Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
Symbol of the Government of Canada

ARCHIVED -  Telecom Decision CRTC 99-17

Warning This Web page has been archived on the Web.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. Archived Decisions, Notices and Orders (DNOs) remain in effect except to the extent they are amended or reversed by the Commission, a court, or the government. The text of archived information has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Changes to DNOs are published as “dashes” to the original DNO number. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats by contacting us.

Telecom Decision

Ottawa, 29 October 1999
Telecom Decision CRTC 99-17
9-1-1 Service - Rates for Wireless Service Providers, Centrex Customers and Multi-Line Customers/Manual Access to the Automatic Location Identification Database
File No.: 8661-C12-01/98
Summary
The Commission establishes a new rate structure for province-wide 9-1-1 service in order to effect cost recovery on a more equitable basis. The Commission directs BC TEL, Bell Canada, MTS Communications Inc., NBTel Inc., and TELUS Communications Inc. to charge Wireless Service Providers (WSPs) and Centrex customers as follows: (1) WSPs - per working telephone number at the 9-1-1 rate discounted by 50 percent as WSPs do not receive Automatic Location Identification (ALI) functionality; and (2) Centrex customers - per telephone number at the full 9-1-1 rate. The Commission also determines that it is in the public interest to permit manual access to the ALI database with appropriate safeguards.
Introduction
1.In 9-1-1 Service - Rates for Wireless Service Providers, Centrex Customers and Multi-Line Customers/Manual Automatic Location Identification Requests, Telecom Public Notice CRTC 98-25, 22 September 1998, the Commission initiated a proceeding to: (i) re-examine the basis on which province-wide 9-1-1 service rates are established for Wireless Service Providers (WSPs), Centrex customers and multi-line customers in order to determine the most appropriate method of charging these customers (e.g., per telephone number at current rate or a percentage of the rate, or per outgoing access line); and (ii) to consider the appropriateness of permitting manual access to the Automatic Location Identification (ALI) database.
2.BC TEL, Bell Canada (Bell), MTS Communications Inc. (MTS), NBTel Inc. (NBTel) and TELUS Communications Inc. (TCI) (collectively, the companies) were made parties to the proceeding.
3.Comments were received from the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, Bell Mobility, Clearnet Communications Inc., Microcell Telecommunications Inc., and Rogers Cantel Inc. (collectively the WSPs); the Alberta E9-1-1 Advisory Association (AEAA), Emergency Communications for Southwest British Columbia, Greater Vancouver Regional District, Montreal Urban Community (MUC), Ontario 9-1-1 Advisory Board, Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, and Union des Municipalités du Québec (UMQ) (collectively the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAPs); AT&T Canada Long Distance Services company [now AT&T Canada Corp.], W.B. d'Easum, and XYPOINT Corporation.
Method of Charging WSPs
4.WSPs are currently charged the 9-1-1 rate per outgoing access line connected to the companies' Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). The number of wireless telephone numbers is considerably greater than the number of WSP outgoing access lines.
5.WSPs do not receive ALI functionality which provides the PSAP operator with the name, telephone number, service address, and class of service associated with the caller's telephone number because the companies do not store any information for wireless end-customers in the ALI database. Due to the lack of ALI functionality, wireless calls take longer to handle by the PSAPs and it is not possible to locate wireless callers who are unable to communicate with the PSAP to identify the location from which they are calling.
6.The WSPs submitted, among other things, that the current rating mechanism is appropriate and that it would be inappropriate to charge WSPs on a per telephone number basis because wireless subscribers do not receive the same degree of service or functionality as wireline customers.
7.The companies submitted, among other things, that charging WSPs on the same basis as Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs) (i.e. per network access service or per working telephone number) would recover the costs of 9-1-1 service more equitably. The companies submitted that the cost of providing 9-1-1 service to wireline and wireless customers is the same. However, the companies submitted that the rate structure should not be changed until the 9-1-1 system is enhanced to provide the delivery of location or call back number information for wireless calls.
8.The Commission notes that the costs of 9-1-1 service are dependent on the number of 9-1-1 calls, which increase with the number of telephone numbers and extensions equipped for outgoing access to the PSTN. In the Commission's view, charging WSPs per outgoing access line causes wireline customers to bear a disproportionate share of 9-1-1 service costs. This is particularly true in cases where there is a high ratio of wireless telephone numbers per access line. The Commission notes that information provided in this proceeding indicates that for some companies this ratio has increased. The Commission, therefore, considers that it is appropriate that the companies charge WSPs on the basis of the number of wireless working telephone numbers equipped for outgoing access to the PSTN.
