ARCHIVED -  Telecom Public Notice CRTC 97-24

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Telecom Public Notice

Ottawa, 16 June 1997
Telecom Public Notice CRTC 97-24
1. In Review of Regulatory Framework, Telecom Decision CRTC 94-19, 16 September 1994 (Decision 94-19), the Commission considered that there were circumstances in which applications should not be placed on the public record prior to interim disposition. In the Commission's view, subsection 61(3) of the Telecommunications Act (the Act), which grants it the power to make ex parte decisions, permits the Commission to deal with certain applications in this manner.
2. The Commission considered that there were several considerations to be balanced in any determination to permit ex parte tariff filings. These include traditional public interest concerns, such as procedural rights to notice of parties adverse in interest, the public interest in an open regulatory process and the benefit to the regulatory decision-making process derived from comment by interveners. Relevant considerations would also include concerns related to the public interest in the effective operation of the competitive marketplace. The latter would include (1) the desirability of relying to a greater extent on market forces, minimizing the extent to which the regulatory process provides market participants with a competitive advantage and permitting the telephone companies to benefit from superior performance, new service/marketing ideas, etc. to the greatest extent possible, and (2) the potential for harm or prejudice to the competitive position of the telephone companies.
3. The Commission determined that it would be appropriate to consider ex parte process for interim disposition only for those tariff filings that met all of the Commission's tariff criteria (i.e., the imputation test, etc.) and which raised no issues related to bottleneck services, consumer safeguards or privacy.
4. In the Decision, the Commission stated that because the public interest clearly requires that tariff applications, once granted interim approval, be placed on the public record, any ex parte tariff process would address only the interval from the date of filing to the date of interim disposition. Such process would reduce, not eliminate, advance notice of telephone company competitive initiatives.
5. The Commission determined that the degree of competition and the potential for harm to the telephone companies flowing from greater advance knowledge of their initiatives in markets other than Stentor member discount toll and 800 markets were such that the traditional public interest concerns would outweigh any concerns related to the public interest in the effective operation of the competitive market. Consequently, the Commission's general policy has been to not extend the ex parte process to Stentor member basic toll or competitive network service tariff filings, but rather to continue with the current practice regarding the placement of these tariff applications on the public record.
6. In Tariff Filings Relating to Promotions, Telecom Decision CRTC 96-7, 18 September 1996 (Decision 96-7), the Commission stated that it generally considered confidentiality to be appropriate for the specific details describing ex parte promotional discount toll and 800 Service applications during the interval from interim disposition to the effective date of the amendments. The Commission noted that parties' ability to participate in a final decision would not be prejudiced, as the 30 day comment period would commence upon placement of the application on the public record. In addition, the Commission expressed the view that maintaining confidentiality for the specific details of denied ex parte filings for discount toll and 800 Service promotions was generally in the public interest.
7. The Commission notes that recently it has extended the ex parte treatment established in Decision 96-7 to discount toll and 800 Service applications not involving promotions, based on the competitive harm and increased competition in these markets.
8. In Price Cap Regulation and Related Issues, Telecom Decision CRTC 97-9, 1 May 1997 (Decision 97-9), the Commission considered that, as in the case of the ex parte process for tariff applications for toll services, a general policy for ex parte consideration of Utility Segment tariff filings should have regard to the benefits of an open regulatory decision-making process weighed against the harm to the telephone companies from advanced knowledge given to competitors of their initiatives. The Commission stated its view that the greatest harm to the telephone companies would likely occur in the context of tariff applications for uncapped services. The Commission considered it appropriate that ex parte tariff filings for uncapped services be considered under a process, similar to that established in 96-7, if they meet all the Commission's criteria concerning matters such as the imputation test, consumer safeguards and privacy.
9. In light of the above, the Commission seeks comments on whether it is appropriate to extend the ex parte filing process as established in Decisions 94-19, 96-7 and 97-9 to all Competitive Segment Services (i.e., basic toll and competitive network services).
10. The documents may be examined at the offices of the CRTC in the following locations:
Room 201
Central Building
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
1 Promenade du Portage
Hull, Quebec
Suite 1007
Bank of Commerce Building
1809 Barrington Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Suite 1920
Place Montréal Trust
1800 McGill College Avenue
Montréal, Quebec
Suite 1810
275 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Suite 530
580 Hornby Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
11. 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 2 July 1997. Parties are to indicate in the notice their Internet email address, if available. If parties do not have access to the Internet, they are to indicate in their notice whether they wish to receive disk versions of hard copy filings. The Commission will issue a complete list of parties and their mailing addresses (including Internet email addresses if available), identifying those parties who wish to receive disk versions.
12. Parties may file comments with the Commission, serving copies on all other parties, by 16 July 1997.
13. Parties may file reply comments by 31 July 1997.
14. 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
15. 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.
This document is available in alternative format upon request.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General
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