Government of Canada launches consultation to expand wireless services via satellites

17.06.24 18:25 Uhr

Supplemental mobile coverage from satellites will improve reliability of telecom services

OTTAWA, ON, June 17, 2024 /CNW/ - Canadians need to be able to count on reliable telecom services no matter where they live. High-quality telecom services not only support economic and social activities but are also crucial for emergency services and public safety.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced the launch of a consultation on a new spectrum policy as a first step toward enabling service providers to start using commercial mobile spectrum to expand wireless services via satellites. This would enable satellites to communicate directly with cell phones when they are outside the range of wireless towers. The proposed policy will have many potential benefits for Canadians as the technology continues to advance from its early stages, such as:

  • expanded wireless services particularly in unserved and underserved areas, including rural, remote and Indigenous communities
  • improved access to emergency services and 9-1-1
  • increased reliability and resiliency of telecommunications services
  • more investment in wireless networks, in their evolution and in the expansion of services

This technology represents an exciting opportunity. While it is still in its early stages and subject to limitations, it is expected that this new capability will improve over time with technological development and as more satellites are launched. This new spectrum policy is about laying the foundation so we can maximize the benefits of this technology for Canadians as it becomes available.

The Government of Canada will use all the tools at its disposal to improve the reliability of telecom networks, while working with telecommunications companies and other partners.

Quotes

"Canadians depend on high-quality and reliable wireless services every day, and particularly during emergencies and natural disasters, such as wildfires. That's why our government is enabling service providers to start harnessing the potential of supplemental mobile coverage from satellites as this technology advances to support expanded wireless services where and when they are needed most."
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

"High-quality and reliable cell service is essential no matter where Canadians live, work or travel. Our government is making sure service providers can take full advantage of satellite technology to provide the best possible coverage in rural, remote and Indigenous communities."
– The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Quick facts
  • Due to Canada's vast land mass and widely dispersed population, satellite systems already play a vital role in providing basic telephone, broadcasting and Internet services in rural, remote and northern communities. Recent developments have opened the possibility of using satellites to expand the coverage of commercial mobile services.
  • As of 2022, approximately 99% of Canadians had access to mobile coverage, according to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's (CRTC) Communications Market Reports – Open Data. However, coverage gaps persist in less populated rural and Indigenous communities, along some roads and highways, and in remote areas of the country.
  • Expanding supplemental mobile coverage by satellite will help further the Government of Canada's Telecommunications Reliability Agenda, a set of actions to improve the reliability of Canada's telecom networks.
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