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Spectrum Auctions Need Measures to Promote Competition and Public Interest Uses

OTTAWA–Auctions of radio spectrum for wireless service have been a mechanism for maximizing their value for the Canadian government, according to a new report released today by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Entitled “The Consumer Interest in Spectrum Auctions,” this examination overviews the development of spectrum allocation policy. The report contends that policy objectives such as promotion of a fully competitive Canadian wireless market are difficult to achieve without utilizing measures such as set asides and caps on spectrum. However, the achievement of these public objectives should take precedence over the final amount raised for government a coffer, the report concludes.

”In short, the highest bidder, who may simply intend to use ownership of the spectrum to thwart competition and innovation, should not always win, noted the author, Michael Janigan, special counsel to PIAC. The government has recognized this and moderated the potential dominance of existing wireless incumbents in the process. The report surmises that the initial pessimism about spectrum auctions from public interest advocates may be dissipated by continued efforts to address market flaws and public opportunities through the auction process.

The full report (English) is available for download at: The Consumer Interest in Spectrum Auctions [pdf file: 0.52mb]

The full report (French) is available for download at: L’intérêt du consommateur dans les enchères du spectre [pdf file: 1.13mb]

PIAC received funding from Industry Canada’s Contributions Program for Non-Profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations to prepare the report. The views expressed in the report are not necessarily those of Industry Canada or the Government of Canada.
For more information please contact:

Michael Janigan
Special Counsel, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
(613) 562-4002 ext. 26
mjanigan@piac.ca
www.piac.ca

John Lawford
Executive Director/General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
(613) 562-4002 ext. 25
lawford@piac.ca
www.piac.ca

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