Post Tagged with: "spectrum"

Spectrum Transfer Policy To Test Government’s Resolve on Wireless Competition

The issue of spectrum transfers has generated considerable attention over the past few weeks as Industry Canada prepares to unveil a transfer policy in response to the proposed sale of spectrum by Shaw to Rogers. Industry Minister Christian Paradis has made it clear that he is uncomfortable with the proposed sale, acknowledging that the intent of the 2008 spectrum auction set aside was not to have the spectrum end up in the hands of incumbents. While the incumbents and their supporters are raising the concerns about market uncertainty and potential lawsuits, the reality is that the government’s policy on the Canadian wireless market has been clear since 2007.  Despite the efforts of the CWTA and the incumbents to convince politicians and the public that Canada is a competitive market, the government believes more competition is needed.

The Conservatives’ policy on wireless competition solidified in 2007, when Prime Minister Harper shuffled then-Industry Minister Maxime Bernier (who most believed was opposed to government intervention in the form of a set-aside or other measures) with Jim Prentice. Within months, Prentice unveiled the government’s policy with the headline “Government Opts for More Competition in the Wireless Sector.”  In case there was any lingering doubt about where the government stood, the release noted:

Recent studies comparing international pricing of wireless services show Canadian consumers and businesses pay more for many of these services than people in other countries. These services are key to strengthening the competitiveness of Canadian business.

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April 17, 2013 5 comments News

Paradis Announces New Spectrum Auction Measures

Industry Minister Christian Paradis this morning unveiled a series of new measures related to spectrum auctions. The long-overdue 700 MHz spectrum auction will be run in November 2013. A full list of background docs and policies can be found here.

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March 7, 2013 3 comments Must Reads

Industry Minister Paradis Makes Foreign Telecom Companies An Offer They Will Likely Refuse

Industry Minister Christian Paradis was in the news this week (Globe, Post, Cartt.ca) urging foreign telecom companies to consider investing in the Canadian market in order to beef up the competitive environment. Paradis is right to court the big foreign players, who would bring capital, buying power that the current Canadian carriers can’t match (potentially leading to better deals on devices), and the ability to leverage their global networks to offer better roaming rates. Foreign telecom companies should view the Canadian market as attractive, given some of the highest ARPU (average revenue per user) rates in the world (see CRTC Figure 6.1.9). Yet they will likely give Canada a pass due in part to failed government policies. These include:

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February 28, 2013 12 comments News

Government Announces Plan To Open “White Spaces” Spectrum

Industry Minister Christian Paradis announced yesterday that the government is “opening up unused spectrum between TV channels – the so-called “white space” – for licence-exempt applications.” The government consulted on the issue last year. I wrote about white spaces in 2009.

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October 31, 2012 4 comments Must Reads

Ottawa Foregoes Bold Vision on Telecom

After months of delay, Industry Minister Christian Paradis unveiled the government’s telecom strategy last week, setting out the details of the forthcoming spectrum auction and tinkering with longstanding foreign ownership restrictions. Spectrum allocation and auctions, which focus on the availability of frequencies used to provide wireless services, involves fairly technical questions that few outside the industry follow closely. Yet the impact of spectrum policy has far reaching effects on consumers, since the right policies can foster greater competition, better services, and lower prices.

While the headlines have focused on changes to the foreign ownership rules, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) echoes my initial post on the decision by arguing the government’s policy choices are rather timid.

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March 22, 2012 7 comments Columns