Thursday, December 01, 2011

Update on Canada

Thanks to Catherine Middleton for alerting me that the story on easing foreign ownership restrictions in Canada is premature.

The relevant Minister did indicate that change is underway but will not be unveiled till 2012.

He interestingly is reported to have said "the government expects cellphone companies to offer rural Canadians the same services as those living in cities." Canada faces the same kind of geographic issues as Australia - though less urbanised. Vast thinly populated areas are extremely hard to provide metro like mobile coverage to. The only way such an expectation can be fulfilled is to put "must build" criteria on licences (as indeed the original Australian GSM licences had).

Middleton has provided a neat summary of telecommunications in Canada in the TJA. In it she notes a wireless market structure much like Australia's and that "99% of the population has access to 2G or 3G service
(which covers only 20% of the country's geographic area)" The Australian comparison is something like 98% of the population and 25% of the land mass (when a car kit is included)though real data is hard to obtain. (The landmass figure was provided in the Glasson report at P.125 and may well have increased since.)

The comparison between Australia and Canada is otherwise interesting. We have a well developed infrastructure strategy, and at least an attempt at a Digital Economy strategy.

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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