SP 70 GHz — Decisions on the Frequency Bands 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz and 92-95 GHz

June 2012


  1. Intent
  2. Background
  3. Spectrum Policy
  4. Technical Considerations
  5. Licensing
  6. Coordination

1. Intent

This spectrum utilization policy, announcedin Canada Gazette notice SMSE-008-12, addresses the introduction offixed radio systems into the frequency bands 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz and 92-95GHz, including the band plan, technical specificationsand licensing framework.

2. Background

In October2004, Industry Canada released SP 3-30 GHz, Revisions to SpectrumUtilization Policies in the 3-30 GHz Frequency Range and Further Consultation, whichannounced various revisions to spectrum utilization policies for services inthe frequency range 3-30 GHz, as well as further consultations, includingopening the bands 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz and 92-95 GHz for fixed services on alicensed, non-exclusive basis. Based on the comments received, the Department decidedto wait until equipment was more readily available before developing a policy.

With mobiletraffic expected to increase significantly over the next few years, the adventof higher capacity applications and augmented subscriber requirements, wirelessoperators are upgrading and expanding their networks. In addition, Internet serviceproviders (ISP) are employing more backhaul spectrum to meet their subscribers'traffic needs. This has resulted in a growing demand for short-range backhaulfacilities. Consequently, the Department released SMSE-010-11, Consultationon Spectrum Utilization of Frequency Bands 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz and 92-95 GHzby the Fixed Service, in July 2011. The 2011 consultation soughtcomments on the introduction of fixed point-to-point links, as well as on variousaspects, such as frequency band structure, technical considerations and thelicensing mechanisms for these bands.

In response to the consultation, theDepartment received comments from:

  • Alliance Corporation;
  • Environment Canada (Meteorological Service of Canada);
  • Radio Advisory Board of Canada (RABC);
  • Rogers Communications Partnership;
  • Siklu Communication;
  • TeraGo Networks Inc.; and the
  • World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and EUMETNET.

Respondents indicated their strong support for making the bands available for the licensed use of the point-to-point fixed service (FS). The use of this spectrum is ideal for many applications, including the connection of base stations and cell sites to points of presence, theinterconnection of university campuses and hospitals, as well as fibre backup.

As this spectrumis shared and adjacent to other services, some respondents stressed thatsharing criteria should be developed to accommodate the future fixed-satellite service(FSS), and that adequate criteria should be established for the protection of in-bandand existing adjacent-band users, notably in the Earth exploration-satellite service(EESS) passive, from harmful interference.

3. Spectrum Policy

3.1 Decisions on the Frequency Band Structure

Given thematurity of the fixed service used in the bands 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz in theUnited States and Europe, the Department identified the U.S. and EuropeanConference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) band plans aspossible options, as shown in Figure 1 below, in the SMSE-010-11 consultation.Comments were sought on their relative merits, as well as alternate band plans.

The 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz portions of theU.S. band plan are unsegmented to provide greater flexibility, whereas the CEPT-recommendedband plan is segmented into 19 × 250 MHz channels with two 125 MHz guardbandson each end of the two bands. The 92-95 GHz portion in the U.S. band plan is segmented into 92-94 GHz and 94.1-95 GHz. The European plan for 92-95 GHz has notbeen fully developed.

Figure 1 – SMSE-010-11 Proposed Band Plan Options
Figure 1 - SMSE-010-11 Proposed Band Plan Options
[Description of Figure 1]

All comments regarding the 71-76 GHz and81-86 GHz band plans supported the CEPT-recommended band plan, Option 2, comprisedof 250 MHz channels with 125 MHz guardbands on either end of thebands. However, respondents expressed the desire for added flexibility throughthe aggregation of channels within the bands 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz, tosupport higher capacities when necessary. Apart from Siklu's recommendationthat the maximum aggregated channels be limited to 2 GHz, there were noother comments regarding maximum channel size. In general, accommodatinggreater throughput is seen as fundamentally important in these bands tofacilitate upgrades in capacity as requirements and needs evolve.

