How is the Radio Spectrum Assigned in Canada?

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You may not know it, but the radio spectrum and its radio frequencies are an important part of our everyday modern life. Indeed, without them, you could not use your smartphone to make calls and even access the Internet. Can you imagine living without a smartphone? I certainly cannot see myself living in such a world! However, in order for the radio spectrum to work efficiently, they need to be managed efficiently and Canada chose auctions to perform their spectrum management. We will explain this in further details in this article.

Spectrum Management is Essential Because Radio Frequencies are Not Infinite Resources

Just like the vast majority of resources, radio frequencies are not infinite and a lot of companies want to own them. Given the rarity of the resource, it is important to allocate it well and the Canadian government has handed the responsibility to manage the country’s radio spectrum to Industry Canada.

Like we mentioned earlier, Canada chose the auction format to distribute radio frequencies made available by the government to the companies that win these auctions. Other countries such as the United States and Germany also use the auction format for spectrum management purposes.

The Auction Format Has Other Benefits Besides Spectrum Management

By choosing to go with the auction format to distribute their radio frequencies, the Government of Canada ensures that the companies that are going to bid on them are solid, trustworthy companies and that they are going to make good use of these frequencies.

This format also brings other benefits to Canada. Indeed, the money acquired during auctions is new money that the government can use to finance its program. New radio frequencies allow telecommunication companies that acquire them to expand their services and new players who purchases them bring more competition to the industry, which is always beneficial for customers.

Are There Drawbacks From Using Auctions for Spectrum Management Purposes?

While the auction format is not perfect, it usually is positive for consumers and the Canadian government. However, some will say that it favors big companies over smaller ones because of how expensive spectrum auctions can be. There have been examples in the past of smaller companies acquiring new radio frequencies, but there is no denying that it is not something that every company can buy.

This concludes my article on how the radio spectrum is assigned in Canada. We hope that reading it has helped you to understand how spectrum management works in this country.


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