Speaking Notes for the Honourable John Manley Minister of Industry for Announcement of LMCS Licences Ottawa

Statement

Check Against Delivery

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and thank you for joining us.

Today, the Government of Canada is taking another step forward in its strategy to realize the potential of the Information Highway and to promote the growth of the knowledge-based economy in Canada.

With the licensing of Local Multipoint Communication Systems, known as "LMCS" for short, we are paving the way for the introduction of a new technology that will become a key element of Canada's information highway. These new services will increase competition, provide Canadian consumers with more choices, and create new opportunities for Canadian businesses.

Our goal is to harness the potential of the Information Highway to help us "grow"our economy, create jobs for Canadians, and improve the lives of our citizens.

LMCS will help us realize our goal. It is the next building block in Canada's move towards a knowledge based economy. Or as some would say, it is the next lane being added to the Information Highway.

Today, most Canadians receive their television programs from the local cable company and they get basic phone services from the local telephone company.

A couple of months ago we issued a convergence policy that will allow these two groups to compete and offer consumers two choices for all of these services.

But, LMCS will offer Canadians another choice. LMCS will mean that Canadians will have three choices for how they access the Information Highway. This will mean more competition, more choice and lower costs.

Imagine getting cable TV without cables or getting high-speed Internet access without a phone line. LMCS will open up a whole new world of interesting possibilities.

Specifically licensing these LMCS providers will mean three things:

First, it will mean investment in high technology and jobs for Canadians. The industry has projected that LMCS will create at least 8,000 jobs over the next five years and that over a billion dollars in added investment will go into this important sector of our economy.

Those jobs and investment will build on the strong research and development and manufacturing base that Canada already has. We are giving our LMCS companies - both system developers and manufacturers - a head start in the global marketplace. In a world where half the population has never made a phone call,this technology has tremendous export potential.

Secondly, LMCS will add to the competitiveness of businesses in every sector of the economy. LMCS should enable small, medium and large businesses to compete on a more equal footing. All of them will have better access to the Information Highway to develop and deliver new products and services to the market place.

Finally, as I said before, LMCS will mean more choice, better service and lower costs for consumers. This new "lane" on the Information Highway will compete with existing phone and cable services. Canadian consumers will be the big winners.

To make sure that new services bring new competitors into the market, existing phone and cable companies were not eligible in this licensing round. They will be able to take part in the next round which will involve a competitive bidding process. It is my intention to make available for licensing at least two of the four remaining frequency blocks 24 months from now.

The successful first round applicants for LMCS licences are:

  • Cellular Vision Canada Ltd.
  • Digital Vision Communications
  • Regional Vision Inc.

These companies have demonstrated that they are entrepreneurs and innovators. They have the skills and expertise to build a leading edge telecommunications infrastructure that can meet the needs of all Canadians.

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