ARCHIVED - Public Notice CRTC 2000-57

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Public Notice CRTC 2000-57

Ottawa, 28 April 2000

Seeking input on higher speed access services offered by smaller cable carriers

Reference: 8646-C12-01/00
Various smaller incumbent cable carriers offer or plan to offer higher speed access services. The Commission invites comment on the regulatory approach to these services that will achieve Telecommunications Act objectives.


Cable carriers are cable distribution undertakings that also provide telecommunications services using facilities they use to provide cable service. The decision in this proceeding will apply to cable carriers that operate a system under a distribution undertaking licence that is not held, either directly or indirectly, by Cogeco Câble Canada Inc., Rogers Communications Inc., Shaw Communications Inc. or Vidéotron ltée.


In Definitions of larger cable carrier and the creation of confidentiality agreements, Order CRTC 2000-317, dated 18 April 2000, the Commission found that cable carriers other than Cogeco, Rogers, Shaw and Vidéotron (larger carriers) are not required to cost justify proposed rates for their higher speed access service.


Before making that decision, the Commission set out and sought comments on its preliminary view of the appropriate definition of "larger carrier" in Regulation under the Telecommunications Act of cable carriers' access services, Telecom Decision CRTC 99-8, dated 6 July 1999. In its comments, the Canadian Cable Systems Alliance (CCSA) asked the Commission to forbear from regulating the rates and terms on which its members provide higher speed access services. The Canadian Cable Television Association (CCTA) and Northwestel Cable Inc. submitted comments supporting the CCSA's position, and requested that forbearance be applied to other small carriers.


The CCSA indicated that about 20 per cent of the companies it represents provide Internet service. The CCSA stated that, before the release of Decision 99-8, several companies had entered into agreements to provide an Internet service provider (ISP) with access to their facilities and the CCSA anticipates this will continue. It supported its position by referring to the government's Convergence Policy Statement, August 6th, 1996, and to Regulation of full channel TV services, Telecom Decision CRTC 97-2, dated 5 February 1997.


The Commission stated in Order 2000-317 that it would seek comment on the extent to which regulatory approaches that do not require cost justification for proposed rates may be appropriate with respect to smaller incumbent cable carriers' higher speed access services.


Other regulatory approaches to rates and terms include:
(a) allowing a smaller carrier to use the rates of one of the larger carriers as its own without supporting cost information (proxy rates); if the carrier chooses to charge a rate higher than a rate charged by one of the four carriers, the carrier would be required to cost justify its proposed higher rate; and
(b) forbearing with respect to rates and terms, with access issues being addressed on a complaint basis.

Approach to independent telephone companies' tariffed services


The Commission uses a proxy rate approach to tariff the rates and terms on which "independent" telephone companies offer services, where it has not forborne for competitive reasons. If the telephone carrier chooses to use a proxy rate, it submits proposed tariff pages and a covering letter. In other cases, independent telephone companies choose to have their industry association file a joint tariff on their behalf.


This regulatory approach applies to approximately 42 independent telephone companies. In 1997, about one-third of the independent telephone companies had more than 5,000 subscribers each, almost half had between 1,000 and 5,000 subscribers each and the remaining companies had fewer than 1,000 subscribers each.


In 1998, cable distribution undertakings whose ultimate owner is not one of the larger carriers held:
(a) about 92 Class 1 and Class 2 cable distribution undertaking licences; eight Class 1 systems had more than 20,000 subscribers; 15 had 10,000 to 20,000 subscribers; and 10 had 6,000 to 9,999 subscribers; virtually all Class 2 systems had between 2,000 and 4,000 subscribers; and
(b) about 1,540 Class 3 cable distribution undertaking licences; most of these systems had fewer than 1,000 subscribers each.

Comments invited for smaller cable carriers


The Commission invites comment on issues relating to the approach to be employed to achieve Telecommunications Act objectives. Comments are welcome regarding the regulatory approach to the rates and terms on which a smaller incumbent cable carrier offers higher speed access services using distribution facilities that it also uses to provide a broadcasting service. In particular, parties are invited to address the matters set out below.

Proxy rates and forbearance


This section sets out one possible approach:
  • All incumbent cable carriers to which the decision in this proceeding will apply and that hold a Class 1 or 2 cable distribution undertaking licence would file proposed terms and would be permitted to file proxy rates for a higher speed access service offered using that system.
  • The carrier would propose, without cost justification, a rate that has already been approved for one of the larger carriers. Further, the carrier would set out its rationale for choosing the particular proxy rate.
  • The carrier would also have the option of proposing a rate higher than a rate approved for one of the larger carriers, in which case it would also provide appropriate cost justification for its proposed rate. Carriers could choose to have an industry association file a tariff proposing a higher cost-based rate which, if approved, would apply in respect of each of the carriers' access services.
  • Subject to the paragraph below, the Commission would forbear from regulating the rates and terms associated with higher speed access services offered by a smaller incumbent carrier that holds a Class 3 cable distribution undertaking licence. The Commission would retain powers under the Telecommunications Act to address access issues on a complaint basis.
  • Forbearance would not apply as described in the preceding paragraph to a carrier that holds a Class 3 distribution undertaking licence if it is owned or controlled by a company that also holds, directly or indirectly, a Class 1 or Class 2 cable distribution undertaking licence.

