ARCHIVED -  Telecom Order CRTC 98-108

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Telecom Order

Ottawa, 3 February 1998
Telecom Order CRTC 98-108
Pursuant to the Commission's letter of 16 September 1997 requesting comments regarding, among others matters, unbundled loops, the Commission received, on 30 September 1997, a joint submission from ACC TelEnterprises Inc., AT&T Canada Long Distance Services Company, Canadian Cable Television Association, Clearnet Communications Inc., fONOROLA Inc., MetroNet Communications Group Inc., Microcell Telecommunications Inc., Rogers Network Services, Sprint Canada Inc., TelcoPlus Services Inc., and Vidéotron Télécom ltée (collectively, the competitors). The Commission also received comments from Stentor Resource Centre Inc. (Stentor) on behalf of BC TEL, Bell Canada, The Island Telephone Company Limited, Maritime Tel & Tel Limited, MTS NetCom Inc., The New Brunswick Telephone Company, Limited, NewTel Communications Inc., and TELUS Communications Inc. Stentor and the competitors filed reply comments on 7 October 1997.
File No.: 96-2376
1. In paragraph 87 of Telecom Decision CRTC 97-8, Local Competition, 1 May 1997 (Decision 97-8), the Commission determined that when incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) provide local exchange services that require a specific type of loop, that type of loop must be made available on an unbundled basis. Stentor subsequently provided specifications for A type loops (analogue voiceband), B type loops (ISDN basic rate) and C type loops (ISDN primary rate). In Stentor's view, the list of loops and specifications provided meet the requirements set out in Decision 97-8.
2. The competitors submitted that Decision 97-8 requires ILECs to provide detailed technical specifications for all loops used by the Stentor operating companies (SOCs) in the provision of their exchange services, including those used for data services. In their view, Stentor must also provide design criteria and engineering information, together with all the information SOCs make available to their marketing and sales forces. The competitors submitted that they need this detailed information to engineer their networks and plan the roll-out of their services. They argued that if the information were not made available, their competitive activities would be severely hampered.
3. The competitors noted that the SOCs listed approximately 30 services that use loops. In their opinion, the SOCs must provide the specifications for the loops used for each service and must not be allowed to avoid providing comprehensive information on voice and data loops so as to be able to assert that these listed services are special cases to which additional charges apply. The competitors also considered that all loops should be provided in accordance with the rating methodology of Phase II + 25% as set out in Decision 97-8 for essential facilities and those other facilities to which this rating approach applies for a five year period.
4. Stentor submitted that the specifications it has provided are sufficient. Stentor stated that unbundling of, and providing specifications for, all the loops used in the provision of each of its services would be onerous and would require disclosure of confidential and competitively sensitive information. Stentor stated that competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) requiring loops with special arrangements should deal directly with the particular SOC's carrier services group to obtain the specific loop, just as the SOCs do themselves. In Stentor's view, CLECs would have sufficient information to design their services with the information provided by Stentor.
5. The Commission notes that CLECs will be able to use type A, B or C loops, which have been unbundled and for which specifications have been provided, to provide most data services. In Decision 97-8, the Commission required that where an ILEC/SOC provides a service that requires a loop, that loop must be unbundled and priced pursuant to the Decision 97-8 formula. Accordingly, in those cases where loop types other than A, B or C may be required, the Commission finds that they should be unbundled and priced pursuant to the Decision 97-8 formula and Phase II costs plus 25% and that their specifications should be made available.
6. As noted above, Stentor stated that unbundling and providing specifications for all the loops used in the provision of each of its services would require disclosure of confidential and competitively sensitive information. The Commission notes that the specifications provide performance standards. In themselves, the specifications do not provide information on the capability of the underlying loops nor do they provide information on the equipment or effort required to equip loops to meet the specifications. The Commission notes that Stentor is required to provide the loop specifications but it is not required to provide information on the type of loop used for each service. Accordingly, the Commission is of the view that any specific direct harm that a SOC might suffer as a result of disclosure of specifications would be outweighed by the public interest in disclosure of such information.
7. The Commission concludes that the specifications provided by Stentor for type A, B and C loops are sufficient for the initial stages of local competition. However, in order to facilitate competition in the medium to long term, the Commission considers that, where loop types other than type A, B or C loops are used for provision of general tariff services and competitive network services, Stentor should identify those additional loop types and put their specifications on the public record.
8. In light of the foregoing, the Commission orders that:
a) SOCs need only provide specifications for A, B and C type loops at this time;
b) SOCs continue to work with other members of the Technical Interface Sub-Working Group to improve the specification documents for these loops;
c) by 9 March 1998, each SOC be required to:
i) determine whether an A, B or C type loop is appropriate for each general tariff service it provides that requires loops;
ii) identify the loop types for services for which type A, B or C loops are not appropriate;
iii) provide specifications for each new loop type;
iv) provide information regarding any limitation on the availability of each loop type;
v) file the information identified in paragraph 8(c)(ii) to (iv) on the public record; and
vi) file proposed tariffs for such loop types pursuant to the requirements set out in Decision 97-8 and subsequent related Commission rulings.
Laura M. Talbot-Allan
Secretary General
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