The New Telecommunications Sector Foreign Investment Regime and Rural Broadband


  • Michael B McNally School of Library and Information Studies University of Alberta
  • Samuel E Trosow Faculty of Law and Faculty of Information and Media Studies University of Weste


Canada's telecommunications sector is in the midst of significant change. New rules on foreign investment and upcoming auctions for licenses for wireless mobile services are aimed at increasing competition; however, these changes are unlikely to produce significant benefit for rural Canadians. An analysis of the new foreign investment regulations reveals that the new approach will likely weaken the government's ability to meet the goals of Canadian telecommunications policy outlined in the Telecommunications Act. Furthermore an examination of the licensed purchase and services provided from the last wireless spectrum auction in 2008 reveals new entrants' clear preference for providing service in urban areas. The paper concludes by positing that if the Government of Canada wishes to ensure that next generation 4G wireless services are available to Canada's rural and remote population, the government must stop its reliance on market forces to develop national broadband and instead create a comprehensive national plan. Key words: spectrum management, rural broadband, foreign investment, 700MHz spectrum auction, Radio System Policy 019