More Communications Choices for Canadians

– – The awarding of three Local Multipoint Communication Systems (LMCS) licences was announced by Industry Minister John Manley. LMCS is a wireless, broadband system that will be capable of carrying basic and advanced communications services. LMCS licensees will provide competition to cable, telephone and satellite distribution systems. This technology touches all three objectives set by the government for building the Information Highway: creating jobs through innovation and investment in Canada; reinforcing Canadian sovereignty and cultural identity; and, ensuring universal access at reasonable cost.

"LMCS applicants propose to invest over $1 billion and create up to 8,000 new jobs over the next five years in the wireless industry," said Manley. "We want competition in the cable and local telephony markets as soon as possible. Today I am awarding licences for one GHz for 33 markets each to Cellular Vision Canada Ltd., and Digital Vision Communications and a similar licence for service in 127 small communities to Regional Vision Inc. to ensure that our expanding information Highway continues to reach Canada's remote communities."

Successful applicants' business plans have indicated that some services will be up and running by the end of next year. "It is through the introduction of new and innovative products and services such as LMCS that Canadians will benefit from increased employment opportunities, a stronger economy and more consumer choice," added Manley. The U.S. is not expected to award its first LMCS licences until early next year.

Thirteen detailed submissions were received and evaluated. The criteria for the awarding of the licences, as outlined in the policy and call for applications, were: competitive strategy; innovation; economic benefits and research and development; coverage; and, demonstrated competencies.

It is the government's intention to make available for licensing at least two of the four remaining frequency blocks 24 months from now. With this planned auction of more spectrum, those that were not successful or eligible in this round, will have another opportunity. There will be an aggressive timetable to introduce more competition in local wireless distribution services while providing sufficient time for these pioneering new entrants to implement their systems and establish their viability.

For further information, please contact: 

Bill Milliken
Office of the Minister Spectrum Management

Patrick Carrey
Release 7509-e

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