On April 7th 2014, Industry Minister James Moore unveiled the government’s Digital Canada 150 (DC150) initiative, a “comprehensive plan to provide all Canadians with the digital skills and the tools required for the future.” The last year has seen the government take steps to bring Canadians up to speed in the digital economy, from improving access to broadband in rural and low-income areas, to facilitating a number of spectrum auctions in the name of competition.
Yesterday, Moore unveiled version 2.0 of the DC150 with a number of changes and updates. Among them is the expansion of the Computers for Schools to not-for-profit organizations, and the finalizing of plans to auction the remaining pieces of 700Mhz and AWS-3 spectrum unsold in the previous auctions. The latter, happening in August, will make this remaining spectrum cheaply available to companies that want it.
Another key addition is the creation of a research facility, dubbed the Spectrum Analytics Centre. The official description notes that those employed at the Spectrum Analytics Centre will work on “leading-edge spectrum research in support of the Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications Sector’s policy and regulatory roles.” The facility means to allow researchers to perform real-time tests on various spectrum deployments in a variety of scenarios, for “more effective spectrum management and technology demonstration to public and private partners.”
The facility is expected to be completed by 2017, and will be housed at the Communications Research Centre in Ottawa. There are no details as to the allocated budget or the number of employees the government will employ, but Jake Enwright, Minister Moore’s press secretary, told us in an email that “those details will be announced in due course.”