OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 28, 2012) - In this day and age, access to the Internet is not a luxury; it's a necessity. Access to the Internet opens up new opportunities, especially in rural and remote communities. In order for every Canadian to reap the benefits of the digital economy, we need a reliable digital infrastructure. That is why we are deploying more spectrum for mobile broadband services and ensuring greater choice for consumers with new entrant telecommunications companies.
"Canadians lead the world in Internet use, but there remains a gap between rural and urban Canadians in terms of access to leading-edge broadband," said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry. "This is unacceptable and our government is taking steps to ensure rural Canadians have the same reliable access as urban Canadians."
The Harper Government is making additional spectrum available to allow telecom companies to bring the latest 4G LTE mobile networks to Canadian consumers and businesses, including those in rural areas. This will result in improved connectivity for consumers, increased business productivity and enhanced safety for Canadians.
"Our government is ensuring that Canadians can access essential online services like online banking and e-health at a competitive price," said Kelly Block, Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar. "Leaving 8,000 rural Canadians without reliable access to the Internet is unacceptable. That's why we are giving SaskTel the additional time they need to upgrade their systems and provide a leading-edge service to Saskatchewanians."
In 2006, licensees were given a five-year transition period to reconfigure their networks and find appropriate solutions for their customers. In March of 2011, Industry Canada provided SaskTel with an extension through to December 31, 2012, in order to ensure continued service. In September 2012, SaskTel requested an additional extension, which Industry Canada has provided, until March 31, 2014. The Harper Government plans to hold the 700 MHz auction next year, to be followed by auction of the 2500 MHz spectrum within a year.