ARCHIVED - Order CRTC 2000-552

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Order CRTC 2000-552

Ottawa, 16 June 2000
Bell Canada's replacement for tariff subscription service approved for Internet delivery
Reference: Bell Canada Tariff Notice 6406
The Commission approves, with changes, Bell Canada's proposal to replace its tariff subscription service (paper service) with a publicly available, no-charge service available through the company's Internet site at Among other things, Bell Canada is to provide a "What's New" listing and run both the paper subscription service and the Internet site postings for six months. General guidelines for publishing tariffs on the Internet have been set out for all web-based tariff services.
Free access to tariffs proposed


Under Tariff Notice (TN) 6406, dated
16 November 1999, Bell Canada proposed to provide the following tariffs on its Internet web site as a free subscription service:

General Tariff (CRTC 6716)
National Services Tariff (CRTC 7400E & F)
Exchange Services Tariff (CRTC 7515)
Access Services Tariff (CRTC 7516)


Over the next several months, Bell Canada proposed to place other tariffs, available free-of-charge, on its Internet site. As tariffs are made available, Bell Canada proposed to no longer offer a subscription service for that tariff.


Bell Canada noted that all existing tariff subscription customers are businesses. The company proposed to provide a rebate proportional to the time remaining on subscriptions as of the availability date of the free, on-line service.


Bell Canada is of the view that the requirement under Section 12 of the CRTC Tariff Regulations can be met through the publication of its tariffs on its Internet site. Subsection 12(1) states:

Every regulated company shall publish its tariffs as a subscription service and shall furnish a complete set of its tariffs or part thereof to any interested person on a subscription basis.


On 11 January 2000, Bell Canada - Proposal to publish approved tariff pages on its Internet site, Telecom Public Notice CRTC 2000-5 requested comment from interested parties on Bell Canada's application.
Interested parties generally support Bell Canada's proposal


The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), Call-Net Enterprises Inc. (on behalf of Call-Net Communications Inc., Call-Net Technology Services Inc. and Sprint Canada Inc.), Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc. (Primus Canada), Microcell Telecommunications Inc., the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and RKA Inc. filed comments.


The CWTA believes that the availability of tariff pages on Bell Canada's Internet site will make the pages more widely available to the public and interested parties. The CWTA specifically requested that the wireless interconnection tariffs be included in the tariffs Bell Canada publishes on the Internet.


The CWTA and Call-Net agreed with Bell Canada that the requirement of Section 12 of the CRTC Tariff Regulations can be met through publication on the Internet.


Call-Net requested that the Commission approve Bell Canada's TN 6406 application subject to the following issues being satisfactorily addressed. Call-Net noted that Bell Canada has not discussed the possibility of accessing prior tariff pages (i.e., the tariff pages in effect prior to any subsequent revised tariff pages) on its web site. Call-Net noted that such an archive-type service is unavailable at Bell Canada's web site and requested that Bell Canada be directed to include an archive-type service in its proposal. In Call-Net's view such an archive-type service would allow tariff subscribers to accurately understand the changes that have occurred on corresponding tariff pages. It noted that tariff subscribers today are able to access previous versions of the corresponding tariff pages.


Call-Net also requested that the Commission direct Bell Canada to identify the tariff pages that have been updated and posted on the web site within the last five business days on a weekly basis. Given that the current paper subscription service allows tariff subscribers to know which tariff pages were updated upon physical receipt of the updated tariff pages, Call-Net submitted that tariff subscribers should continue to have the ability to recognize when tariff pages have been updated.


Call-Net submitted that, given the Internet's ability for real-time updates, Bell Canada should be directed to post any newly approved tariff pages by the end of the next business day after such approval. Call-Net requested that this requirement be explicitly stated in the Commission's determination.


Primus Canada stated that Bell Canada's proposal could be viable as long as Bell Canada's tariff pages are as easily accessed and updated as under the current subscription service. Primus Canada proposed that, if the Commission approves TN 6406, both paper subscription service and the web tariff postings should run concurrently for a period of six months so that any problems arising with the new system can be addressed without any disruption in the receipt of new tariff pages.


Primus Canada submitted that any service offered by Bell Canada in place of its existing tariff subscription service should consist of the following:
  • the posting of previous tariff pages that have been replaced (an archive capability);
  • the capability to view the actual tariff pages on Bell Canada's web site; and
  • a " What's New" type section that would keep track of newly approved tariff pages.


Primus Canada stated that, under the current tariff web design, tariff pages must be downloaded before they can be viewed. Primus Canada suggested that it would be much more efficient if it were possible to view the new tariff pages from the web site, using common image viewing software, and then print straight from the site.

Bell Canada comments


In response, Bell Canada noted that all of the parties support the implementation of the company's proposal.


Bell Canada stated that it intends to publish all tariffs on the web, however, current resource limitations have forced the company to focus initial efforts on the General Tariff, which is the most widely subscribed to and distributed tariff.

