Telesat makes Canada C-band proposal
September 2, 2020
By Colin Mann
Canadian satellite operator Telesat has welcomed Canada’s Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development’s (ISED) inclusion of Telesat’s proposal to reallocate expeditiously the highly-desirable 3800 MHz, ‘C-band’, mid-band spectrum from fixed satellite use to 5G services in its recently-released consultation on the future of that band.
According to Telesat, its proposal is the only plan that ensures that sufficient mid-band spectrum is made available on an expedited basis to Canadian wireless operators, providing strong support to achieving the Government’s objective of improved wireless affordability.
In addition, Telesat says its proposal fast-tracks affordable, high-throughput broadband connectivity to rural and remote Canadian communities and places Canada at the forefront of the fast-growing space industry by supporting the deployment of Telesat’s advanced, state-of-the-art Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation, Telesat LEO.
Telesat, as the largest user of 3800 MHz, and the only satellite operator licensed to use this spectrum in Canada, is proposing to clear, on an expedited basis and in two phases, 400 MHz – or 80 per cent – of the mid-band spectrum so that it can be used for 5G services. In doing so, Telesat will ensure that the vital, mission-critical satellite services that must be relocated to clear the 3800 MHz band for 5G use will be transitioned to other satellite facilities at no cost and without interruption to the current users.
“Telesat’s proposal to clear 3800 MHz spectrum is the only actionable path to rapidly deploy true 5G service in Canada and to connect rural and remote Canadian communities with fast, affordable broadband, something we can achieve with the state-of-the-art Telesat LEO satellite constellation,” said Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s President and CEO. “In this regard, Telesat’s proposal will bring tremendous economic benefits and job creation to Canada through 5G and the fast-growing, export-driven New Space economy at a time when affordable, universal broadband connectivity and economic growth have never been more important. We welcome industry comments on our proposal and the opportunity to demonstrate how our proposed approach is in the best interests of all Canadians.”
Telesat launched services on 3800 MHz spectrum nearly 50 years ago and is today using the full 500 MHz of mid-band spectrum to provide hundreds of thousands of Canadians with broadcast video content and critical lifeline services. These services include telephone, wireless LTE, broadband connectivity, including remote schools and health centres, and public safety and 911 capabilities for satellite-dependent communities serving 50,000 Indigenous Canadians. Telesat also uses the 3800 MHz spectrum to deliver mission-critical services to a range of federal departments, including Indigenous and Northern Affairs, National Defence, Nav Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, the Coast Guard, the RCMP and Natural Resources Canada.
“Clearing 3800 MHz spectrum is a highly-costly and technically-challenging endeavour,” admitted Goldberg. “Our proposal is the only way to clear this spectrum for 5G and ensure that all current satellite users’ critical services remain connected during and after the clearing process. We look forward to working with the current users of C-band, the Canadian wireless providers, and other interested parties in ensuring that our proposal is implemented in a manner that supports the interests of current users while meeting the expedited introduction of affordable 5G in Canada.”