9.As WSPs do not currently receive ALI functionality, the Commission is of the view that the WSPs should not be charged the full rate. Based on information provided by the companies, the costs associated with the provision of ALI represent, on average, approximately 50 percent of 9-1-1 service costs. Given this, the Commission considers that the companies should charge WSPs on a per working telephone number basis at 50 percent of the 9-1-1 rate.
Method of Charging Centrex and Multi-line Customers
10.Multi-line customers are currently charged the 9-1-1 rate per access line equipped for outward calling.
11.The companies submitted that it would be impractical to charge multi-line customers by extension since they do not have records from which to develop or maintain this information. They further submitted that there are no accepted standards for accurately estimating the number of extensions behind a PBX system.
12.TCI, MTS, and NBTel charge Centrex customers per access line equipped for outward calling. BC TEL charges Centrex customers per working telephone number and Bell charges per PSTN connection.
13.The companies submitted that Centrex rates are set to be competitive with multi-line service, as the two services can serve as substitutes in the marketplace. In some cases, this has resulted in 9-1-1 rates for Centrex customers that are lower than the 9-1-1 rates applicable to multi-line customers.
14.As noted above, the costs of 9-1-1 service increase with the number of telephone numbers and extensions equipped for outgoing access to the PSTN. The Commission further notes that the companies are able to determine the number of Centrex telephone numbers. Given this, in the Commission's view, it would be appropriate that the companies charge Centrex customers the full rate per working telephone number equipped for outward calling.
15.With regard to multi-line service, the Commission notes that the companies do not maintain records of the number of multi-line extensions and that substantial effort would be required to obtain this information from the numerous customers who own or rent multi-line systems. The Commission is therefore of the view that it would not be appropriate that the companies charge multi-line customers on a per extension basis. Accordingly, the Commission considers that the companies should continue to charge multi-line customers on a per access line basis. The Commission further notes that the ALI databases do not contain information for each multi-line extension.
Revised Rates
16.To ensure that the change in method of charging WSPs and Centrex customers is revenue neutral, the Commission directs the companies to file, by 1 December 1999, proposed revised 9-1-1 service rates. The proposed revised rates should be filed in each subsequent year on 1 December.
17.The 9-1-1 rate should be recalculated by dividing the monthly revenue for the month of September by a new estimate of demand for that month, which would include WSP and Centrex working telephone numbers, in accordance with the formula set out in Appendix A.
18.The Commission directs the WSPs to provide to the companies, on a monthly basis, the number of working wireless telephone numbers equipped for outward calling. Mobile Satellite Service providers are exempt from this requirement by virtue of their large geographic coverage.
Manual Access to the ALI Database
19.As noted, ALI functionality provides the name, telephone number, and service address, whether listed or unlisted, and class of service associated with a 9-1-1 call to the PSAP operator. While the companies' Terms of Service contain provisions with respect to confidential information, the General Tariff Items for 9-1-1 service and the Commission approved standard 9-1-1 agreements between the companies and the municipalities permit the disclosure of confidential customer information on a call-by-call basis solely for the purpose of responding to emergency calls. The General Tariff Items for 9-1-1 service generally provide that the 9-1-1 caller waives the right to privacy to the extent that confidential information in the ALI database is provided to the PSAP.
20.Manual access to the ALI database refers to manual queries of the ALI database for information associated with any telephone number, whether confidential or not. At present, the companies do not permit manual access to the ALI database.
21.The Commission has previously recognized that manual access to the ALI database may be appropriate in certain circumstances. Specifically, in Telecom Order CRTC 98-737, 24 July 1998, the Commission approved an agreement between Maritime Tel & Tel Limited and the province of Nova Scotia permitting manual access to the ALI database where a PSAP is unable to identify the location of a person requiring emergency services because the incoming call originates from: (i) a location other than the location requiring emergency services, (ii) a multi-party line, or (iii) a cellular telephone. The Commission notes that if the 9-1-1 caller in such circumstances is aware of the telephone number at the location of the emergency, manual access to the ALI database could be used to obtain associated address information. The ability to quickly obtain this information in these situations could be critical.
22.The companies submitted, among other things, that manual access to the ALI database creates an unnecessary risk of disclosure of confidential customer information for purposes unrelated to responding to emergency calls. The companies provided examples of misuse of the ALI database which have occurred in the past. The companies also submitted that they would likely incur substantial costs in order to provide manual access capability to the PSAPs.
23.The companies indicated that where a PSAP is unable to acquire sufficient information, a call to the company could result in the timely provision of more current and complete customer information (extracted from various corporate systems).