As for the band 92-95 GHz, there were fewcomments and responses, with both Rogers and the RABC indicating a lack ofsufficient technical specifications to provide informed responses. Given thegeneral support for the introduction of FS into the bands 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHzand 92-95 GHz, the Department is hereby designating all three bandsfor use by the FS. That said, the specific details of the 92-95 GHz portionof the band plan will be established in a future Standard Radio System Plan(SRSP) revision, considering the overall maturity of the band and the commentsreceived. Consequently, the general band plan shown below inFigure 2 will be adopted.

Figure 2 – Adopted Band Plan
Figure 2 – Adopted Band Plan
[Description of Figure 2]

The Department is hereby designating the bands 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz and 92-95 GHz (92-94 GHz and 94.1-95 GHz) for use by the fixed service.

The Department is hereby adopting a 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz band plan that consists of 250 MHz channels and 125 MHz guardbands. Specifics of the 92-95GHz band plan will be subject to a future revision of the SRSP.

In addition to support for channelaggregation, overall comments supported the introduction of frequency divisionduplex (FDD) systems within the bands; however, both TeraGo and Siklu suggestedthat it would be beneficial to also incorporate the provision for time divisionduplex (TDD) systems. In support of technology-neutral use of these bands, theDepartment may allow TDD systems; however, these systems would be expected tooperate within the envelope of technical rules of FDD systems. All systemswould be expected to conform to the technical specifications in the SRSP and RadioStandards Specifications (RSS) to be developed by the Department, in consultation with the RABC.

With responses for theband 92-95 GHz indicating a lack of sufficient technical specifications, andgiven limited sharing studies with radar operations in the band and limited equipmentavailability, it may be premature to develop technical parameters and a bandplan for the band 92-95 GHz at this time. As the band matures, theseconsiderations will be subject to a future revision of theSRSP.

The Department will allow point-to-point fixed radio systems to be deployed in the bands 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz, with a mix of FDD and TDD operations. Radio systems may be structured in a variety of ways, including single hop, multiple hop and hub site configurations. Specific details, including channel aggregation, will be established during the development of the SRSP.

For the band 92-95 MHz, apart from its previous designation permitting the use of the band by indoor licence-exempt devices, the Department will allow its use by fixed radio systems upon establishing the appropriate technical specifications in a future revision of the SRSP. The Department will continue to monitor international developments and usage of the band 92-95 GHz.

4. Technical Considerations

4.1 Technical Requirements

In the SMSE-010-11 consultation, Industry Canada proposed the following technical specifications, which are similar to those of the U.S.Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Table 1: U.S. Technical Specificationsfor Operation in the 70 and 80 GHz Bands
Band 71-76 GHz 81-86 GHz 92-94 GHz 94.1-95 GHz
Maximum power limit dBW
Maximum equivalent isotropically radiated power (e.i.r.p.) 55 dBW
Automatic transmitter power control (ATPC) Optional
Transmitter maximum power spectral density (PSD) 150 mW/100 MHz
Minimum antenna gain 50 dBi
Provision for reduced gain with reduced power Reduced to minimum of 43 dBi, provided that the e.i.r.p. is reduced by 2 dB per 1 dB reduction in gain
Minimum spectral efficiency 0.125 bits/s/Hz

In the contextof this consultation, all respondents, apart from Alliance Corporation, expressedinterest in harmonizing with the European technical specifications, as outlinedin Table 2. Their preference is likely a consequence of equipment availabilityand the desire to protect adjacent band services such as EESS passive in theband 86-92 GHz.

Table 2: ETSI EN 302 217-3 v1.3.1, European TechnicalSpecifications for Operation in the 70 and 80 GHz Bands

a The output power spectral density, at antenna port, fallingoutside the edges of the band 71-76 GHz or below the lower edge ofthe band 81-86 GHz shall be further limited to a maximum of –55 dBW/MHz.

b For the protection of passive services, in particular the EESS passive, the unwanted emissions of FS systems shall respect, at the antenna port, the limit mask provided by –41 dBW/100 MHz at 86 GHz and reducing to –55 dBW/100 MHz at 87 GHz.

