RP-006 — Policy for the Use of 700 MHz Systems for Public Safety Applications and Other Limited Use of Broadcasting Spectrum (sf09133)

5. Policy for the use of 700 MHz Spectrum for Public Safety Applications

The Department reiterates the importance of this limited spectrum being released to significantly advance public safety communications in Canada. A suitable level of interoperability among public safety organizations is critical. This will ensure that the spectrum is used efficiently and is deployed in an orderly manner, as set out in Section 3.

The Department considers it would be advantageous for public safety agencies, large or small, to use this spectrum with a degree of flexibility. A flexible policy would enable interoperability as required, and take into account shared public safety needs in a given geographic area.

Radio interoperability is considered an essential feature for public safety applications. Together with this radio systems policy, the Department is also undertaking a consultation to establish the entire range of possible radio interoperability levels that could be required for any spectrum designated for public safety applications.

For the above reasons, the Department is establishing this policy to oversee the development of public safety radio systems and will assess applications based on the criteria outlined in Section 5.1.

5.1 Policy Criteria

In general, to promote the orderly and efficient development of public safety radio systems in the bands 764–770 MHz and 794–800 MHz, a public safety agency or its service provider seeking authorization to establish a mobile communication system for the protection of life and property, will have to:

  • justify the spectrum requirement in terms of radio traffic and forecasted use;
  • report on the discussions with other public safety agencies on the potential for developing and sharing a common radio system to meet their communications needs;
  • report on discussions with other public safety agencies regarding the potential for some interoperability among their safety services;
  • commit to having radio equipment with standards and frequency selectivity, in order to be able to use the mutual aid channels in accordance with Standard Radio System Plan 511 (SRSP-511), during regular operation and in times of emergency; and
  • be capable of meeting a minimum level of radio interoperability by using mutual aid channels with a shared standard for the band.

6. Policy for the use of Television Channels 2 to 59 for Advanced Communications Services in Remote Rural Communities

In SP-746 MHz, the Department stated that it would consider licence applications for advanced communications services for unserved and underserved remote rural [and northern] communities in unused/unallotted broadcasting spectrum in television channels 2 to 59 (54–72 MHz, 76–88 MHz, 174–216 MHz, 470–608 MHz and 614–746 MHz). Since that time, the Department has received several applications for broadband Internet access and other services.

6.1 Policy Criteria

The Department establishes herein, a further refinement to the policy established in accordance with SP-746 MHz.

In the bands 54–72 MHz, 76–88 MHz, 174–216 MHz, 470–608 MHz and 614–746 MHz (television channels 2 to 59), licence applications will be considered, on a case-by-case basis, for advanced communications in remote rural communities. Licence applications will be authorized to providers in television channels that are unallotted and unassigned to broadcasting services;

  • at sufficient distance from major population centres, broadcasting facilities and their service contours so as not to cause them interference; and
  • on the condition that they do not constrain the provision of existing and new broadcasting services.

Note: The words and northern have been removed from the phrase rural remote and northern communities, as stated in SP-746 MHz, as there are certain unserved and underserved communities that are rural remote but not northern, but are at a sufficient distance from major population centres and broadcasting undertakings to be served by this policy.

These policy criteria will be applied to applications for licence, until such time as any further allocation changes are considered in these frequency bands.

7. Implementation

Available spectrum will be prudently managed by each regional office in a manner that seeks to accommodate all national, provincial and municipal public safety entities involved in the protection of life and property.

Parties interested in the implementation of this radio systems policy should contact a spectrum manager at their local Industry Canada office.

Issued under the authority of the Radiocommunication Act

Larry Shaw
Director General
Telecommunications Policy Branch