C-Band Public Benefit Study – Backgrounder

Peter Czerny, Industry Canada , Broadband Program – November 2004

What is the C-Band Public Benefit?


In 2001, Industry Canada ran a competition for a satellite orbital position license (118.7°West) that included the requirement for a public benefit as part of the evaluation criteria: capacity being made available at no charge for the use of public institutions in remote regions of Canada . Telesat won the competition (announced 21 June 2001), agreeing to make the equivalent of two C-Band transponders available free of charge for public use.

Industry Canada then managed a process to select recipients for this Public Benefit C-Band capacity, resulting in the awarding of bandwidth on the first transponder in 2002 to K-Net in northern Ontario (15MHz), and the governments of Nunavut (15MHz) and N.W.T. (6MHz). This allocation resulted in a total of usual space of 12.5MHz for Northern Ontario and Nunavut and 5Mhz for N.W.T. The second transponder was allocated through a competitive process that was completed in January 2004, with this resource being divided among three additional regions in the northern parts of Canada (B.C., Manitoba and Quebec ).


Why study the C-band Public Benefit?

Now that two years have passed since the awarding of the C-Band Public Benefit, there is an interesting story to tell. People in communities connected to the K-Net network, and in Nunavut and N.W.T have had access to the C-Band Benefit, but what kind of applications have they been using, and, crucially, what kind of difference has it made to life in these remote regions?

The C-band Public Benefit Study presents a great opportunity to start answering these questions, both to validate this effort to bridge the ‘digital divide' and to set the stage for researching the outcomes of Industry Canada 's National Satellite Initiative and the Broadband Pilot Program.

What are the goals of the study?

This study aims to research and present the C-Band Public Benefit story of:

•  the processes undertaken by the stakeholders to bring the C-Band Public Benefit to life,

•  the activities and outputs so far such as the kinds of equipment installed, applications made available and levels of use experienced, and

•  the kinds of outcomes (or impacts) to date resulting from the use of these ICT applications dependant on the C-Band Public Benefit capacity.

We hope to touch on social, economic and cultural impacts at the individual, community and institutional levels.



Who is involved?

Representatives from the key C-Band Public Benefit stakeholders Industry Canada , K-Net , Nunavut and NWT have been meeting regularly since June 2004 to collaboratively develop this study. Stakeholder representatives have created a core set of questions and identified key resource people in each of the three regions who will be interviewed for the study.

What stage is the study at now?

At this point in time, the lines of inquiry are established centred around the processes, outputs and outcomes of the C-Band Public Benefit. In addition, a core set of interview questions are now formulated and lists of key resource people to be key informants were prepared by representatives of each stakeholder group.


The plan for next steps involves the engagement of locally-known researchers for each of the three regions. Interviews are expected to be completed out by the end of December, with data and preliminary analyses returned to Industry Canada by the end of January 2005.

What are the timelines and expected product?

A final report is due to be produced by the end of March 2005, and will be shared with stakeholders as well as published online. It is hoped that this initial study will serve as a springboard for all interested groups to undertake future examinations of individual, community and institutional outcomes of the C-Band Public Benefit and other connectivity initiatives.


For further information, please contact the project manager:
Peter Czerny
Broadband Program, Industry Canada
Tel: 613-948-5396
E-mail: czerny.peter@ic.gc.ca

Note: we will be posting final versions of key study documents on-line, as they become available at http://smart.knet.ca/satellite