John Manley Announces the Awarding of Multipoint Communications Systems Licences

Ottawa, – –John Manley, Minister of Industry, today announced the awarding of 13 licences for Multipoint Communications Systems (MCS) in the 2500 MHz band, opening the door to new opportunities for high speed access to the Internet for consumers and small businesses.

In 12 of the 13 available service areas, licences will be awarded to Inukshuk Internet Inc. and Partners, a new company created in partnership with existing local Canadian companies across the country. In Saskatchewan, the licence will be awarded to SaskTel, the province's local, long distance and mobile telephone company.

In their submissions, both Inukshuk and SaskTel indicated they would offer wireless high-speed Internet service and that their wireless high-speed Internet service would be available in their respective service areas by the end of the third year of deployment. By the end of the fifth year of deployment, SaskTel projects a total investment of more than $40 million, and Inukshuk of $525 million.

"The licensing of Inukshuk and SaskTel will give new avenues for Canadians to connect to each other and to the world in a way that is affordable and accessible, and will provide additional means for small businesses to conduct electronic commerce," said Minister Manley.

In keeping with the lifelong learning element of the Government of Canada's Connectedness agenda, successful applicants were required to demonstrate their plans to provide commercially viable telecommunications service while also supporting local learning needs. To this end Inukshuk and SaskTel, in direct consultation with local learning stakeholders, developed Learning Plans which commit to promote learning across each company's area of service. Inukshuk proposes the establishment of a Learning Fund worth $20 million over five years and the development of a Learning Portal and course development tools to facilitate the creation and delivery of learning content over the Internet. SaskTel proposes to offer high-speed Internet access to 95 per cent of Saskatchewan's population and service more than 500 schools and libraries throughout the province by their third year of deployment. Inukshuk's and SaskTel's complete Learning Plans are available on Industry Canada's web site at: http://www.ic.gc.ca/spectrum.

Eight companies submitted a total of 52 applications which were evaluated according to criteria outlined in the policy and licensing procedures document Demonstrated Competencies, Business Plan and Learning. This policy as well as other related documents are also available on Industry Canada's web site.

For more information, please contact: 

Mélanie Robert
Telecommunications Analyst
Industry Canada
613-998-3837

Jennifer Sloan
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Industry
613-995-9001

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