ARCHIVED -  Telecom Order CRTC 98-678

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Telecom Order

Ottawa, 9 July 1998
Telecom Order CRTC 98-678
On 31 March 1998, MetroNet Communications Group Inc. (MetroNet) filed an application pursuant to Part VII of the CRTC Telecommunications Rules of Procedure requesting, on an urgent basis, an expedited resolution of a competitive dispute with certain of the Stentor operating companies.
MetroNet requested that BC TEL, Bell Canada (Bell), and TELUS Communications Inc. (TCI) (collectively, the companies) issue new tariff pages, effective 1 May 1998, for ServiceFinder, Switch ReDirect and IntelliRoute TM in order to provide MetroNet with an interim Local Number Portability (LNP) solution within the time frames established by the Commission in Telecom Order CRTC 98-60 (Order 98-60), and at the transaction charge rate of $5.00 per ported number determined for LNP Number Portability Administration Centre/Service Management System (NPAC/SMS) database funding in Telecom Order CRTC 97-1243. MetroNet requested that numbers ported using the interim solution be converted to the NPAC/SMS database without further charge once it becomes available.
MetroNet provided a copy of its application to the respondents and registered parties of Telecom Public Notices CRTC 95-36, 95-48 and 96-26 proceedings. Comments were received from AT&T Canada Long Distance Services Company (AT&T Canada LDS); Canadian Business Telecommunications Alliance (CBTA); Clearnet Communications Inc. (Clearnet); Eastern Independent Telecommunications Ltd. (EIT); Gateway Telephone; Microcell Telecommunications Inc. (Microcell); and Stentor Resource Centre Inc. (Stentor) on behalf of BC TEL, Bell and TCI.
File No.: 8622-M15-02/98
1.Order 98-60 completed a Commission proceeding that was initiated on 16 September 1997 to resolve, among other matters, a roll-out schedule for LNP. LNP service ready dates for Priority 1 exchanges, as established in Order 98-60, are: Calgary and Vancouver Exchanges - 31 July 1998; Montréal and Toronto Exchanges - 31 August 1998.
2.MetroNet submitted its application based on expected LNP implementation delays due to the loss of the initial NPAC/SMS vendor, and submitted that contract negotiations with the new vendor would give rise to implementation dates that do not conform to those in Order 98-60. MetroNet estimated, for example, that the start date for LNP roll-out in Montréal would be in the fourth quarter of 1998, a delay of four months.
3.MetroNet stated that the roll-out of its network was based on the implementation dates set out by the Commission. MetroNet stated that the LNP delays provide Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs) more time to "lock-up" potential Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) customers through measures designed to pre-empt entry and that retail alternatives to LNP are either inappropriate or currently priced in a manner that is a barrier to entry.
4.MetroNet submitted that minimum development costs are required for its proposed interim LNP solution using the Advanced Intelligent Network (AIN); however, MetroNet acknowledged that the ILECs would require a unique CLEC ordering process to accommodate LNP.
5.MetroNet offered to use normal switch call forwarding where AIN is not available and to stagger orders where operational concerns exist. MetroNet restated the need for an interim LNP solution based on estimated delays for the NPAC/SMS and that any price above $5.00 would constitute a barrier to entry.
6.Microcell submitted that meaningful local competition cannot commence without LNP, but that it does not intend to make use of the interim LNP solution proposed by MetroNet.
7.Microcell stated that three conditions need to be satisfied for Commission approval of an interim LNP solution: 1) it must be consistent with past Commission LNP rulings, notably Telecom Order CRTC 97-591 (Order 97-591), which found that carriers must bear responsibility for recovery of their own costs for LNP; 2) it must not delay implementation of the LNP database solution; and 3) since it may not be technically or commercially acceptable, carriers other than the requesting carrier and the ILECs should not be required to offer nor incur costs of the interim solution. Microcell stated that it is satisfied that these conditions are met by the MetroNet application and recommended approval.
8.Gateway Telephone, in support of the MetroNet application, submitted that MetroNet's proposed rate for the re-direct type feature is fair and that CLECs should not bear any conversion cost to the LNP database.
9.EIT, in support of the MetroNet application, submitted that any delay in the implementation of LNP will also negatively impact suppliers who plan to sell to the CLECs.
10.CBTA submitted that its members are disappointed with implementation delays, want competition and support MetroNet's application for an interim solution.