Band 71-76 GHz 81-86 GHz
Maximum power (dBW) dBW
Maximum e.i.r.p. (dBW) 55 dBW
Automatic transmitter power control (ATPC) Optional
Transmitter maximum power spectral density (PSD) –15 dBW/MHz, a, b
Offset (0-20% of aggregated channel)
Minimum antenna gain 38 dBi
Provision for reduced gain with reduced power ≤ 55 dBW for Gant ≥ 55 dBi
≤ 55 – (55 – Gant) dBW for 55 dBi > Gant ≥ 45 dBi
≤ 45 – 2 × (45 – Gant) dBW for 45 dBi > Gant ≥ 38 dBi

In line with the European ETSI EN 302 217-3 requirements, both the RABC and SikluCommunication supported a minimum antenna gain of 38 dBi.They indicated that this reduction of antenna gain would enable the deploymentof smaller, less expensive antennas while maintaining the narrow "pencil beamwidth" signal characteristics of the band. A reduction in antenna gain from 43 dBi to 38 dBi will increase the beam width by roughly 1 degree, or approximatelya 1.6 degree increase when compared to a 50 dBi antenna gain. In general, as mostlinks do not operate at maximum power, a reduction in antenna gain will reducefrequency reuse capabilities; however, it will enable the use of smallerantennas in high-density deployment situations where tower loading may be considereda critical factor.

Industry Canada received several commentsregarding the need for a minimum spectral efficiency to ensure that thespectrum is used in an efficient manner. Suggestions ranged from a minimum of0.125 bits/s/Hz to 1 bit/s/Hz, with Alliance Corporation and the RABCrecommending efficiencies of 0.5 bits/s/Hz and 1 bit/s/Hz respectively, giventhe increased capacity requirements and demand for short-range backhaul. Althoughcapable of data throughputs of 1 gigabit per second or greater, most of the currentequipment employs simple modulation schemes. Greater spectrum efficiencies arepossible with the use of higher order modulation schemes; however, this mayincrease cost and may also prevent certain users from accessing the spectrumbased on their required data rates.

The Department will consider the commentsreceived on the above technical parameters in the development of an SRSP with appropriatetechnical specifications to ensure the efficient use of spectrum.

To take advantage of readily availableequipment and access to a wider range of services andapplications developed on a global basis, theDepartment will consider establishing similar requirements to those adopted by Europe, which also minimize the impacts to adjacent band services.

The Department will identify technical requirements through the development of an applicable SRSP and/or RSS, similar to requirements adopted in Europe, in consultation with the RABC.

4.2 In-Band Interference

A variety ofservices, including fixed, fixed-satellite (space-to-Earth), mobile, mobile-satellite(space-to-Earth), broadcasting-satellite and radio astronomy, areallocated on a primary basis in portions of the bands 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz and92-95 GHz. In an effort to prevent and minimize instancesof harmful interference, Industry Canada requested comments on technical parameters for satellite systems, specificrequirements to facilitate sharing between services, and on the feasibility ofuncoordinated deployment of fixed systems and the likelihood of interference.

Comments received confirmed that technicalparameters for satellite systems in the bands 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz are notyet available. However, given the potential for high-densitydeployments of FS and that these bands are shared on a primary basis, the RABCsuggested that FS systems could be first deployed in the range 71-74 GHz toaccommodate future FSS in the upper portion. The Department will consider initiallyencouraging FS use of the lower portion of the band. In terms of specificsharing criteria for FS and FSS, satellite systems in these bands would need tomature in order to determine the appropriate technical parameters for sharing.These considerations may be addressed in a future revision to the appropriateSRSP.

Sharing criteria or parameters for FS and FSS in the bands 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz may be developed in the future and incorporated into the SRSP.

