Advanced Television

Canada to auction off C-band spectrum

May 26, 2021

By Chris Forrester

Canada’s government intends to hold an auction for certain C-band frequencies. First up will be the sale of frequencies in the 3500 MHz band which will start next month on June 15th. The spectrum will be repurposed to suit 5G services.

The decision scuppers Telesat’s hope to handle the auction themselves. A second stage auction will take place in early 2023 when bandwidth within the 3800 MHz band will be auctioned.

A third element will see the country’s satellite services limited to 4000-4200 MHz portion of the C-band after 2025 “with certain exceptions”.

The announcement was made by Canada’s Innovation, Science & Economic Development ministry.

“Our government is committed to making the right spectrum available to support the highest quality wireless services and the rollout of 5G technologies. We know these services will drive innovative new technologies, from clean energy to telemedicine, while also creating good jobs and new products for Canadians living in rural and remote areas,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

“The decision will also help connect more Canadians to high-speed Internet. With large amounts of spectrum maintained for satellite services in remote areas and the amount of spectrum available to support wireless broadband services increased from 50 MHz to 80 MHz, Canadians living in rural areas will have better access to high-speed networks,” said the Canadian statement.

The move allows existing fixed satellite services providers to continue using the whole 500 MHz in more remote areas that rely on satellite for critical services, including broadband connectivity, and requires protection for existing services from future 5G services in these areas.

Not mentioned yet is the degree of compensation that Canada will pay to satellite operators, or when it might be paid.

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