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The Canadian Spectrum Summit

Our wired world is increasingly wireless. Canadians have embraced digital devices such as smart phones and tablets, streaming data wherever they choose, putting increasing demands on our wireless infrastructure. Radio spectrum is the necessary foundation for all mobile communication.

In 2014, 84 MHz of valuable 700 MHz spectrum was assigned by Industry Canada via auction. This was Canada’s “digital dividend”, the spectrum vacated after the national transition to digital over-the-air television. Similar auctions have been held around the world with varying degrees of success and great repercussions for the future of wireless communications. The radio spectrum is a public resource, the future uses for which have major commercial and public implications.

The Canadian Spectrum Summit at Ryerson University in Toronto explored this critical moment in the development of Canada’s digital infrastructure by gathering Canadian and international experts to discuss the Canadian 700 MHz auction, and the future of spectrum policy.

Ryerson University
Toronto, Canada
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Summit Hashtag: #CDNspectrum

Summit programme available here [PDF].

A video archive of the Summit can be found here.

A list of Registered Attendees can be found here [PDF].


Canadian Spectrum Summit Agenda


Dr. Gregory Taylor, Spectrum Summit Co-Chair, Ryerson University

Opening Address

Bernard Lord, President, Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association

Session One – “Canadian” Spectrum Policy

Michael Connolly (MIDELCON Spectrum Consulting) [Presentation Slides – PDF]
Rita Trichur (The Globe & Mail)
Stuart Jack and Geoff White (Nordicity) [Presentation Slides – PDF]
Mike Kedar (Mobilexchange Ltd. & Mobilexchange Spectrum Inc.)

Guiding Questions

  1. What, if anything, is unique to Canadian spectrum management?
  2. What key lessons have been learned concerning the Canadian license assignment process since the Department of Communications first issued its 1982 Cellular Mobile Radio Policy and Call for Licence Applications?
  3. Why should the 700 MHz auction matter to the average Canadian citizen?


Session Two – 700 MHz Auction: The Digital Dividend in Canada & Abroad

John Lawford (Executive Director & General Counsel, Public Interest Advocacy Centre)
Wolter Lemstra and Peter Anker (Delft University, the Netherlands) [Presentation Slides – PDF]
Martyn Roetter (Independent Consultant) [Presentation Slides – PDF]
Adrian Foster (McLean Foster & Co) [Presentation Slides – PDF]

Guiding Questions

  1. What criteria should be used to judge whether the Canadian 700 MHz auction is a success or failure?
  2. What are the warning signs Canada should heed from other spectrum auctions held around the world?
  3. Would the further lifting of foreign ownership rules guarantee greater competition in the Canadian wireless sector and lower prices for the Canadian consumer?


Session Three – Beyond the Auction: The Future of Spectrum Management

Michael Marcus (Virginia Tech) [Presentation Slides – PDF]
Prabir Neogi (formerly Industry Canada; Visiting Fellow, Canada-India Centre of Excellence, Carleton University) [Presentation Slides – PDF]
Phillipa Marks (Plum Consulting UK) [Presentation Slides – PDF]
William Melody (Center for Communication, Media and IT, CMI, Aalborg University Copenhagen)

Guiding Questions

  1. Does the auctioning of exclusive licenses limit our ability to explore and develop future wireless technologies?
  2. Spectrum scarcity: fact or fiction?
  3. Are the days of over-the-air broadcasting numbered?