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Archived - Advancing Canada's Wireless Policy

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Speaking Points

The Honourable James Moore, PC, MP
Minister of Industry

Vancouver, British Columbia

December 18, 2014

Check Against Delivery

Good morning. Thank you all for joining me.

Canada is a digital nation.

We rely on our smartphones and tablets to connect us to people and information simultaneously and instantly.

Canadians have been clear that they want more choice, lower prices and better service in Canada's wireless sector.

And, in 2014, we delivered.

We passed legislation to cap roaming rates.

We ensured local residents would be consulted on any construction of new cell towers in their communities.

We released more mobile spectrum than any other previous government—the most spectrum in Canada's history.

Spectrum allows our wireless devices to be wireless. It is the invisible infrastructure on which wireless information travels.

In short, mobile spectrum is a vital public resource.

Our government has made more of it available than ever before.

In 2014 we unveiled the details of our upcoming 2500 MHz spectrum auction, which will benefit Canadians both in rural and urban areas. That auction will take place in April.

Our government's 700 MHz auction was the most successful and lucrative auction of spectrum in Canada's history. It generated $5.27 billion in revenue for taxpayers—the most ever.

We enforced a "use it or lose it" policy so that companies that do not use their spectrum licences to benefit Canadians will lose those licences.

The result of all this is that there is more competition today, and average wireless prices continue to drop.

But we know Canadians still pay some of the highest wireless rates in the developed world.

Today, I am pleased to announce that in 2015 our government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Harper, will be taking more action to deliver for Canadian consumers.

First, the AWS-3 spectrum auction will take place this March, before the 2500 MHz auction in April.

AWS-3 spectrum will deliver fast, reliable service on the latest smartphones, tablets and mobile devices.

Those auctions, just like our previous ones, will have rules that put the interests of Canadian consumers first. The rules are now available online.

In 2015 our government will also be seeking comments on releasing a new band of spectrum, 600 MHz spectrum, for mobile wireless use while allowing our over-the-air TV stations to remain on the air.

This spectrum is currently used for over-the-air television broadcasting, but some of it can be transitioned to provide wireless services in both urban and rural areas.

In the new year our government will be consulting with all stakeholders on how to best make this transition so that Canadians in urban and rural areas benefit.

Next, as wireless technology is moving toward LTE, our government will be maximizing use of the 3500 MHz spectrum band. Under the new rules, Canadians will be able to use this spectrum for mobile use in the future, while maintaining the essential service this band provides to rural Internet users.

Finally, we will be making AWS-4 spectrum available so that a new competitor can offer wireless services to Canadians, particularly in rural and remote areas, creating more choice for consumers. This spectrum band provides satellite and land-based infrastructure coverage to every corner of the country.

Taken together, all these measures tell a story.

In 2006, 98 percent of mobile spectrum was held by Canada's largest wireless companies.

By May 2015, we will have provided the opportunity for new wireless companies to hold over 25 percent of total wireless spectrum available.

For new wireless companies to be able to compete and provide choice to Canadians, spectrum is essential. It is vital.

The result is more choice, lower prices and better service for Canadians.

More choice and lower prices—through increased competition in the wireless sector due to policies introduced by our government.

And better service—by making available more wireless spectrum than ever before.

Thank you.

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