24.MUC/UMQ indicated that it is satisfied with how the telephone companies are responding to such requests.
25.AEAA submitted that the advent of local competition has made it more difficult to obtain information from the telephone companies.
26.The Commission notes that the ALI databases contain information for the companies' customers, as well as customers of CLECs, independent telephone companies, and payphone providers. Although the companies have a contact person available at all times, a PSAP operator may not have enough information to determine whether to call a company or an alternative provider of service. Moreover, alternative providers may not have a contact person available at all times to provide the required information. The Commission considers that access by the PSAPs to the ALI database by way of manual queries would be the most efficient method of obtaining timely information in an emergency.
27.In response to a Commission interrogatory, the companies stated that, if the Commission were to allow manual access to the ALI database, the municipalities should be required to enter into a contractual relationship which featured the following:
·A narrow definition of the purpose for which such information can be disclosed and under what specific circumstances manual access to the ALI database can be performed (e.g. where the incoming call originates from (i) a location other than the location requiring emergency services, (ii) a wireless phone, or (iii) a multi-party line);
·Provisions requiring that manual access to the ALI database be performed only by persons responsible for answering the initial emergency call;
·Provisions obliging the PSAP operator to record the telephone number associated with the request as well as the date, time and purpose of the request;
·Provisions restricting the use of information obtained through the manual request, to responding to that emergency only;
·Provisions enabling suspension of the data link to the PSAP in the event of a breach; and
·Indemnification of the telephone company in the event of any claim by any third party against the telephone company arising out of any breach of the agreement by the PSAP.
28.MUC/UMQ submitted that, in the event that the Commission were to permit manual access to the ALI database, they would agree to negotiate provisions similar to those suggested by the companies. However, they indicated that a condition should be included stating that the telephone company would indemnify the PSAP in the event of a claim by a third party against a municipality arising out of a breach of the agreement by the company.
29.In the past, the Commission has often underlined the importance it attaches to the protection of confidential customer information. At the same time, the Commission notes that the ability to obtain information quickly can make a critical difference in emergency situations. After careful consideration, the Commission considers that, on balance, it would be in the public interest to permit manual access to the ALI database in certain limited circumstances with appropriate safeguards to address confidentiality concerns. In the Commission's view, the safeguards suggested by the companies are an appropriate way to address concerns that confidential customer information could be disclosed for purposes unrelated to responding to emergency calls. These safeguards should be included in 9-1-1 agreements with municipalities. The Commission also considers that the 9-1-1 agreement should include the following: (1) require the company to indemnify the municipality in the event of a claim arising out of a breach of the agreement by the company; (2) require the company to obtain approval of the Commission prior to suspending the data link to the PSAP in the event of a breach; and (3) require the PSAPs to provide quarterly reports to the companies, which would include records of all requests made manually to access the ALI database.
30.The Commission is of the view that manual access to the ALI database should only be allowed for those municipalities that specifically request it and are willing to accept the attendant safeguards and sanctions.
31.The Commission directs the companies to provide manual access to the ALI database if requested by a municipality in accordance with the conditions set out in paragraphs 27, 29 and 30.
32.The Commission directs the companies to: (i) file for the Commission's information amendments to the standard 9-1-1 Agreement with municipalities reflecting the terms and conditions set out in paragraphs 27, 29 and 30 above; (ii) notify those municipalities subscribing to province-wide 9-1-1 service that they have the right to request manual access to the ALI database; (iii) execute amendments to the 9-1-1 agreements with those municipalities that request such manual access; and (iv) file the quarterly reports received from the PSAPs.
Secretary General
This document is available in alternative format upon request and may also be viewed at the following Internet site:

www.crtc.gc.ca

APPENDIX A
RECALCULATION FORMULA
Rnew = Rev________
Dorig + Dincr
Dorig = SLR + SLB + ML + fcCTXA + WSPA + other
Dincr =(.5WSPB - WSPA) + (CTXB - fcCTXA)
Rnew = new rate
Rev = monthly revenue (1999 province-wide rate x Dorig)
SLR = number of single-line residential access lines
SLB = number of single-line business access lines
ML = number of multi-line outgoing access lines
CTXA = number of Centrex outgoing access lines (for Bell, Centrex PSTN
Connections)
fc = the fraction of the province-wide rate charged to Centrex customers (1/3 for BC TEL; 1/2 for NBTel; 1 for other companies)
CTXB = number of Centrex working telephone numbers
WSPA = number of WSP outgoing access lines
WSPB = number of WSP working telephone numbers