Canada’s first pre-commercial 5G wireless testbed now up and running

July 5, 2019 – Canada’s first pre-commercial 5G wireless testbed is now up and running, and is expected to help create the backbone of Canada’s digital economy infrastructure, and draw interest from small- and medium-sized companies (SME) to develop and test new products and services.

Earlier this week, Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec’s Minister of Economy and Innovation, received a progress update on the ‘Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Quebec and Ontario for Research and Innovation’, known as ENCQOR 5G.

ENCQOR 5G includes the first pre-commercial fifth-generation wireless network for open innovation in Canada housed at five hub locations in Ontario: Ottawa, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Quebec – (Montreal and Quebec City). The update hails the start of business collaboration in key areas such as transportation including connected and autonomous vehicles, remote healthcare, virtual & augmented reality, smart cities, fintech, industry 4.0, energy, cybersecurity and the Internet of Things (IoT).

“Technology is changing the way we live, work and do business — building our digital infrastructure is key to supporting an innovation economy and the next generation of jobs for Ontarians,” said Minister Fedeli. “Through this partnership, we are leveraging Ontario’s strengths in information and communications technologies and paving the way for future innovation and growth across sectors. 5G access shows Ontario is open for business.”

“Thanks to ENCQOR, to date, nearly 150 Quebec companies and organizations are carrying out or planning tests at the Montréal and Québec innovation sites to prepare for receiving 5G technology and to measure its benefits for their products and services,” said Germain Lamonde, Chairman of the Board of Innovation ENCQOR. “These facilities offer high connectivity, high capacity, low latency and all the promises of the 5G revolution. Many entrepreneurs, employees and managers of SMEs are now aware of these new capacities and can lean on them to innovate and become leaders of this revolution.  And we are very proud of it.”

ENCQOR 5G brings together SMEs, industry, government, researchers and academia in both Quebec and Ontario to collaborate on the commercialization of disruptive products, processes, and services, aimed at providing a first-to-market advantage and to improve the ability of SMEs to scale.

“I am excited at the progress we are seeing through this innovative collaboration positioning Canada as a leader in development of 5G technologies.” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “From enabling doctors to perform surgeries-at-a-distance and unclogging our congested streets through AI-enhanced city planning, 5G technology will change the way we live, work and engage with one another. To prepare for the future, we must be bold, visionary and decisive.”

ENCQOR 5G includes five digital technology leaders (Ericsson, Ciena Canada Inc., Thales Canada Inc., IBM Canada, and CGI) as well as provincial coordinators INNOVATION ENCQOR, Prompt and CEFRIO in Quebec, and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) in Ontario. The five-year ENCQOR 5G project is made possible in part by funding from the Canadian government and the provincial governments of Quebec and Ontario and is expected to create 4,000 jobs including 1,800 specialized 5G jobs.

Applications are now being accepted in both provinces for entrepreneurs to submit their project proposals to help accelerate the development and adoption of digital technologies.

Image credit: Pixabay