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March 9, 2021 – Ottawa must dramatically reduce the regulatory burden on the telecommunications industry to accelerate 5G deployment, says a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute.  

At their recent meetings, the Telecommunications Working Group discussed the jurisdictional hurdles facing Canada’s telecommunications sector and how to best accelerate rural and remote connectivity.

Telecommunications providers face obstacles in gaining access rights to infrastructure for installing telecommunications facilities. These barriers, alongside difficulty navigating government incentive programs for expanded connectivity, could stall the federal government’s aim of extending high-speed internet coverage to 98 percent of households by 2026.

The Working Group agrees governments must provide clarity on the boundaries of federal and provincial jurisdiction – particularly in relation to fees imposed by municipalities and electric utilities, permitting, and access to infrastructure for installing telecommunications facilities.

The group recommends:

  • Ottawa exercise its exclusive constitutional authority for telecommunications infrastructure and address tensions with municipalities and provincially regulated utilities over access rights;
  • Federal and provincial governments streamline incentive programs, aiming for a single-window approach, to accelerate rural and remote connectivity; and
  • The federal government present a “5G roadmap” to provide certainty for facilities-based providers and downstream users/developers to accelerate homegrown innovation in technology and applications that leverage 5G connectivity.

The group of experts in both the private sector and academia is co-chaired by Len Waverman, Dean of DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University; and Steve Orsini, Adjunct Professor, Public Policy & Administration, Carleton University and former Ontario Secretary of Cabinet.

For more information, please contact: Benjamin Dachis, Director of Public Affairs, C.D. Howe Institute; or Nancy Schlomer, Communications Officer, C.D. Howe Institute, email: nschlomer@cdhowe.org

The C.D. Howe Institute is an independent not-for-profit research institute whose mission is to raise living standards by fostering economically sound public policies. Widely considered to be Canada's most influential think tank, the Institute is a trusted source of essential policy intelligence, distinguished by research that is nonpartisan, evidence-based and subject to definitive expert review.

Full Communiqué: CWGR_2021_0309.pdf