ARCHIVED -  Telecom Public Notice CRTC 96-36

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Telecom Public Notice

Ottawa, 6 December 1996
Telecom Public Notice CRTC 96-36
In Regulation of Broadcasting Distribution Undertakings that Provide Non-programming Services, Telecom Decision CRTC 96-1, 30 January 1996 (Decision 96-1), the Commission found that companies which are broadcasting distribution undertakings under the Broadcasting Act may also in certain circumstances be Canadian carriers within the meaning of the Telecommunications Act (the Act) when they distribute non-programming services. The Commission used the term "non-programming services" to refer to telecommunications services that are provided by a broadcasting distribution undertaking on its distribution network. Such carriers were referred to in that Decision as "broadcast carriers". This term, which is not defined in either Act, is used for convenience only.
In Decision 96-1, the Commission grouped non-programming services into two categories: "full channel TV services", and "other non-programming services". Both categories of non-programming services are telecommunications services within the meaning of the Act. "Full channel TV services" are those services distributed using a full analog TV channel and displayed on the television screen, including services consisting predominantly of alphanumeric text. Such services are not subject to the present proceeding as the Commission set out its preliminary views with respect to their regulation in Decision 96-1.
"Other non-programming services" were defined in Decision 96-1 to be non-programming services that are not full channel TV services, and to include services providing access to the carriage facilities needed to offer the services. In that Decision, the Commission directed broadcast carriers currently providing such services to identify themselves, and the services offered, to the Commission.
Certain of the companies responding indicated that they offer cable modem access services providing connections to the Internet. Some companies also offer other services, including local area networking services. The notifications received by the Commission pursuant to its direction in Decision 96-1 will form part of the record of this proceeding. Since the release of Decision 96-1, the Commission has approved, on an interim basis, various tariff notices filed by companies which also hold licences under the Broadcasting Act.
The Commission has also recently approved a market trial of an Interactive PC telecommunications service offered by NBTel using a hybrid fibre coax distribution network separate from its public switched telephone network. NBTel stated in its application that its ultimate goal is a broadband distribution network capable of delivering telephony, broadcast and interactive multimedia services.
On 29 January 1996, Bell Canada (Bell) applied under the Broadcasting Act for licences to conduct market trials of various services. On 3 September 1996, TELUS Multimedia, a division of TELUS Cable Holdings Inc.(TELUS Multimedia) also applied under the Broadcasting Act for licences to conduct trials under that Act. Both companies propose to offer high speed Internet access services using their broadcasting distribution networks as part of their trials. The Commission has determined that the Broadcasting Act and Telecommunications Act aspects of these proposals will be considered at the same oral hearing. Procedures associated with that hearing are set out in Notice of Public Hearing pursuant to the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Acts: Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 1996-14, Telecom Public Notice CRTC 96-37, 6 December 1996.
To the extent that the same or similar issues may arise in the proceeding initiated by this Public Notice as well as in the context of the oral hearing to consider the applications respecting market trials made by Bell and TELUS Multimedia, the Commission notes its intention to confine its determinations in the hearing initiated to consider the market trial applications to these market trials. Issues relating generally to the framework for the provision of telecommunications services offered by broadcast carriers on their broadcasting distribution networks will be examined in this proceeding.
Insofar as the issues described below are currently being considered in other proceedings initiated by the Commission to reduce barriers to entry in local telecommunications services, including local public switched voice services, these issues as they relate to such local services are not under consideration in the proceeding initiated by this Public Notice.
The Commission invites comments on issues relating to the regulation of the telecommunications services under consideration in this proceeding, including Internet access services. In particular, parties are asked to address the issues set out below:
1. a) The appropriate definition of the services or classes of services in respect of which it may be appropriate to forbear from regulation pursuant to section 34 of the Act.
b) Whether broadcast carriers have the ability to exercise market power with respect to those services or classes of services.
c) Whether it would be appropriate to forbear from the regulation of those services or classes of services when they are offered by broadcast carriers.
2. a) If forbearance is not appropriate for a service or class of service, the basis on which rates and other terms of the service offering should be approved.
b) If forbearance would be appropriate for a service or class of service, which of the powers and duties enumerated in section 34 of the Act should the Commission refrain from exercising or performing; and, for each power or duty, whether the Commission should refrain in whole or in part, conditionally or unconditionally.
3. Safeguards which may be appropriate to address concerns respecting potential cross-subsidy between broadcast carriers' telecommunications service offerings and other services, and other price or non-price competitive safeguards which may be appropriate.
4. The appropriate approach with respect to access by third party service providers to broadcast carriers' telecommunications facilities.
5. The appropriate approach to interconnection between the telecommunications facilities of broadcast carriers and those of other facilities based providers, including points of interconnection and other technical aspects.
6. a) In the situation where a Canadian carrier that holds a licence under the Broadcasting Act bundles or packages a telecommunications service offering with a broadcasting service, or uses a broadcasting service in conjunction with its telecommunications service, whether such activities could be examined pursuant to the Telecommunications Act (and, in particular to subsection 27(2) of that Act), and whether conditions could be imposed on such activities further to that Act.
b) Assuming conditions could be imposed on such activities further to the Act, the nature of the conditions, if any, that would be appropriate.
1. Persons wishing to participate in this proceeding must notify the Commission of their intention to do so by writing to Mr. Allan J. Darling, Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2 (fax: 819-953-0795) by 27 December 1996. The Commission will issue a complete list of parties and their mailing addresses.
2. All parties may file comments with the Commission, serving copies on all other parties, by 4 February 1997.
3. All parties may file comments in reply with the Commission, serving copies on all other parties, by 6 March 1997.
4. In addition to hard copy filings, parties are encouraged to file with the Commission electronic versions of their submissions in accordance with the Commission's Interim Telecom Guidelines for the Handling of Machine-Readable Files, dated 30 November 1995. The Commission's Internet eMail address for electronically filed documents is Electronically filed documents can be accessed at the Commission's Internet site at
5. Where a document is to be filed or served by a specific date, the document must be actually received, not merely mailed, by that date.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General
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