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PIAC releases backgrounder “The Importance of a Spectrum Set-Aside in the AWS-3 Auction”

OTTAWA – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) in support of giving consumers a voice in important consultations that affect the competitiveness of wireless services in Canada, released today a backgrounder “The Importance of a Spectrum Set-Aside in the AWS-3 Auction”.

Industry Canada, Canada’s wireless spectrum regulator, is in the midst of a consultation on a new set of airwaves called “AWS-3” spectrum to be auctioned to wireless service providers. In order to promote more competition in the wireless industry, Industry Canada is proposing a “set-aside” of a certain amount of spectrum that only smaller competitors can bid on, therefore increasing their ability to obtain needed spectrum to continue and grow their businesses as alternatives to the bigger service providers. PIAC made formal comments to the government supporting the set-aside and the auction format generally.

“Spectrum is a scarce public resource that is specifically intended by the Government to be put to the social and economic benefit of all Canadians, rather than simply be sold to the highest bidder” said John Lawford, PIAC’s Executive Director and General Counsel. “Setting some of it aside so that smaller competitors aren’t blocked from offering innovate and lower cost alternatives to Canadians supports that objective.”

In support of telling the consumer side of the story, PIAC today released a second backgrounder on the AWS-3 auction, today about how setting aside spectrum for smaller competitors is important for improving wireless competition.

“The evidence from a previous set-aside shows that it was instrumental in introducing more competition and lower prices as a result,” said Geoffrey White, Counsel to PIAC. “That has also been the case in other countries where set-asides have resulted in the emergence of strong competitors. A spectrum set-aside is positive for consumers, who increasingly pay more and more for their wireless services, and rely on them more and more.”

PIAC is a non-profit organization that provides legal and research services on behalf of consumer interests, and, in particular, vulnerable consumer interests, concerning the provision of important public services.

Link to PIAC Comments on the “Consultation on the Technical, Policy and Licensing Framework for Advanced Wireless Services in the Bands 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz (AWS-3)

Link to PIAC Backgrounder “The Importance of a Spectrum Set-Aside in the AWS-3 Auction” [pdf file: 0.32mb]

Link to first PIAC Backgrounder “Wireless Services in Canada: Why Canadians Deserve Better” [pdf file: 0.31mb]

For more information:

John Lawford
General Counsel and Executive Director
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
(613) 562-4002×25
(613) 447-8125 (cell)
jlawford@piac.ca

Geoffrey White
Counsel to PIAC
(613) 612-1190
gwhite@piac.ca

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