A New Name for a New Era in Telecommunications in Canada

We recently announced the rebranding of our association, including changing our name from the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association to the Canadian Telecommunications Association. In this post, we explore how the evolution of the telecommunications industry informed our decision to rebrand.

May 3 2023

Telecommunications has traditionally been thought of as two distinct services: wireless and wireline. Wireless telecommunications refer to services that are provided through wireless connections, such as mobile phones. Wireline, on the other hand, refers to services that are provided through wired connections, such as fibre and cable internet, as well as landline phones. In recent years we have seen a confluence of these services and the way they are used, driven in large part by the increasing demand for high-speed internet access.

With the rise of streaming video and other bandwidth-intensive applications, consumers are demanding faster and more reliable internet connections. To meet this demand, service providers are investing billions of dollars to expand and upgrade their access networks (the connections to customer homes and businesses), and their transport networks (the connections between all the nodes in their network infrastructure and the wireline, wireless and backbone IP networks that control the flow of data between the nodes). These upgrades provide faster speeds and greater capacity for both wired and wireless internet connections, creating a more seamless experience for customers.

The popularity and capability of mobile devices has also fueled the intersection of wired and wireless telecommunications. While mobile phones were initially used only for phone calls, people are now using smartphones and other mobile devices for everyday tasks, such as banking, shopping, looking up information, and entertainment. Telecommunications providers have responded by enabling more services that can be accessed on-the-go, including video-streaming, cloud storage, and other applications that were traditionally only possible through higher-speed wired connections. The deployment of 5G technology is further increasing the capabilities of wireless communications, making it suitable for use in mission critical use cases that require ultra-reliable and ultra low latency service.

Telecommunications service providers are also using wireless technology to extend the reach of their wireline networks. For example, some providers are providing wireless “last mile” connectivity to homes and businesses in areas where it is especially difficult to install a wired connection. This allows providers to offer high-speed internet access to more Canadians, helping to close the urban/rural digital divide.

New technologies and consumer demands have blurred the lines between the capabilities and use of wired and wireless telecommunications. Similarly, many of the policy priorities affecting wired and wireless telecommunications now overlap. With connectivity via wireless and wireline being equally important to Canadians, it became clear that we should expand our focus beyond wireless, to promote the importance of both wireless and wireline telecommunications to Canada’s economic growth and social development, and to advocate for policies that foster innovation, investment, and positive outcomes for consumers.

As has always been the case, our association continues to do more than advocate on behalf of the industry. We remain dedicated to building a better future for Canadians through both wireline and wireless connectivity. One way of doing so is to facilitate industry initiatives that make a difference in the lives of Canadians. These include the Mobile Giving Foundation Canada, STAC, and wirelessaccesibility.ca.

Canada’s future depends on connectivity, and we are excited about this new chapter in our association’s history.