Canadian consumers have come to rely on the internet for a wider range of services than ever in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. The crisis has fast-forwarded digital adoption in Canada, changing how Canadians work, entertain themselves, study and shop.
The Canadian government has aimed to increase consumer access to e-commerce for years, but the pandemic has increased pressure on the strategy and forced them to take more action. The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has been offering grants through 2020 to projects that will improve access for internet users across the country, enabling more Canadians to get connected.
5G began rolling out in Canada at the beginning of 2020, but the country is still in the very early states of 5G capacity, and faces challenges such as the limited economies of scale created by low population density outside major urban areas. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had planned to auction off the extremely high-frequency 3,500MHz spectrum, which has been adopted globally for 5G technologies, in early 2021, but this has been pushed back for six months as a result of the pandemic.
Canada has a healthy competitive environment in telecoms that will drive the expansion of 5G in Canada. Rogers, Bell Canada and Telus have all been rolling out the network in 2020, with Rogers expanding its 5G network to 130 towns and cities across Canada by October 2020.
Rogers Communications Inc. appears to the most dynamic of the country’s telecoms operators, and in September 2020 confirmed its agreement with Altice USA to purchase all of the Canadian assets of Cogeco Inc.
From 2022, Canada plans to impose a tax on corporations providing digital services. These measures will stay in place until major nations can roll out a coordinated approach on taxation.
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