Other regulatory issues parties may wish to address


Parties proposing alternate approaches or commenting on any proposed approach are invited to address:
(a) the appropriate balance between the certainty provided by tariffed rates and terms and, in the absence of such tariffs, the potential need to address disputes which may arise respecting rates and terms;
(b) if forbearance is considered to be appropriate for higher speed access services offered by certain incumbent cable carriers, whether the Commission should forbear in whole or in part and, conditionally or unconditionally, from the exercise of any power under sections 24, 25, 27, 29 and 31 of the Telecommunications Act;
(c) whether it would be appropriate to forbear in respect of a cable carrier that also offers a broadcasting service under a Class 3 cable licence if that carrier's cable system is interconnected with that of another cable distribution undertaking;
(d) whether the approach to smaller cable carriers under the Telecommunications Act should refer to the class of distribution undertaking licence held under the Broadcasting Act and what other approaches could be used;
(e) whether forbearance would be likely to impair unduly the establishment or continuance of a competitive market for higher speed access services;
(f) whether it would be appropriate to permit all or some (e.g. carriers only in respect of systems operated under a Class 3 cable distribution undertaking licence) smaller incumbent cable carriers to enter into an exclusive agreement with an ISP whereby the carrier agrees to provide higher speed access only to that ISP, and the extent to which such exclusive agreements may facilitate the extension of Internet services to rural and remote areas.


In the event the Commission decides that exclusive agreements are appropriate, parties are asked to comment on the appropriate terms or conditions (e.g. should exclusivity be permitted for a defined period of time).


In the event the Commission decides that exclusive agreements are not appropriate, parties are asked to comment on the approach the Commission should take with respect to any such existing agreements.

Procedure for interested parties


Persons on the list of parties Re: Telecom Decision CRTC 99-8, as revised, are made interested parties in this proceeding.


Other persons wishing to participate in this proceeding must notify the Commission of their intention to do so by writing to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N2, fax: (819) 953-0795, by 12 May 2000. Parties are to indicate in the notice their e-mail address, where available. If parties do not have access to the Internet, they are to indicate in their notice whether they wish to receive disk versions or hard copy filings. The Commission will issue, as soon as possible after the registration date, a complete list of parties and their mailing addresses (including e-mail addresses, if available), identifying those parties who wish to receive disk versions.


Once the Commission issues the list of parties referred to in the preceding paragraph, CCSA is asked to serve forthwith, on those persons who registered as interested parties pursuant to the preceding paragraph, a copy of its letters to the Commission dated 21 September 1999 and 11 January 2000 relating to its request for forbearance.


Interested parties may file comments with the Commission, serving a copy on other interested parties, by 26 May 2000.


Interested parties may file reply comments with the Commission, serving a copy on other interested parties, by 16 June 2000.


Where a document is to be filed or served by a specific date, the document must be actually received, not merely sent, by that date.


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 e-mail address for electronically filed documents is   Electronically filed documents can be accessed at the Commission's Internet site at


The applications may be examined, or will be made available promptly upon request, at the CRTC offices at the following addresses:
Central Building
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
1 Promenade du Portage, Room G-5
Hull, Quebec K1A 0N2
Tel: (819) 997-2429 - TDD: 994-0423
FAX: (819) 994-0218
Bank of Commerce Building
1809 Barrington Street
Suite 1007
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3K8
Tel: (902) 426-7997 - TDD: 426-6997
FAX: (902) 426-2721
405 de Maisonneuve Blvd. East
2nd Floor, Suite B2300
Montréal, Quebec H2L 4J5
Tel: (514) 283-6607 - TDD: 283-8316
FAX: (514) 283-3689
55 St. Clair Avenue East
Suite 624
Toronto, Ontario M4T 1M2
Tel: (416) 952-9096
FAX: (416) 954-6343
Kensington Building
275 Portage Avenue
Suite 1810
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2B3
Tel: (204) 983-6306 - TDD: 983-8274
FAX: (204) 983-6317
Cornwall Professional Building
2125 - 11th Avenue
Room 103
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 3X3
Tel: (306) 780-3422
FAX: (306) 780-3319
Scotia Place Tower Two
19th Floor, Suite 1909
10060 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3R8
Tel: (780) 495-3224
FAX: (780) 495-3214
530-580 Hornby Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 3B6
Tel: (604) 666-2111 - TDD: 666-0778
FAX: (604) 666-8322
Secretary General
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