4.3 Adjacent-BandInterference

Industry Canada requested comments onsharing between services in adjacent bands. A variety of services, including radioastronomy, radiolocation, space research (space-to-Earth), amateur, amateur-satelliteand EESS passive, are allocated in portions of the bands 76-81 GHzand 86-92 GHz. Environment Canada, EUMETNET and the WMO were strongly opposedto the FS emission mask defined by the FCC, preferring that of Europe, asdefined by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute. They point tovarious studies conducted within Europe and the ITU which indicate that the FCClimits, in certain instances, may not offer adequate protection to EESS in theband 86-92 GHz. Environment Canada favours a constant FS unwantedemission level of –50 dBW/100MHz, whereas EUMETNET and the WMO prefer theEuropean mask of –41 dBW/100 MHz at 86 GHz, decaying to –55 dBW/100 MHz at 87 GHz,and its mirror image from 91 to 92 GHz.

Given thesignificance and role of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in providing information to predict severe weather, analyze climatechanges and their impacts through EESS, there is a requirement to ensure thatthere will be minimal impact or degradation of data in the band 86-92 GHz. Assuch, the Department will take the views of the EESS community intoconsideration when developing technical standards with respect to unwantedemissions for incorporation in the associated SRSP and RSS. It is expected thatsuch standards would be similar to those established in Europe.

Appropriate levels for adjacent-band emissions will be identified in the technical specifications of the applicable SRSP and/or RSS.

5. Licensing

Industry Canada seeks to facilitate the deployment of new wirelessapplications while minimizing regulatory interventions associated with use of thebands 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz and 92-95 GHz. The following section outlines the decisions that willapply to licensing of these bands going forward. In the near future, a ClientProcedures Circular will be established to provide applicants with the detailson the licensing process to be followed and the specific conditions that willapply.

It should also be noted that a public consultation will be launched regarding the establishment of an appropriate spectrum licence fee for use of the bands 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz and 92-95 GHz. Once a corresponding fee order has been established, licensees willbe required to pay the annual spectrum licence fees.

5.1 Type ofAuthorization and Licensing Mechanism

The consultation paper proposed several options, includingradio licences, spectrum licences and licence exemption. Comments receivedindicated strong interest in a licensed versus a licence-exempt model tofacilitate inter-user coordination. Comments also supported use of spectrumlicensing rather than radio licensing in order to provide licensees with theflexibility to deploy additional links in a timely manner.

The consultation also sought comments as to what licensingmechanism should be used should the licence-exempt model not be selected.Options included either first-come, first-served (FCFS) licensing or an auctionprocess. Comments were strongly in favour of the FCFS process as beingappropriate for licensing of these bands and supported licensing on anon-exclusive basis to maximize the availability of the spectrum to multipleusers.

The consultation also sought comments on possible use ofband managers to manage third party access to these frequencies. Respondentsdid not support this approach.

In light of the above considerations, spectrum licences will be issued through an FCFSprocess. Licensees will be required to share the spectrum with other licenseesin a given area. In order to facilitate coordination between the users, licensees willbe required to upload site-specific station technical information to anIndustry Canada specified database prior to installation or modification of afixed station. Using this data, new licensees will be required to coordinatewith existing licensees to resolve technical issues.

The Department will issue spectrum licences in the bands 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz and 92-95 GHz. Licensing for all areas will be on an FCFS basis and all licensees will have shared access to the spectrum.

5.2 Service Areas

Commentsreceived in response to the consultation supported licensing on an area basis(spectrum licensing rather than radio licensing), noting that the spectrumlicence provides the operator flexibility to deploy quickly within the licensedarea. Although a national licence would maximize that flexibility, it is notedthat smaller service areas facilitate inter-user coordination.

As aresult, Tier 4 service areas will be used for licensing of the bands 71-76 GHz,81-86 GHz and 92-95 GHz. Additional information and descriptions of theservice areas used by Industry Canada can be found on the departmental websiteat http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/h_sf01627.html.

Spectrum licences in the bands 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz and 92-95 GHz will be issued on a Tier 4 service area basis.

5.3 Interim Licensing

Until respective technicalspecifications and standards have been developed and published in an RSS and SRSP,and appropriate licensing procedures have been formally implemented, spectrumlicence applications will not be accepted. In the interim, applications can besubmitted for site-specific licences on a non-standard basis. Once the RSS and SRSPhave been developed, any system authorized under the interim licensing processwill be required to meet all requirements set out therein.

