The telecommunication industry has had an exciting year. With the work from home transition accentuating the importance of good connectivity, network developments, whether it’s 5G or broadband, are accelerating in Canada. The momentum will continue into 2021, and we think there are three things worth keeping in mind as we head into the new year. And with that, welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Monday, December 28, and I’m your host Alex Coop.

 

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The midband 5G spectrum auction will take place on June 31, 2021. This is a critical moment for operators in Canada as 3.5GHz will bring even faster 5G speeds and open up new use cases. As such, the big carriers are eyeing this bid to improve 5G service speeds in urban centres. But smaller operators will get a chance to compete, too; in areas where enough spectrum is available 50 MHz has been set aside by ISED for small carriers to bid on.

The increase to the Universal Broadband Fund late last year aims to further bridge the divide between rural and urban broadband connectivity. With the new $750 million increase, the Universal Broadband Fund now totals to $1.75 billion. Out of the funding, $150 million has been provisioned for shovel-ready projects that can deliver service by November 2021. In addition to new funding, the application process has been streamlined and made more transparent. On Dec. 17, the government of Canada announced the first project funded through UBF, a $1 million investment to Netago Internet to bring high-speed internet to 7200 in underserved counties in Alberta. Expect similar projects in 2021.

Zooming in the scope a bit, consumers will soon have access to Wi-Fi 6E. This new Wi-Fi standard runs in the 6GHz spectrum, which is less congested than the current 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. In addition to increased speeds, it also increases stability in densely packed environments like offices and stadiums. The consultation on reallocating the 6GHz spectrum for Wi-Fi was announced in November 2020 and is now underway.

That’s all the predictions we have for the telecom industry in 2021. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. And remember, over the next couple of weeks, we want you to tell us what you think is this year’s biggest Canadian tech story. Let us know on Twitter @ITWorldCa, or leave a comment on the show notes for this episode at ITWorldCanada.com. Respondents will be entered into a draw for a chance to win an IT World Canada mug in the New Year!

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