We are increasingly relying on a wireless world. Mobile phones, GPS tracking systems in our cars, free WiFi at a coffee shop, television and radio programming are just some of the wireless capabilities we use daily. in 2020, mobile data traffic is almost 1,000 times greater than 2017 with connected devices expected to reach 100 billion soon.
Canadians are relying on wireless services for work, school, finances and health care, making access to high-quality and affordable services essential. That is why the Government of Canada is making spectrum available to encourage competition in the wireless services market, improve rural connectivity and ensure the effective deployment of 5G technologies.
On Friday May 21st, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne, announced the decision to repurpose the 3800 MHz spectrum band to support 5G services. This decision will allow for the deployment of new 5G technologies.
The decision is touted to help connect more Canadians to high-speed Internet. With large amounts of spectrum maintained for satellite services in remote areas and the amount of spectrum available to support wireless broadband services increased from 50 MHz to 80 MHz, Canadians living in rural areas should have better access to high-speed networks.
- The 3500 MHz and 3800 MHz spectrum bands are globally recognized as key for 5G networks.
- The 3500 MHz spectrum auction is scheduled to start on June 15, 2021.
- The 3800 MHz auction will take place in early 2023.
- Satellite services will be limited to the 4000 to 4200 MHz portion of the band by 2025, with certain exceptions.
- The decision allows existing fixed satellite services providers to continue using the whole 500 MHz in more remote areas that rely on satellite for critical services, including broadband connectivity, and requires protection for existing services from future 5G services in these areas.
- Wireless broadband service licensees in urban areas will transition by 2025, while licensees in rural areas will have until 2027.
- Since 2015, the Government of Canada has made $7.2 billion available for rural and remote Internet infrastructure to help ensure all Canadians have access to fast and reliable Internet, no matter where they live. Budget 2021 proposes to provide an additional $1 billion over six years, starting in 2021–22, for the Universal Broadband Fund to support a more rapid rollout of broadband projects.
Effectively managing spectrum will be vital as the next generation of wireless technology – 5G – and the growing number of wireless devices comes on stream. 5G advanced networks and technologies will impact all sectors of the economy, and enable initiatives such as driverless cars, smart homes and smart cities. Smart cities, for example, will offer cost-saving municipal services such as data sensors on garbage bins that tell collectors when they need to be emptied and technology that tell motorists about traffic conditions up ahead or where to find available parking.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how much we rely on our connections. Now more than ever, Canadians across the country need access to reliable high-speed Internet as many of us are working, learning, and staying in touch with friends and family from home. Right now, too many Canadians living in rural and remote communities lack access to high-speed Internet.