The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. The lack of competition in Canada’s satellite carrier market became painfully clear following Industry Canada’s call for applications to launch a satellite in the 107.3 degrees West orbital slot two months ago. Of the two applications filed, not one came from a Canadian company. Not even the country’s near monopoly facilities-based provider, Telesat Canada, decided to partake. We couldn’t even count on noted "BCE buster" Richard Stursberg to get involved. So the department has to pick a winner from either MD-based Hughes Networks Systems and Pegasus Communications of Germantown PA. But why wasn’t there at least one Canadian applicant? There can be little doubt that current market conditions played a role in the absence of Canadian applicants. While Telesat has the resources, expertise and experience to undertake such an effort, it already has significant interests in Ka-band spectrum. Competition from Canadian-owned companies in this arena was increased slightly late last year when the department licensed Bell ExpressVu and Star Choice Communications to launch their own satellites (RoW, Nov. 27/00). However, the slot currently up for grabs was previously licensed to Star Choice, which decided to give it back (RoW, Oct. 15/01). Its reasons were that the $500 million satellite undertaking was just a little bit too much to swallow. If Shaw-owned Star Choice, a relatively well-financed company, couldn’t handle the costs involved with operating the satellite, then how could any small or upstart operation be expected to get the financing to undertake such a grandiose operation. So while the lack of competition can be partially attributed to present market conditions, Canada’s current regulatory environment has also stunted growth of competition in this area. The only answer, according to some industry players and observers, would be to lessen or even scrap all together current restrictions on foreign ownership to open the Canadian market up to more investment for such a capital-intensive industry. Now one can only wonder if there were more capital available, would there have been a Canadian applicant?