Canada's NDP

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September 18th, 2013

Statement from Chris Charlton on spectrum auction

OTTAWA –The deadline has now passed for deposits from companies wishing to participate in the upcoming 700MHz spectrum auction. The bidders will not be public for another week, but already we know that consumers will pay the price for the Conservatives’ flawed wireless policies.

With weak build-out rules and insufficient support for new entrants, the Conservatives are poised to squander an opportunity to ensure a scarce public resource is used to extend better service at lower prices to all Canadians regardless of where they live.

The Conservatives had hoped that Verizon would bail them out of the mess they have created. But the auction will likely further concentration of wireless spectrum ownership. So far, Minister Moore has dodged questions and refused NDP calls to study the issue at the House of Commons Industry Committee.

New Democrats continue to demand concrete steps to improve mandatory roaming and tower sharing provisions so that smaller Canadian players can compete and bring down prices. The government must maintain set-asides and enforce a use-it-or-lose-it approach to prevent spectrum speculation. Service gaps for Canadians in smaller communities and rural areas must also be fixed.

Canadians deserve access to the most reliable networks and highest speeds at affordable prices.