Thank you, Madam Chair, and to all of the witnesses for being here.
At the last committee hearing, I got rather animated with the minister and some of the answers we heard. I'll tell you the reasons why and where I'm going with this vis-à-vis solutions for our current problem.
As a New Democrat, I've always believed that the service is essential for Canadians and is also very much a part of equality. To hear the minister talk about this being part of equality and then people having to wait until 2030 is very frustrating for me, because since I've been elected I've seen the governments collect $20 billion plus from spectrum auctions—most recently, with one being $3.5 billion—and roll out basically only a portion of that at $170 million a year for the next 10 years, with the hope that we actually connect Canadians by 2030.
This pandemic has heightened, I think, the experiences of people and the inconveniences of being returned to social isolation, being disengaged from the community and not having an opportunity to run your business. There is a whole series of different things that are crucially important and that I think could be an advantage for our country.
Here's one of the things that I would like to ask about. Perhaps we can go in reverse order for answers to this question. I believe Xplornet was last, so it would be Xplornet, Telus, Rogers and Cogeco.
If we redeployed our spectrum assets that we've collected, and the current spectrums that are coming up, to be reprioritized to be extensions into connecting Canada, is it possible to do so within about a three-year period, with maybe some cleanup in the fourth year? Again, if we use our spectrum, the assets we have accumulated that the government hasn't spent to date and the future ones, with the directive to connect Canadians, is that a possibility? I'll certainly be looking forward to seeing how we can change things.
Maybe we can start with Xplornet and then go back in reverse order.