5G (Fifth-Generation Cellular Mobile) technology promises to disrupt the telecommunications industry, producing technological changes that will permanently alter many industries in the same way that the 3G and 4G smartphone revolution did over the past decade. Although revolutionary in its own right, 5G will enable the spread of connected devices and the “Internet of Things” (IoT), presenting legal and regulatory hurdles to which industries will have to respond immediately.
For 5G networks to reach their full potential, traditional tower infrastructure must be augmented by the use of “small cell” antennas. Given the low-power, short-range nature of the antennas, these devices will require dense deployment at a rapid rate using a host of existing infrastructure: traffic and street lights, utility poles, billboards, bus shelters and both publicly and privately owned buildings, just to name a few.
In Canada, wireless carriers and technology vendors are already experiencing difficulty navigating the regulatory process for situating this infrastructure; wireless carriers, for example, need to make separate arrangements with federal regulators, municipalities, provinces, private property owners and other infrastructure-owning entities to build their small cell networks.
Fasken is therefore excited to announce the creation of its 5G Task Force, offering both established clients and emerging start-ups advice that spans the entire 5G ecosystem.
Fasken’s professionals have the demonstrated expertise to coordinate strategies that navigate this complex process. Fasken’s top-tier Technology, Media and Telecommunications practice has provided high-quality service to clients in this industry for decades, and the firm is home to many professionals that specialize in other areas vital to the 5G and IoT revolution, including, among others: privacy and cybersecurity, intellectual property, real estate, municipal regulation, government relations, and national security.
Fasken is uniquely positioned to leverage its excellence in communications law to ensure that clients emerge at the forefront of this revolution. Some services that Fasken offers clients in the 5G space include:
- Spectrum Licensing - advising on Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada’s licensing framework for spectrum, including conditions of license.
- Radio Apparatus Certification - ensuring products with a radio apparatus are properly certified and conform with Government of Canada regulations, specifications and procedures.
- Unlicensed Telecommunications - advising clients on the use of unlicensed spectrum and licence-exempt radiocommunication devices.
- Passive Telecommunications Infrastructure - advising entities, such as utilities providers, on how to leverage passive infrastructure for use as a revenue stream from telecommunications services.
- Privacy and Cybersecurity - risk managing the collection and use of personal information by wireless network operators, as well as from IoT connected devices, including the growth of smart cities and autonomous vehicles.
- Government Relations - coordinating strategies that drive decision making by office holders on policies and programs that are vital to 5G rollout.
- National Security Issues - providing strategic advice on how domestic and foreign clients should approach and deal with Canada’s security agencies.
- Real Estate - reaching commercial agreements related to the siting of wireless infrastructure on private real estate.
- Municipal Regulation - addressing regulatory pushback through local zoning, siting rules, fees or charges, and other measures that serve as a roadblock to 5G deployment.
Fasken is already an established leader in communications law and it is now a leading firm on 5G issues as well. As part of this leadership role, Fasken is a member of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association’s 5G Canada Council and has established relationships with stakeholders and regulators throughout Canada.