Lessons Learned from the Pandemic are Critical to Canada’s Economic Recovery
Ottawa – May 17, 2022 – Policies that encouraged investment in telecommunications networks enabled sustained business and social activity in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic and will be key to Canada’s economic recovery, Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) President and CEO Robert Ghiz said during a keynote address at the International Institute of Communications (IIC) Canada 2022 Annual Conference on Tuesday.
Hosted in Ottawa, the IIC annual event brings together communications sector leaders, policymakers and other stakeholders to reflect on current issues in Canadian and international communications law and policy. Among other topics, this year’s event features sessions dedicated to the regulation of digital platforms, rural broadband, and balancing societal benefits of using data while respecting the privacy of individuals.
In his remarks on the second day of the conference, Mr. Ghiz pointed to the critical role wireless networks played in supporting Canadians throughout the pandemic. Canada’s world-class telecommunications networks were key to supporting Canadian households and businesses, he noted, particularly during the early months of the pandemic as many Canadians shifted to working and shopping from home.
“Faced with a year’s-worth of traffic growth in just a few weeks, Canada’s digital networks rose to the occasion,” said Mr. Ghiz, noting 90% of Canadians said their service provider met or exceeded their COVID response expectations.
Mr. Ghiz said the resiliency of Canada’s digital infrastructure was in large part a result of long-standing government policies that value the importance of facilities-based competition and enabled Canadian carriers to invest in their network facilities at rates that exceeded the investments made by their global peers.
Ongoing private sector investment in the expansion and enhancement of Canada’s digital networks will be critical to Canada’s economic recovery and future prosperity, Mr. Ghiz added. He pointed to estimates that the deployment of 5G networks will require $26 billion in capital investment by 2026, but will also add $40 billion and 250,000 new jobs to the Canadian economy during the same period.
“If we want Canada to continue as a world leader in telecommunications, if we want Canada to be competitive in the digital economy, we must consider why our digital networks performed so well during the pandemic and apply those lessons for the future,” Mr. Ghiz said. “This level of network investment, quality and coverage is only possible in a regulatory environment that encourages sustainable competition and investment.”
For a complete copy of Mr. Ghiz’s remarks, please visit CWTA online here.
CWTA is the authority on wireless issues, developments, and trends in Canada. It represents companies that provide services and products across the wireless sector. CWTA also administers several initiatives on behalf of its members, including corporate social responsibility programs and the national common short codes program.