Canada opens 6Ghz band for Wi-Fi, tripling spectrum access

The increased spectrum will also allow for affordable broadband in rural Canada

Reuters May 20, 2021
An internet cable is seen at a server room in this picture illustration taken in Warsaw January 24, 2012. PHOTO: REUTERS

The government of Canada will open the 6GHz band of the radio frequency spectrum, tripling the current amount available for Wi-Fi and leading to faster speeds and greater coverage, the country's minister for science and innovation announced on Wednesday.

"High-quality and affordable wireless services have never been more important in the everyday lives of Canadians," Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said.

"This decision will make staying connected easier for Canadians who rely on their Wi-Fi for accessing school, work, and health care from home."

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The increased spectrum will also allow for affordable broadband in rural Canada, the statement said. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government has committed to improving internet access for rural Canada and bringing costs down for Canadians.

The decision harmonizes Canada's spectrum with that of other countries, including the United States, said Mark Goldberg, a longtime industry consultant.

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"It absolutely will help speed up in-home internet, no question, and provide all sorts of new capabilities and services," Goldberg said.

The decision comes ahead of Canada's long-awaited 3500Mhz spectrum auction in June, which will support the country's telecoms companies in expanding their 5G capabilities.

Some 24 companies are eligible to bid, including Bell, Telus Corp, Rogers Communications, and Cogeco. Shaw Communications Inc, which is in talks to be acquired by Rogers, did not apply and is not eligible to bid.