(As originally posted on LinkedIn, July 26 2017)

To Canada 150 and beyond: the role of telecommunication

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By Damian Eleftheriou, EY Canada’s Power & Utilities Leader

Ahead of #Canada150, we’re reflecting on what we’ve accomplished and what awaits us in the next century and a half. We’re asking ourselves the kinds of #BetterQuestions that challenge, inspire and unlock new solutions.

Q: How is your sector embracing innovation and what does it mean for Canada?

A: Telecommunications has been a pioneer and a key enabler for innovation for many years. Many of the services we enjoy today have been underpinned by operators investing heavily in network technologies over the past 20 years.

Wireless is a great example. Investments in 3G and 4G networks have opened up access to the internet and enabled new business and service models to flourish.

In Canada, studies suggest LTE speeds are in the top 20 globally. Network innovations have been fundamental to the growth of services such as mobile banking and online retail, and to the development of the Kitchener-Waterloo technology hub, for example. In turn, high-speeds, greater coverage and accessibility to networks have made Canada a major target for investment in recent years. In fact, EY’s latest Capital Confidence Barometer finds Canada is one of the top five investment targets for companies globally.

Q: What role does entrepreneurship play in your sector?

A: Entrepreneurship has been critical to establishing Canada’s telecommunications sector. Ecosystems are fundamental to entrepreneurship, and Canada is a leader when it comes to creating communities focused on research and design. Canadian telecommunications companies have brought substantial attention and funding to parts of Canada and have helped to create ecosystems that are world-leading.

Q: How can diversity move your sector forward?

A: Diversity is a key driver of getting more and better ideas – and to being able to better qualify those good ideas. Diversity creates value, and there’s opportunity now for Canada to be a global leader in the sector on diversity. Canada itself is so diverse, and as the customer base changes, it is incumbent on us to change with them. The telecommunications sector certainly needs to reflect the people it serves. And when working internationally, diversity helps companies expand abroad and to work with international partners more effectively.

Innovation, entrepreneurship and diversity are vital to Canada’s future success. Those who seize the opportunities that arise from disruption in every sector are poised to lead in the years ahead. What does the future hold for your business and how do you plan to get there?

The views reflected in this article are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the global EY organization or its member firms.