The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. The business case for public networks using high-capacity wireless bandwidth is once again in question after WNI Networks unloaded a small portion of its 24 GHz A-band Edmonton licence to a large Alberta-based oil producer. Syncrude Canada Ltd., which took control of a tiny portion of the licence covering an area north of Edmonton, can only use the spectrum for internal purposes as a condition of its licence (see article in this issue). It has yet to announce plans for the spectrum, but will most likely build a private radio network linking all of its disparate locations. Under the Wispra Networks banner, WNI purchased that licence along with five others in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal for $74 million. The Toronto licence alone cost a whopping $35 million. Common wisdom and hype at the time was that emerging technologies operating in this band and others would spur wireless network deployment across the nation, replicating the vast network of towers that brought TV into every Canadian home. The truth is that equipment was, and still is, far too expensive for any competitive provider to get a reasonable return on investment. Just a couple of years ago, equipment vendors were touting the benefits of the technology. They were also announcing scores of equipment supply agreements with MaxLink Communications, Stream Intelligent Networks, Norigen Communications and others. Those providers are no longer on the competitive map. All three fell victim to creditors’ demands for return on investment. The surviving auction winners in Canada have yet to announce publicly any plans for using this spectrum. WNI has already applied to Industry Canada for one delay in implementing service. The company now has until July 1, 2005 to demonstrate spectrum usage. Whether WNI will be able to show the department that it’s making good and appropriate use of the spectrum is up in the air. However, as Syncrude’s purchase seems to demonstrate, the only business case left for this spectrum may be for non-commercial use, such as the implementation of private radio networks.