Canada joins growing list of countries taking unlicensed approach to 6 GHz
May 27, 2021 by Toby Youell


Bands6 GHz (2021)
Tags6 GHz, Amazon, Canada, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, OTT players

The Canadian government has announced its decision to make available 1200 MHz of 6 GHz spectrum for unlicensed services, joining the USBrazilSouth Korea, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica and Peru who have adopted the same policy. It is a major accomplishment for advocates of unlicensed spectrum, chief among them being the OTT players Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.

Three of these companies participated in a Joint Filing, alongside vendors such as Cisco, Intel, and Qualcomm, that strongly supported an unlicensed approach to the band. This would “put Canada in a leadership position to deliver tremendous benefits to Canadians”, they wrote. The Canadian regulator, ISED, apparently agreed, saying “Canada will be a world leader in Wi-Fi spectrum, further supporting Canadians in staying connected from home during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”

Part of PolicyTracker’s Spectrum Research Service is to give an overview of  the policy priorities of the major spectrum stakeholders. The OTT players are one such group, supporting unlicensed approaches to 6 GHz so that consumers have better connectivity. Facebook, for example, argues that very low power devices in the band could support high data rate applications including high-performance, wearable, augmented-reality and virtual-reality devices. This perspective conflicts with the GSMA, which worries that such decisions would prevent the mobile industry from accessing 2 GHz of mid-band spectrum.

As more countries around the world wonder what to do with the 6 GHz band, OTT players will be sure to make their voices heard.

Our OTT player profiles are available to Spectrum Research Service subscribers here.