ARCHIVED -  Telecom Order CRTC 98-307

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Telecom Order

Ottawa, 1 April 1998

Telecom Order CRTC 98-307

AT&T Long Distance Services Company (AT&T Canada LDS) filed an application, dated 18 December 1997, pursuant to Part VII of the CRTC Telecommunications Rules of Procedure, which requested resolution of two billing disputes with Bell Canada (Bell) concerning the flowthrough of independent telephone company Carrier Access Tariff (CAT) charges.

File No.: 8622-A4-10/97

1. By Telecom Order CRTC 97-568 dated 29 April 1997, the Commission gave final approval to Bell Tariff Notices 5893 and 5894 allowing Bell to bill additional amounts to alternate toll providers who use its retail toll services to originate or terminate calls in the territories of the independent telephone companies. Bell bills as an additional amount the independent company CAT less Bell's average contribution rate. In the territories of companies such as Québec-Téléphone and Télébec ltée, where Bell has a settlement arrangement and does not directly pay the CAT, the Commission approved the flowthrough of the CAT rate.

2. Stentor provided its comments on 19 January 1998 and AT&T Canada LDS replied on 29 January 1998.

3. In the first billing dispute AT&T Canada LDS noted that Bell does not pay the Northern Telephone Limited (Northern) CAT but has an interconnection arrangement with Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (the telecommunications operating division of which is now known as O.N. Tel) who are Northern's only toll carrier. AT&T Canada LDS submitted that, because O.N. Tel does not have a CAT, the flowthrough arrangement approved for Bell does not apply and Bell should not be allowed to recover the Northern CAT through the flowthrough arrangement for traffic originating or terminating in Northern territory.

4. AT&T Canada LDS further argued that the Commission in approving the flowthrough arrangement noted the existence of alternatives for toll providers to avoid the flowthrough charge. Without using Bell retail toll services, toll providers could either negotiate interconnection directly with the independent companies or connect through a Bell class 4 access tandem switch serving the independent territory. AT&T Canada LDS stated that for O.N. Tel it does not have these alternatives since Bell does not have an access tandem switch serving O.N. Tel and AT&T Canada LDS has been unable to negotiate an interconnection agreement with O.N. Tel. AT&T Canada LDS submitted that it is inappropriate to permit the charge of flowthrough contribution in these circumstances.

5. Stentor noted that, through Bell's interconnection arrangements with O.N. Tel, an amount equivalent to the Northern CAT is recovered from Bell.

6. The Commission considers that, in this case, the fact that O.N. Tel does not have its own CAT but recovers an amount equivalent to the Northern CAT from Bell does not change the intent of the flowthrough arrangement. The Commission therefore disagrees with AT&T Canada LDS' position and considers that the recovery by Bell of the Northern CAT in accordance with the provisions of the approved flowthrough arrangement for traffic originated or terminated in Northern territory is appropriate.

7. The Commission notes that there are exchanges served by O.N. Tel, other than those served by Northern, for which no CAT has been established. The Commission determines that the flowthrough arrangement should not apply for these exchanges until a CAT has been established.

8. AT&T Canada LDS in the second billing dispute objected to the attempt by Bell to charge flowthrough amounts for traffic which AT&T Canada LDS originates in other Stentor-member territories, which may transit Bell territory, for termination in the territories of the Quebec independent companies.

9. Stentor submitted that AT&T Canada LDS is using a "loophole" in Bell's tariff to avoid paying the flowthrough amount and that this does not create competitive equity among toll providers. Stentor requested the Commission to ratify, under Section 25(4) of the Telecommunications Act, the charging of the flowthrough amounts by Bell on behalf of other Stentor companies.

10. The Commission agrees with Stentor that by routing traffic through other Stentor-member companies, AT&T Canada LDS is avoiding the Bell flowthrough arrangement that the Commission found to be consistent with achieving competitive equity among toll providers serving the independent territories. However, the Commission disagrees that the ratification of the charging by Bell of the flowthrough amounts, in part based on the Bell average contribution rate, is appropriate where the traffic is originated under the tariffs of other companies.

11. Accordingly, the Commission denies the Stentor request to ratify the charging of flowthrough amounts determined pursuant to Bell's tariff for traffic originating from the territories of other Stentor-member companies pursuant to the tariffs of those companies.

Laura M. Talbot-Allan
Secretary General

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