SeaBoard’s February 2011 paper, Over the Rainbow, made the case that Canada’s 700 MHz radio spectrum should be reserved for the challengers to the established wireless order – the “new entrants” in Canada’s 2008 Wireless Spectrum Auction. This paper will take the more nuanced view that the challenges of economics and geography should be taken into account. Our current report will therefore suggest that in the most rural of Canada’s rural areas, it makes practical economic sense to have a single infrastructure that could be shared by companies that require access to the resource. If regional blocks (Tier 2, in Industry Canada’s parlance) of 700 MHz spectrum were open to all bidders, incumbents and new entrants alike, conditions of licensure should mandate that licensees share the resource such that the infrastructure would be available to all, thereby achieving the goal of bringing both service and more choice to more Canadians.
This paper makes the case that the standard definitions of urban, suburban and rural are not granular enough for policy-planning purposes in the context of wireless services. The paper also shows that "remote" refers not just to "the north north" but includes significant parts of all provinces outside of the Maritimes. Therefore, we suggest the addition of another category,“Remote-Rural,” that captures the least densely populated parts of the country, to assist policy planners in developing market frameworks that can be supported by underlying economic potential.