14 Apply for Licences to Provide New Communications Service

Ottawa, – Fourteen Canadian companies want to bring a new, wireless communications technology to Canadians that competes with the services now offered by existing cable or phone companies. Besides the obvious benefit to consumers of a third choice, Local Multipoint Communications Systems (LMCS) have the potential to create thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in investment. Industry Minister John Manley welcomed the high level of interest that is being shown in LMCS. "We received fourteen detailed submissions -- a clear indication of how vibrant the telecommunications industry in Canada is," said Mr. Manley. "Canadian consumers will enjoy increased choice as a result of competition. The economic spin-offs we expect from LMCS will be good for business and good for Canada, creating new jobs and growth."

Mr. Manley indicated that an in-depth analysis of all applications would now be conducted, a process he described as both complex and time consuming. The elements for evaluation are: competitive strategy; innovation; economic benefits and research and development; coverage; and demonstrated competencies. Successful applicants will be announced in the fall.

The first licensing round is intended to foster diversity of choice for consumers and business in Canada. There are 66 designated markets for which a maximum of two applicants can be authorized in each.

Under the previously announced policy, six frequency blocks have been designated for LMCS, two of which will be opened immediately. The Minister's decision regarding selection of successful applicants for these first two blocks is based on authority conferred by the Radiocommunication Act. In making his decision, he may take into account all matters that he considers relevant for ensuring the orderly establishment, development and efficient operation of radio communication in Canada.

Because so many companies have shown an interest in competing for these two blocks, we know that not every one of them can be successful. However, they will have another opportunity. It is the Department's intention to initiate a subsequent competitive bidding (auction) process for some or all of these remaining spectrum blocks. It will be open to all applicants, including those who have not been awarded a licence in the first round, and will take place 18 to 36 months after the first licences are awarded.

The LMCS policy and call for licences is part of the government's strategy for the Information Highway, outlined in Building the Information Society: Moving Canada into the 21st Century, which was released on . It is guided by three objectives: the creation of jobs through innovation and investment; the reinforcement of Canadian sovereignty and cultural identity; and universal access at a reasonable cost.

The fourteen applicants who provided detailed submissions are:

  • 3231518 Canada Ltd.
  • Digital Vision Communications
  • Chatwin Communications Ltd.
  • Call-Net Communications Inc.
  • LTI Telecommunications Inc.
  • Canada UnWired
  • Microstar Systems Corp.
  • Cellular Vision Canada Ltd.
  • Point to Point Communications
  • Computer Radio Network Corporation
  • Regional Vision Inc.
  • Dialogue Canada Multimedia Inc.
  • Starcom International Optics Corp.

For more information or a copy of the backgrounder, please contact:

Bill Milliken
Office of the Minister of Industry

Patrick Carrey
Spectrum Management

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