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January 13, 2022

5G Rollout Requires Expanded Access to Infrastructure, Regulatory Framework Update

  • The future economic and social benefits of Canada’s next-generation broadband networks rely on timely and reasonable access to the “passive infrastructure,” from rooftops to bus stops and rights of way, that supports wireline and wireless telecommunications network facilities, according to a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute.
  • Authors Leslie Milton, Jay Kerr-Wilson and Paul Burbank make seven recommendations to modernize and streamline the regulatory framework for carrier access to passive infrastructure in Canada.
  • Traditionally, passive infrastructure has referred to the poles and conduits owned by hydro and telephone companies that support wireline networks, or in the case of wireless networks, the towers and building rooftops where antennas are located.
  • Although 5G will continue to use this traditional passive infrastructure, it will also require the dense deployment of small antennas or “small cells” on non-traditional supporting infrastructure, including buildings and street furniture, as well as telephone and electric utility poles, with each supporting structure also connected to fibre-optic cables, write Milton, Kerr-Wilson and Burbank.
Leslie Milton

Leslie Milton is a Partner practising primarily in the areas of communications law and competition law at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP.

Jay Kerr-Wilson

Jay Kerr-Wilson is Partner, and co-leader of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications group at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP.

Paul Burbank

Paul Burbank is an Associate in Fasken's Communications Law Practice Group, where he provides advice on Telecommunications and Broadcasting in Canada.