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8.4 Radiocommunication Act

8.4 Radiocommunication Act

ISED regulates the use of radio spectrum under the Radiocommunication Act. Under the Radiocommunication Act, ISED ensures that radiocommunication in Canada is developed and operated efficiently. Under the Radiocommunication Regulations, companies that are eligible for radio licences, such as Bell Canada and Bell Mobility, must meet the same ownership requirements that apply to companies under the Telecommunications Act.

Companies must have a spectrum licence to operate a wireless system in Canada. While we anticipate that the licences under which we provide wireless services will be renewed upon expiry, there is no assurance that this will happen, or of the terms under which renewal will be granted. ISED can revoke a company’s licence at any time if the licensee does not comply with the licence’s conditions. While we believe that we comply with the conditions of our licences, there is no assurance that ISED will agree. Should there be a disagreement, this could have a negative effect on our business and financial performance.

 

600 MHz spectrum consultation

ISED held a consultation in December 2014 seeking comments on various questions related to repurposing the 600 MHz broadcasting band for mobile use. This spectrum is currently used primarily by OTA TV broadcasters for local TV transmissions. This was the first step of a multistep process on the matter. The two key questions related to whether ISED should repurpose the band to include commercial mobile broadband and whether to participate in a joint spectrum repacking process with the United States (U.S.). In addition, ISED also sought comments regarding the anticipated future spectrum requirements for OTA TV broadcasting, taking into consideration the overall changes in the broadcasting industry.

On August 14, 2015, ISED announced its decision on the results of the consultation. ISED determined it would proceed with the repacking initiative for the 600 MHz band to include commercial mobile use and that it would jointly establish a new digital TV (DTV) allotment plan in collaboration with the U.S. ISED has indicated that it is waiting for the results of the U.S. auction, which began on March 29, 2016, before proceeding with further consultation concerning the final 600 MHz band plan to be adopted and its auction process, as ISED’s auction parameters will be coordinated with the band plan that results from the auction in the U.S. The repurposing of 600 MHz spectrum will have an impact on existing Bell Media TV broadcasting stations, which will need to transition to alternative spectrum. The extent of such impact is not yet known.

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