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Harper Government Delivers on Its Commitment to Put Canadian Consumers First

Use it or lose it - Spectrum licences in the 3500 MHz band will not be renewed if service providers do not deploy this valuable resource to Canadians

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 08/19/14 -- Industry Canada

Today Industry Minister James Moore announced that the Government is taking further action to support Canadian wireless consumers by introducing new rules for the 3500 MHz spectrum licences. As announced in November 2013 as part of the Government's "use-it-or-lose-it" policy, service providers that have not deployed this valuable resource to Canadians will not have their licences renewed.

The 3500 MHz spectrum band will balance the capacity for mobile services in urban areas and the need for fixed wireless broadband access in rural areas.

Today's announcement introduces a fast-track approach to issuing new licences for fixed wireless broadband in rural areas, which will meet the needs of rural broadband service providers and help them deliver timely, high-quality service to their customers. Rural Canadians will also be better served by a first-come, first-served licensing process that meets their immediate needs.

The Government will work with providers of mobile and fixed services in the weeks ahead to ensure that the interests of Canadian consumers are best represented as Industry Canada consults on the 3500 MHz licensing approach.

For more information, see the backgrounder.

Quick facts

--  In November 2013, Industry Minister James Moore announced that the
    renewal of 3500 MHz spectrum licences would be subject to the
    Government's "use-it-or-lose-it" policy. 
--  The "use-it-or-lose-it" policy ensures that service providers that hold
    spectrum put it to use in a timely and sufficient fashion. 
--  To meet the growing demand for mobile services, the Government is
    repurposing the 3500 MHz spectrum in urban areas to ensure Canadians
    have the capacity they need to stay connected. This represents 36
    percent of the total spectrum licences available in the 3500 MHz band. 
--  The 3500 MHz spectrum band represents the most affordable wireless high-
    speed Internet access for many rural Canadians. 
--  Today the Government is also releasing the consultation paper on the
    3500 MHz licensing approach. Industry Canada will accept comments on
    this approach until October 8. 

Quote

"Our government committed to putting unused spectrum licences to use, and today we are following through on that pledge. Today's announcement also means that rural communities will benefit from enhanced access to high-speed Internet services. We will continue to put the interests of consumers first to ensure that Canadians have more choice and better services from their wireless service providers.

- Industry Minister James Moore

Related products

- Backgrounder

- Consultation paper

Associated link

- Statement by Industry Minister James Moore on Canada's Spectrum Licencing Framework (November 14, 2013)

Follow us on Twitter: @industrycanada

Backgrounder

Consultation on 3500 MHz Licensing Approach

Starting in March 2014, the 3500 MHz spectrum licences that were auctioned between 2004 and 2009 began to expire. When these licences were issued, they included a condition requiring that the spectrum be put to use to provide services to Canadian consumers.

As announced in the November 2013 Decisions Concerning the Renewal of 2300 MHz and 3500 MHz Licences, 3500 MHz licences will be renewed on an annual basis where all conditions of licence have been met, including putting the spectrum to use.

The consultation announced today will provide an opportunity to quickly reissue the licences that have not been renewed and put the spectrum in the hands of those who want to provide service to rural Canadians. In addition, in order to meet the increased demand for mobile spectrum in urban areas while continuing to allow fixed services in rural areas, this consultation proposes to designate 3500 MHz licence areas as either "urban" or "rural" to support the differing requirements of these areas.

In rural areas, the government is now consulting on a new licensing process for fixed wireless services (broadband Internet to the home) and proposes a first-come, first-served licensing approach. These licences would be issued for the coverage area and amount of spectrum required to operate, which would permit more communities to be served and help to fulfill the government's commitment to extend and enhance broadband Internet services in rural and northern communities.

To help meet the increasing demand for mobile spectrum in urban areas, the government is proposing to reallocate the 3500 MHz band to allow mobile services in urban areas, as only fixed services such as broadband Internet to the home are currently permitted. A future consultation will be launched to determine the appropriate licensing framework for the implementation of these mobile services in urban areas.

For more detailed information, please see the consultation paper.

Contacts:
Jake Enwright
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Industry
613-995-9001

Media Relations
Industry Canada
613-943-2502
[email protected]

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