Yesterday, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (ISED), François-Philippe Champagne announced a new local licensing policy to make access to 5G spectrum easy for small internet providers as well as rural and remote communities.
Local licensing is an umbrella term for various emerging licensing frameworks aimed at meeting the small-scale connectivity needs of wireless service providers and individual spectrum users alike.
The government announced that it will now manage spectrum sharing through a first-come first-served (FCFS) model, and the competitive auction process to obtain spectrum would be eliminated.
This new system also allows for a specified level of interference protection to licensed operations in adjacent spectrum bands.
“Whether it’s on farms, in factories, on university campuses, or in hospitals, new wireless technologies are enabling exciting innovations across our economy,” stated Champagne. “That’s why our government is making access to 5G spectrum easier to ensure that Canadians, especially those in rural and remote parts of our country, can benefit from these emerging technologies.”
This decision comes after the government sought comments on how it should dedicate spectrum in the 3900 MHz to 3980 MHz and parts of the 26, 28 and 38 GHz bands for a non-competitive licensing (NCL) framework, in August last year.
Bell, Motorola, Rogers, Qualcomm, TekSavvy, and others provided comments and largely supported ISED’s proposal for a FCFS model.
Making these spectrum bands available through a NCL framework is said to particularly benefit industries that require specialized uses, such as private networks or high bandwidth levels.
ISED also believes that releasing this spectrum through an NCL licensing framework will support the development of 5G services and enable wireless companies to bolster connectivity across Canada, and especially support Indigenous communities.
The government revealed that it may launch further consultation on bands with established NCL licensing frameworks to adjust measures, as necessary.
Currently, ISED is working to implement this licensing framework using an automated system which is expected to be rolled out in 2024.