As noted, a public consultationwill be launched regarding the establishment of an appropriate spectrum licencefee for use of the bands 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz and 92-95 GHz. Once acorresponding fee order has been established, licensees will be required to paythe annual spectrum licence fees.


6.1 DomesticCoordination

Frequency coordinationis intended to enable licensees to confirm that proposed radio systems areplanned and designed so that harmful interference does not occur. Most respondents indicated that although interference issues wouldbe minimal within the fixed service, there is a need for frequency coordinationof links prior to activation, given the significant potential impact uponnetworks resulting from any harmful interference affecting potentially largeamounts of traffic. Comments received favoured a frequency coordinated approachas opposed to uncoordinated deployments.

Respondents presented different approachesto coordination between systems. Specifically, TeraGo, Rogers and the RABCrecommended inter-operator coordination whereby the installing licensee wouldbe responsible for notifying and coordinating directly with all concernedlicensees in the general area of the proposed or modified link. Both the RABCand Rogers suggested that the Department develop a set of coordination criteriaor technical requirements for frequency coordination purposes. Although Silku did not specifically suggest a coordination method, itindicated that licensees prefer licensed bands due to the lack of interferenceissues.

Given thepropagation characteristics of the bands 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz and 92-95 GHz, andthe highly directive antenna radiation envelope, the likelihood of harmfulinterference is limited if frequency coordination is undertaken. Consequently,licensees will be responsible for ensuring that their installation(s) andmodification(s) to their radio system(s) do not cause harmful interference. Toprotect existinglicensed radio stations from interference, the Department will requirelicensees to successfully complete frequency coordination prior to operating anew or modified system which has the potential to cause interference. Althoughinterference conflicts may still occur, the Department expects that they can besufficiently managed and resolved through mutual cooperation and good faithdiscussions between licensees. As such, Industry Canada will not be involved incoordinating radio links or in resolving interference issues between FSsystems.

For coordination purposes and to facilitate inter-user cooperation, at a future date, all licensees will be required to electronically enter and accurately maintain technical information and site-specific station and link data, as well as contact information, via an Industry Canada specified database prior to deploying and activating any station links. When this database is made available, the Department will encourage licensees to regularly consult the Spectrum Direct website (http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/sd-sd.nsf/eng/home) for the location and technical specifications of active links for the purposes of inter-user coordination, general spectrum planning, potential interference resolution and mitigation. In addition, licensees will also be required to respect primary frequency allocation users which may include frequency coordination with future satellite systems or other radio services operating withinthe same 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz and 92-95 GHz bands.

The Department will require, at a future date, that licensees enter site-specific technical data, contact information, and any additional information outlined in a future Client Procedures Circular, into an Industry Canada specified database. Licensees will be required to ensure that this information is kept up-to-date. Note that the Department will not be involved in coordinating radio links or in resolving FS interference issues. Licensees are expected to cooperate to identify and resolve possible interference themselves.

Inter-user domestic frequency coordination must be successfully completed prior to the activation of links. Licensees establishing new links or modifying existing links must resolve any technical issues with licensees of previously coordinated links. Technical requirements for coordination will be established in the development of the relevant SRSP.

6.2 International Coordination

The use of the bands 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHzand 92-95 GHz near the United States border is not currently subject to a cross-border arrangement. However, the Department is in discussions with the United States with a view to developing a coordination agreement for the bands. Licenseeswill be subject to future agreements regarding use of these bands in the borderregions, which may include obtaining departmental approval prior to operation.

The Department will carry out due diligence in the establishment of a cross-border arrangement with the United States for the use of the bands 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz and 92-95 GHz to ensure protection of fixed systems in the border area. FS licensees will be subject to all future international agreements.


Marc Dupuis

Director General

Engineering, Planning, and Standards Branch


Fiona Gilfillan

Director General

Spectrum Management Operations Branch