Government will consider a number of criteria for Bruce Telecom sale


 The final sale of Bruce Telecom will come down to a decision from the federal government, expected sometime within the next three months.


Industry Canada developed a framework for transfers and licensing of spectrum (signals sent at different frequencies by telecom operators to create communications) in June 2013 to ensure that spectrum is available where it is needed.


In its report dated June 28, Industry Canada stated, “Access to sufficient spectrum is a precondition to the provision of wireless services. Undue concentration of spectrum among a small number of wireless service providers can be detrimental to competition.”


Under the Radiocommunication Act, the Minister of Industry reviews spectrum licence transfers as part of its mandate to plan the allocation and use of spectrum.


To make its decision on whether the sale will have an impact, Industry Canada will look at the change in spectrum concentration levels that would result from the the sale. Industry Canada will also look at the buyer’s ability, as well as that of current and future competitors, to continue to provide services.


According to its report, Industry Canada will consider these factors: the current licence holdings of the applicants and their affiliates in the licensed area; the overall distribution of licence holdings in the licensed spectrum band and commercial mobile spectrum bands in the licensed area; the current and/or prospective services to be provided and the technologies available using the licensed spectrum band; the availability of alternative spectrum that has similar properties to the licensed spectrum band; the relative utility and substitutability of the licensed spectrum and other commercial mobile spectrum bands in the licensed area.


As well, the report states that Industry Canada will consider the degree to which the applicants and their affiliates have deployed networks and the capacity of those networks; the characteristics of the region, including urban/rural status, population levels and density, or other factors that impact spectrum capacity or congestion; and any other factors relevant to the policy objectives outlined in the framework that may arise from the licence transfer.


Bruce Telecom board chair Holly Robinson told The Independent via email last week that discussions regarding the sale of the telecom were held in-camera and therefore information discussed in those meetings can’t be disclosed.


However, she said, “the Bruce Telecom Board provided a five-year plan to the municipality which would require extensive debt financing in order to provide competitive service and products to our customers.


Ultimately, Bruce Telecom is the municipality’s asset and the council determined they were not willing to take on that risk.”