Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today.
Last year our government launched Digital Canada 150, a plan to guide our country's digital future.
It set out a vision of what Canada can achieve by the time we celebrate our 150th anniversary in 2017.
The cornerstone of that plan is to connect Canadians.
But to connect Canadians, our wireless companies require spectrum.
Spectrum is what allows our wireless devices to be wireless.
It is the invisible infrastructure that Canadian families and consumers rely on, and on which wireless information travels.
Spectrum is a vital public resource.
And, indeed, our government has released more wireless spectrum than any other previous government—the most in Canada's history.
We have done this because the demand for wireless services continues to increase. The Government of Canada understands that and, because of our actions, we are staying ahead of the curve.
This is good news for Canadian consumers and Canadian families.
Canadians have been clear that they want more choice, lower prices and better service in Canada's wireless sector.
That's why last year we capped roaming rates and gave local residents a say about the construction of new cell towers in their communities.
Our government's 700 MHz spectrum auction was the most successful and lucrative auction of spectrum in Canada's history, generating $5.27 billion in revenue for taxpayers.
Last year, our government unveiled the details of two auctions that will deliver more high-quality wireless spectrum to consumers.
Today I am pleased to announce the results of the AWS-3 wireless spectrum auction.
AWS-3 spectrum delivers fast, reliable service on the latest smartphones, tablets and mobile devices that Canadians rely on.
Just like our previous auctions, the rules were designed to put the interests of Canadian consumers first.
This auction included a set-aside for new wireless competitors. Why?
Because the only way to provide Canadians with more choice is to ensure that the companies that deliver that choice have access to this essential wireless infrastructure.
In 2006, 98 percent of spectrum was held by Canada's largest wireless companies.
By this summer, we expect new competitors to hold approximately 25 percent of total wireless spectrum.
The result of this auction was a win for Canadians.
New competitors have secured valuable spectrum to compete.
And, this auction yielded an impressive return for Canadian taxpayers.
The total revenue generated from this auction is $2.11 billion.
Here are the results:
- WIND acquired spectrum in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario – they now have 180 percent more spectrum where they provide services;
- Eastlink acquired spectrum in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Northern Ontario – they now have 77 percent more spectrum;
- Videotron acquired spectrum in Quebec and Eastern Ontario – they now have 65 percent more spectrum as a result of this auction;
- TELUS acquired spectrum in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec – they now have 16 percent more spectrum;
- And finally, Bell acquired spectrum in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Northern Quebec, Ontario, Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon – they now have 4 percent more spectrum.
What does this mean for Canadians?
It means all the winning bidders now have more spectrum to deliver next-generation services to Canadians.
And, to improve the services they offer to Canadians, new competitors, on average, have increased their spectrum holdings by 107 percent – this is huge for competition.
Next month, our government will be auctioning more spectrum in the 2500 MHz band.
Taken together, these auctions tell a story.
To be able to compete and provide choice to Canadians, spectrum is essential. It is vital.
As I said earlier, the AWS-3 spectrum auction was a win for Canadian families and consumers.
And its success is not a coincidence.
The auction was a success because the rules were designed to put the interests of Canadian consumers front and centre.
Our government has one goal: to take deliberate, concrete steps to create more choice, lower prices and better wireless service for Canadians and their families.
We recognize that Canadians work hard for their money and our government will continue to support policies that put more money back in their pockets.
With today's results, it's clear we have been making the right decisions for Canadian families and consumers.
I'm happy now to take your questions. Thank you.