Canada’s spectrum regulator has made changes to policies governing the 3 GHz to 30 GHz bands, including a proposal to remove the spectrum cap for the 24, 28 and 38 GHz bands, a possible re-licensing of the 28 GHz band, reallocating C-band satellite spectrum for government of Canada (GoC) uses, and allocating additional spectrum for public safety communications (DGTP-008-04). These are only four of the primary policies contained in a 66-page document, released this month following a public consultation undertaken by Industry Canada in January 2002 (DGTP-001-02). In determining possible policy changes to the C-band (4500-4800 MHz paired with 6725-7075 MHz), the department noted that there are three orbital positions in which to use these particular frequencies (107.3, 111.1 and 114.9 degrees west), but there is little likelihood of new satellites using this spectrum being launched in the foreseeable future. Additionally, fixed satellite services (FSS) in the lower band aren’t allowed in European countries that are part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). "On further examination of the potential use of the allotment C band by the FSS, and continued use by fixed service, and weighing those uses against the potential benefit for GoC applications to have access to spectrum which is harmonized with NATO uses, the department has decided to designate priority to the use of the band for fixed and mobile services by the government of Canada," reads the policy document. Following the lead of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the department has allocated an additional 50 MHz to public safety uses in the 4940-4990 MHz to support the introduction of broadband public safety applications (this is in addition to the spectrum allocated to public safety in DGTP-002-04). Possible applications that could be deployed in this band include wireless links from cameras, thermal imagers and 3D locators, wireless video and data transfer, among others. Broadband wireless services also got a boost from the department in these policy changes. The 28 GHz band, previously held in its entirety by Maxlink Communications through acquisitions of other licensees WIC Connexus and Regional Vision (RoW, Feb. 5/02), was repatriated by the department in 2001 following the demise of Maxlink. Industry Canada is now considering reintroducing it to the market, but restricting its use to rural areas. Given the history to date of this particular spectrum band and in order to provide a certain level of competition in rural areas, the department is proposing to divide the band into "a minimum of three licensable packages, to be made available on a first-come, first-served basis in rural areas," reads the document. It provides the example of 150+150 MHz blocks with a spacing of 550 MHz. Interested parties have until the beginning of January 2005 to comment on the proposal. Industry Canada is also proposing to remove the spectrum cap as it relates to holdings of licences in the 24, 28 and 38 GHz bands. It has been five years since it licensed 24/38 GHz licences and little deployment of systems operating in these bands has taken place. Additionally, the department has licensed 2.5 GHz, 2.3 GHz and 3.5 GHz spectrum to provide broadband wireless access services, similar to those envisioned with the other upper frequency bands. The department notes in the document that it believes there to be sufficient spectrum available in the market to provide broadband Internet access. In that light, Industry Canada seeks comment on whether it is appropriate to rescind the spectrum cap for the 24, 28 and 38 GHz bands. Respondent have until early January 2005 to respond to the notice. Report on Wireless will have more on these important policy changes in upcoming issues of the newsletter.