Canada launches consultation on proposal for licence-exempt spectrum to support greater choice and affordability

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

November 19, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen more Canadians working from home, engaging in distance learning, and buying essential goods and accessing social services online. This shift has made access to high-quality and affordable wireless services absolutely essential. That is why the Government of Canada is taking action to support competition, rural connectivity and the effective deployment of Wi-Fi and 5G technologies.

Today, at the 2020 Canadian Telecom Summit, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced the launch of a consultation on a proposal to triple the licence-exempt spectrum available for Wi-Fi by opening up the 6 GHz band to support greater choice and affordability of wireless broadband for Canadians. This proposal will enable new technologies and innovative licence-exempt applications by increasing speed and capacity.

With more spectrum available for Wi-Fi, Canadians will benefit from increased speed and connectivity for working from home, participating in distance education and accessing health care services remotely. This will also allow businesses to benefit from emerging technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality.


“More than ever before, Canadians are relying on access to high-quality wireless services. That’s why we are making the right spectrum available to increase connectivity and the speed of wireless services so that Canadians can connect to work, school, services and their loved ones. We will continue to improve rural Internet access and support the timely deployment of 5G connectivity while increasing the level of competition to lower prices for Canadians.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Quick facts

  • The launch of the consultation marks the beginning of a 60-day comment period, which will be followed by a 30-day reply period.

  • The proposal put forth for consultation would align Canada with the United States’ recent decision on the 6 GHz band, allowing for a common North American Wi-Fi ecosystem.

  • The government is committed to making spectrum available at the right time to support the deployment of 5G. The 3500 MHz spectrum auction is scheduled to start on June 15, 2021.

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