It is no secret in Canada that Industry Minister James Moore wields a lot of power when it comes to how the wireless business is conducted in his country. He is constantly tweaking with spectrum sales to favor the new entrants as he tries to ‘grow’ some competition for the Big Three – Rogers, Bell and TELUS – in an orchestrated effort to lower the price of wireless for all Canadians. Back in April 2017, Moore unveiled the government’s Digital Canada 150 (DC150) initiative, a “comprehensive plan to provide all Canadians with the digital skills and the tools required for the future.” Part of the fruition was more broadband in the rural areas and increasing the spectrum auctions as well as structuring them in a way to foster competition.
Moore said, “In today’s world, there is no question that digital technologies and tools have vastly improved our quality of life. In every field of human achievementâ€”from medicine to education and from space exploration to telecommunicationsâ€”digital innovations and inventions are helping Canadians live better, more productive, healthier lives. As we approach Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, our government remains committed to creating jobs and economic growth by providing Canadian businesses and communities with the skills and opportunities they need to succeed. In today’s digital world, we know that Canada’s long-term success and prosperity depends on it. With this in mind, I am pleased to present Digital Canada 150, version 2.0, which builds on the successes of DC150.”
Besides conducting several spectrum auctions, they have enacted legislation to cap domestic wholesale roaming rates to prevent carriers from charging outrageous amounts. They have implemented a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy to insure that those with spectrum put it to use to better service all of Canada. They also implemented strong enforcement policies for those companies that try to circumvent the rules. With the DC150 version 2, Moore is looking to expand computers in schools and libraries so all Canadians will have access. More spectrum auctions are scheduled – another one in August for unallocated 700MHz and AWS-3 spectrum. He wants to enhance Canada’s satellite communications and lower fees. He wants continued expansion of wireless into the rural areas with TV white space spectrum.
All-in-all, a very plan, but one he feels is necessary in his goal of “connecting Canadians,” no matter where they live with affordable and quality wireless. His five pillars of DC150 are Connecting Canadians, Protecting Canadians and their privacy and digital content, providing Economic Opportunities for Canadian businesses, adopting a Digital Government to provide greater access to government information and to spread Canadian Content for the world to see their history and accomplishments.