Archive service


Bell Canada stated that in its filing it did not discuss the possibility of providing an archive-type service since the intent of the filing was to provide an equivalent, albeit electronic, version of what is available today under the existing subscription service. Item 26 - Sale of Tariffs - of the company's General Tariff is reflective of the requirements of Subsections 12(1) and 12(2) of the CRTC Tariff Regulations.


Bell Canada noted that these requirements cover currently approved pages only and make no reference to the inclusion of or need for an archive-type service. Moreover, Bell Canada submitted that customers receiving paper copies can and presumably do, retain superseded pages when approved updates are distributed, thereby creating their own tariff archive. Under the proposed web application, Bell Canada argued that this capability is retained through the page print functionality and, accordingly, the status quo is maintained as it pertains to the availability of prior versions of any particular tariff page. Bell Canada stated that Call-Net's request for an archive service equates to expansion of the CRTC Tariff Regulations and would impose an additional burden not only on the company, but also on all other companies who file tariffs for the Commission's approval.


Bell Canada noted that the on-line version of any particular tariff page will continue to contain appropriate symbols reflecting where changes have been made to the page and that the footer details will continue to reflect issue date, approval date and approving order/decision information. As well, the CRTC web page indicates the date of new orders/decisions and these will provide subscribers with details relating to the updates.
Real-time availability


With respect to Call-Net's concern relating to real-time availability of approved updates to the tariff pages, Bell Canada stated that the current system design allows for posting of approved updates to the web at midnight. Generally, postings will appear the following day.
"What's new" section


With respect to Primus Canada's suggestion for a "What's New" section, Bell Canada stated that the company is prepared to incorporate the heading in the tariffs section of its Internet page. It would enable a viewer to determine what tariff pages have been changed over a specified period. Bell Canada states that to do so, it will need to modify some reports that are available on its production system and develop a means of duplication or linking this information to its Internet site.


Bell Canada added that such a listing would also address the archiving request. For subscribers who choose to print approved tariff pages and retain paper versions, this listing would serve as the trigger for them to print changed pages and thereby enable them to maintain an archive of previous changes to the particular pages.



The Commission considers that replacing tariff subscription services with web-based services will expand and enhance access to Bell Canada's tariffs. It is in the public interest to approve the application, which meets the requirements of Section 12 of the CRTC Tariff Regulations.


The Commission notes that Bell Canada will continue to provide the Special Facilities Tariff on a subscription basis, and other tariffs, on an individual purchase basis, for the tariffs that are not placed on the Internet.


Currently, there is no archive-type service available on Bell Canada's Internet site. Customers currently receiving paper copies can retain superseded pages when approved updates are distributed, to create their own tariff archive. Under Bell Canada's proposal, this capability is retained through the page print functionality. The page print function combined with the "What's New" listing as discussed, provides an archive capability similar to the current paper subscription service.
A guideline: Characteristics all
Internet tariff web sites should include


The Commission has set out below the characteristics that all Internet tariff services should provide:
  • web site accessibility that doesn't require special software downloading by the end-user;
  • clear directions on the company's web site so tariffs are easy to find;
  • easy access by commonly available computer hardware and software;
  • view and print capability including all symbols and information provided on paper tariffs;
  • a search capability over as wide a range of tariffs as feasible in one search request;
  • a "What's New" listing of tariff page changes for the preceding 12 months indicating the tariff type, tariff item description, tariff page number, tariff notice number and approval authority;
  • direct links from index listings and "What's New" listings to tariff pages where feasible; and
  • Internet web site address on each index page of the tariffs.
Directives to Bell Canada for posting tariffs on its Internet web site


In light of the above, the Commission approves Bell Canada's application under TN 6406, with the following changes. Bell Canada is directed:

a) that the proposed revisions, with changes, to its General Tariff Item 26, are effective 17 July 2000;

b) to run concurrently both its paper subscription service and the web tariff postings, for a period of six months from 17 July 2000;

c) to provide the rebates to subscribers when the paper tariff service ends;

d) to notify its tariff subscription customers, within 30 days of the date of this order, of: i) the termination date of the tariff subscription; ii) the six-month overlap and its intent; iii) the provision of rebates; and iv) the requirement to contact Bell Canada if there are any problems with the new system;

e) to establish a "What's New" listing of the newly approved tariff pages to be implemented no later than 17 October 2000, updated on a monthly basis and accessible for a minimum of the 12 preceding months;

f) to detail in the "What's New" listing the tariff type, tariff item description, tariff page number, tariff notice number, approval authority and effective date;

g) to continue to provide paper copies of issued tariff pages to the CRTC and to maintain a master copy of its tariffs and a file of cancelled tariff pages; and

h) to normally post any newly approved tariff pages by the end of the next business day after approval.

i) to file revised tariff pages that reflect these determinations.

Secretary General

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