Canada will open the 6GHz band of radio frequency spectrum, tripling the current amount available for Wi-Fi and leading to faster speeds and greater coverage.
“High-quality and affordable wireless services have never been more important in the everyday lives of Canadians,” Francois-Philippe Champagne, minister for science and innovation, said. “This decision will make staying connected easier for Canadians who rely on their Wi-Fi for accessing school, work and health care from home.”
The increased spectrum will also enable operators to start rolling out of affordable broadband in rural Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has committed to improving internet access for rural Canada and bringing costs down for Canadians.
The decision harmonizes Canada’s spectrum with that of other countries, including the United States, said Mark Goldberg, a longtime industry consultant.
“It absolutely will help speed up in home internet, no question, and provide all sorts of new capabilities and services,” Goldberg said.
The decision comes ahead of Canada’s long-awaited 3500Mhz spectrum auction in June, which will support the country’s telecoms companies in expanding their 5G capabilities.
Some 24 companies are eligible to bid, including Bell, Telus, Rogers Communications and Cogeco Communications.
Shaw Communications, which is in talks to be acquired by Rogers, did not apply and is not eligible to bid.
Telecom industry body GSMA recently urged governments to release 6 GHz spectrum for rolling our 5G network.
GSMA said the future of 5G is at risk if governments fail to align on licensing 6 GHz spectrum. The speed and capabilities of 5G depend on the 6 GHz mid-band spectrum.
“Yet governments are already diverging: China will use the entire 1200 MHz in the 6 GHz band for 5G. Europe has split the band, with the upper part considered for 5G, but a new 500 MHz tranche available for Wi-Fi. Africa and parts of the Middle East are taking a similar approach,” GSMA said.