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Ottawa Announces New Policy For 5G Spectrum Licenses

Canada’s federal government in Ottawa has announced a new policy that it says will make it easier for small internet service providers to access 5G wireless spectrum licences.

Government officials said the new policy will provide smaller businesses with the opportunity to acquire spectrum licences in localized areas across the country, including in rural, remote, and northern communities.

The policy sets aside 80 megahertz of spectrum for shared use through non-competitive local licensing agreements.

This means that qualifying users can purchase one-year licences for a nominal fee without having to go through an auction process where major telecom providers such as Bell (BCE), Rogers (RCI) and Telus (T) pay billions of dollars for 20-year licensing agreements.

The government said the new 5G wireless spectrum policy aims to promote competition and innovation in the telecommunications sector.

Canada is scheduled to hold its next 5G wireless spectrum auction in 2024.

Multiple studies show that Canadians pay some of the highest internet service fees in the world and that Canada has among the least competitive telecommunications sectors globally.