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Spectrum Announcements Do Not Address Real Problem

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OTTAWA – Canadian cellphone customers are unlikely to see any real benefit from today’s announcement by Minister of Industry Christian Paradis, said consumer rights group the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC). Despite claims that the announcement would “ensur[e] at least four providers in every region can acquire spectrum in the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction” there have been no substantive changes to the upcoming auction rules to ensure this result.

“It is unfortunate that the federal government has in fact not learned its lesson from the last spectrum auction,” said John Lawford, Co-Counsel for PIAC. “New wireless players can only bring down prices for consumers if they can have a viable national network to take on Rogers, Bell and TELUS. That takes adequate spectrum. These announcements avoid the real problem,” he added.

PIAC also noted that the announcement of a further short consultation on transfer of wireless spectrum between wireless carriers appeared designed to avoid the problem faced by Rogers Communications Inc.’s announced option to buy Shaw Communications Inc.’s AWS spectrum from the previous spectrum auction. “That’s just bolting the door long after the horse has left the barn,” said Lawford.

PIAC and several consumer and public interest groups had recently written to the Minister on the issue of the Rogers-Shaw spectrum deal, expressing the view that it was contrary to both the letter and the spirit of Industry Canada’s stated spectrum auction policy.

The full text of Letter to the Minister is found here:

document PDF
For more information:

John Lawford
Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
ONE Nicholas Street, Suite 1204
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 7B7
(613) 562-4002×25
(613) 562-0007 (Fax)
jlawford@piac.ca
http://www.piac.ca

Janet Lo
Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
ONE Nicholas Street, Suite 1204
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 7B7
(613) 562-4002×24
(613) 562-0007 (Fax)
jlo@piac.ca
http://www.piac.ca

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