/68 being cleared for future public safety spectrum. The Department is imposing a moratorium on the use of channels 63 and 68 for any future television stations.

A number of additional studies are being carried-out by the Department to assess potential interference of public safety systems into adjacent television channels. Once completed, the Department will release a paper to outline our decision on the revised frequency allocations and further consult on accommodating public safety in channels 63 and 68. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Sincerely yours,

Michael Binder
Assistant Deputy Minister
Spectrum, Information Technologies
and Telecommunications

c.c. Executive Director, Broadcasting, CRTC
Michael Wernick, Associate Deputy Minister, Department of Canadian Heritage
Glenn O'Farrell, President and & CEO, Canadian Association of Broadcasters
David Farnes, President, Radio Advisory Board of Canada