11.AT&T Canada LDS opposed MetroNet's proposed interim LNP solution for several reasons, including that its value must be weighed against the cost associated with diverting limited resources for implementation and the uncertainty as to the adverse impacts that could result, and that it would introduce some risk to the long term implementation of LNP, as it may jeopardize proper testing of the NPAC/SMS based solution by consuming scarce time and resources of all industry parties.
12.Clearnet supported MetroNet's proposed interim solution provided it was priced using existing retail ILEC tariff elements.
13.Clearnet submitted that carriers mandated to provide for an LNP compliant environment should take measures to comply with the LNP roll-out schedule in Order 98-60.
14.Stentor submitted the following four reasons for rejecting MetroNet's application: (1) MetroNet has not understood the state of development of the NPAC/SMS and the degree of implementation of the associated network changes; (2) MetroNet's attempt to characterize itself as the victim of developments over which it has no control and to portray the companies as the cause of its predicament are simply without foundation; (3) MetroNet has distorted or misunderstood the scope of the functionalities available from the companies under the referenced tariffs; and (4) MetroNet's request for services at rates that bear no relationship to rates already approved for those services and that take no account of the additional costs the companies would have to occur to provide the requested functionality is deeply flawed.
15.Stentor submitted that it would be prepared to participate in an industry led initiative to implement an interim LNP solution, which could include a manual service control point (SCP) solution.
16.The Commission notes that since the MetroNet application was filed, the industry LNP Consortium, of which MetroNet is a member, has negotiated a contract with Lockheed Martin, the NPAC/SMS supplier.
17.Current industry schedules for an LNP trial completion date of September 1998, as agreed to by all parties, do not indicate the major delays assumed by MetroNet.
18.The Commission finds that there is not sufficient evidence on the record to enable it to fully evaluate MetroNet's proposed alternative interim LNP solution, particularly in terms of the costs it would impose on the companies. Moreover, the Commission agrees with the concerns expressed by several parties that the interim proposal of MetroNet could divert time and valuable resources away from the implementation of the long term LNP solution. The Commission is, however, persuaded of the need to implement an interim LNP solution.
19.The Commission considers that a manual data entry process for the LNP SCP would provide a better interim LNP solution than that proposed by MetroNet. The Commission notes in this regard that a manual data entry process must be established in any event as a back-up for any LNP system. Further the Commission considers that a manual data entry process could be put in place with minimal cost or delay.
20.In the interest of maintaining data integrity the Commission considers that, as an interim LNP solution, a manual data entry approach would best be implemented by using only one industry LNP SCP, the Stentor LNP SCP, on a nation-wide basis by all local exchange carriers (LECs).
21.The Commission considers it appropriate that the same $5.00 per ported number charge applies for manual data entry into the Stentor SCP database during the interim period as will apply for uploading data into the NPAC/SMS database when it becomes available. However, since the data loaded into the Stentor SCP database during the interim period will subsequently have to be loaded into the NPAC/SMS, waiving the charge for the latter would leave the industry as a whole responsible for the associated costs. The Commission considers this to be contrary to the intent of Order 97-591 that all carriers would bear the responsibility for their own costs associated with LNP start-up.
22.Accordingly the Commission orders that LECs using the interim LNP solution be charged $5.00 per number to manually input the ported telephone number routing data into the LNP SCP database in addition to the $5.00 rate to be paid to the NPAC/SMS service provider for uploading the porting customer's data into the NPAC/SMS database after turn-up for commercial service.
23.In light of the foregoing, the Commission:
(a) denies the MetroNet Part VII application;
(b) affirms that the service ready dates provided in Order 98-60 must be met in all locations, including Priority 1 locations, for the implementation of LNP, i.e. LNP must be operational on those dates;
c) directs Stentor, on behalf of the companies, to file within 14 days, proposed tariff pages to implement the interim LNP solution, as described above, involving manual SCP data entry of numbers to be ported, at a rate of $5.00 for any Priority 1 exchange for which commercial service using the NPAC/SMS database, is not possible by the LNP service ready dates set out in Order 98-60. Prior to the LNP service ready dates established in Order 98-60, the Commission expects that the interim LNP solution be implemented in Priority 1 exchange wire centres using the priorities established by the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee LNP Roll-out Sub Working Group; and
(d) directs that for the manual data entry alternative, only one industry LNP SCP, the Stentor LNP SCP, be used on a nation-wide basis by all LECs for the interim period prior to the turn-up of the NPAC/SMS for commercial service.
Laura M. Talbot-Allan
Secretary General
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