If Canadian telecoms hoard airwaves without building high speed infrastructure for rural Canadians they could lose those rights. This message was highlighted by Prime Minister Trudeau yesterday to those telecoms. Trudeau telegraphed the demand through the open letter to François-Philippe Champagne Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry of Canada.
PM letters detail a variety of open agenda items for ministers
In a broad swath of open letters to his Canadian ministers Trudeau went all in yesterday laying out his expectations for each department as Canada enters 2022. Letters detailed everything from foreign property purchase, climate goals, and inclusiveness. There was not much left off the political table. As Canadian pandemic fatigue boils over, skyrocketing inflation stresses the nation, and housing prices leave the country reeling for answers the Liberals are likely feeling the pressure to answer some burning election promises.
Canada pays highest broadband prices in the world
Canadian broadband and wireless companies benefitting from the highest prices in the world. The mandate has been long that ensured Canada provides reliable, high speed internet to every Canadian. Rogers, TELUS, and Bell keep most of the spectrum. There are, however, a few smaller players that will take note of the Prime Minister’s demands. Recently Videotron, Xplornet and SaskTel, acquired their own spectrum licences to provide Canadians service.
They have heard the “use it or lose it” threat before
Telecom companies Bell and Rogers held the bulk of the spectrum licenses. TELUS recently secured new 3500 MHz spectrum licences in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec at a cost of $1.95 billion. Those licences mean TELUS can deliver mobile 5G broadband connectivity to customers nationwide. In July, Canada’s “Big Three” wireless companies were busy grabbing hundreds of licences for the 3,500-megahertz band of airwaves. The federal government raised $8.9 billion in a licence auction for a key band of 5G wireless spectrum in results over the summer.
At the time of allocating spectrum Minister Champagne said “The 3,500 MHz auction is a key step in our government’s plan to promote competition in the telecom sector, improve rural connectivity and ensure Canadians benefit from 5G technologies and services.
In 2014 the same “Use it or Lose it” conversation was taking place under the Harper Conservative Government.