ARCHIVED -  Telecom Order CRTC 97-1921

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Telecom Order

Ottawa, 23 December 1997
Telecom Order CRTC 97-1921
On 3 December 1997, TELUS Communications Inc. filed an application for approval of tariff revisions to Special Assembly Tariff Item E-498, for the provision of an initial DS-1 access channel from a specific customer location located outside the Base Rate Area served by the Calgary Central Office.
In Regulatory Framework for Abitibi-Price Inc. and Cochrane Public Utilities Commission, Telecom Public Notice CRTC 97-6, 19 February 1997 (PN 97-6), the Commission expressed the preliminary view that the regulatory framework established in Regulatory Framework for the Independent Telephone Companies in Quebec and Ontario (Except Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, Québec-Téléphone and Télébec ltée), Telecom Decision CRTC 96-6, 7 August 1996 (Decision 96-6) could apply to Abitibi-Price Inc. (now Abitibi-Consolidated) and Cochrane Public Utilities Commission (Cochrane).
File No.: 8085-RP0001/97
1. In expressing its preliminary view, the Commission contemplated $2.00 increases in the monthly rates for local access lines effective 1 January in each of the years 1998 and 1999 for Abitibi-Consolidated and Cochrane. The Commission also contemplated that Abitibi-Consolidated and Cochrane would adopt the Terms of Service (Terms) approved for the Ontario independent telephone companies, allowing for some minor variations to respond to the companies' respective operating requirements and unique service characteristics.
2. In Cochrane's territory some subscribers opposed the proposed local rate increases on the basis that they would not receive any benefit such as improved services or extended calling areas in exchange for the increased rates while other subscribers were concerned that local access rates were to be increased in order to subsidize toll providers.
3. The Commission is of the view that local services are currently priced below cost and that prices should move towards cost as part of the regulatory framework established for these companies.
4. The Commission notes that there has been no pressure to increase the local rates of Abitibi-Consolidated and Cochrane because their local service revenue shortfalls have been compensated through a negotiated revenue settlement with their toll carrier, namely the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (the telecommunications operating division of which is now known as O.N. Tel).
5. The Commission also notes that with the introduction of toll competition in Bell Canada's (Bell) operating territory, whose toll rates are matched by O.N. Tel as part of its settlement agreement with Bell, subscribers of Abitibi-Consolidated and Cochrane have benefited from lower rates for long distance services.
6. The Commission considers that Abitibi-Consolidated's and Cochrane's respective settlement agreements with O.N. Tel should be made interim as of 1 January 1998 in order to allow that additional revenues from these local rate increases to be reflected in a lower negotiated settlement agreement for 1998.
7. The Commission finds that increases of $2.00 should apply to rates for residence and business primary exchange services effective 1 January 1998, unless a particular local rate can be shown to be compensatory.
8. The Commission notes that Terms were approved for Abitibi-Consolidated in Telecom Order CRTC 95-1264, 21 November 1995.
9. The Commission also notes that Cochrane did not oppose adopting the Terms as outlined in Decision 96-6 and indicated that it would file, for Commission approval, revised Terms mirrored on the Ontario Telephone Association's (OTA) Terms which were approved in Decision 96-6.
10. As a result of procedural delays, the Commission will not be pronouncing on the entire regulatory framework for Abitibi-Consolidated and Cochrane in this Order. Rather, the Commission intends to deal only with rate rebalancing and the Terms at this time.
11. The Commission intends to determine the remaining features of the regulatory framework for Abitibi-Consolidated and Cochrane by the end of the second Quarter of 1998.
12. In light of the foregoing, the Commission orders that:
(a) Abitibi-Consolidated and Cochrane increase rates for residence and business primary exchange services by $2.00 effective 1 January 1998, unless a particular local rate can be shown to be compensatory;
b) Cochrane adopt the Terms approved in Decision 96-6 for the member companies of the OTA;
(c) Abitibi-Consolidated and Cochrane issue revised tariff pages forthwith;
(d) Cochrane advise its subscribers, through a billing insert, that new Terms, effective six months from the date of this Order, have been approved and that the Terms or a summary thereof will be published in the next telephone directory;
(e) Cochrane file the text of the billing insert, for Commission approval, within two months of the date of this Order; and
(f) Cochrane notify its subscribers, in both official languages, that copies of the Terms are available in either language upon request and that further information can be obtained from Cochrane's business office.
Laura M. Talbot-Allan
Secretary General
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