ARCHIVED - Order CRTC 2000-830

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Order CRTC 2000-830

Ottawa, 8 September 2000
General Tariff approved on an interim basis with modifications for Clearnet PCS Inc.
Tariff Notice 1
This order approves Clearnet PCS Inc.'s proposed General Tariff on an interim basis, with the changes listed below. Among other things, the order specifies the circumstances under which Clearnet must provide local service end-users with equal access to the long distance service provider of their choice. The Commission also exempts the long distance arm of the incumbent telephone companies from interconnecting with Clearnet. Finally, the Commission issues a number of directives related to the provision of 9-1-1 service by Clearnet.


Clearnet PCS Inc. filed an application on 2 June 2000 requesting approval of its proposed General Tariff.


Clearnet defined a "home exchange" as an exchange where it plans to operate as a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC). The local exchange boundaries for a Clearnet home exchange will be identical to those of the corresponding incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) exchange. In each home exchange, Clearnet will obtain a central office code and provide a gateway point of interconnection (POI).


Clearnet noted that the extended digital serving area surrounding a home exchange would not be associated with a gateway point of interconnection or a central office code. The company indicated that it would provide customers in the extended digital serving area with many of the services it is required to provide as a CLEC, including equal access, message relay service, calling line identification blocking, and 9-1-1.


TELUS Corporation filed comments on 30 June 2000. Microcell Telecommunications Inc. and the Alberta E9-1-1 Advisory Association (AEAA) on behalf of the public safety answering point (PSAPs) representatives from Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Ontario, filed comments on 2 July 2000. Bell Canada, Island Telecom Inc., Maritime Tel & Tel Limited, MTS Communications Inc., NBTel Inc. and NewTel Communications Inc. (Bell Canada et al.) filed comments on 4 July 2000. Clearnet filed reply comments on 14 July 2000.


Local competition, Telecom Decision CRTC 97-8, dated 1 May 1997, established a framework for local competition that encourages efficient interconnection arrangements and was technology-neutral. In particular, the Commission noted that should a wireless service provider (WSP) wish to become a CLEC, it would be subject to the same terms and conditions as wireline CLECs, as long as it accepts the obligations applied to CLECs in the decision.
Defining equal access for mobile wireless CLECs


Clearnet proposed to offer a CLEC subscriber equal access for any toll call originated by the subscriber within the subscriber's home exchange based on Clearnet's local calling area associated with the home exchange.


Clearnet proposed to go further than required by Decision 97-8 to provide equal access for all toll calls originating within Clearnet's extended digital serving area. If requested by an interexchange carrier (IXC), Clearnet proposed to make available to that IXC equal access for toll calls originated by the IXC's wireless subscriber base when located outside of the home exchange, but within Clearnet's extended digital serving area.


Clearnet objected to offering equal access functionality to interexchange service providers (IXSPs) where a wireless subscriber receives a call. The company indicated that in a call delivery scenario, the second stage of the call is carried from the subscriber's home exchange to the terminating exchange where the subscriber is located. Clearnet proposed not to offer equal access to IXCs even if the second stage call would otherwise be categorized as long distance from the home exchange to the terminating exchange.


Clearnet submitted that equal access must be provided to IXCs only for calls initiated by local exchange carrier (LEC) subscribers. The company noted that it should not have to provide end-users with access to the IXSP of their choice in cases where a wireless subscriber receives a call, and a "long distance" call must be initiated because the subscriber has roamed outside of the local calling area of the home exchange. The company argued that the Clearnet subscriber does not initiate the second leg of the call; rather the subscriber is receiving a call initiated by someone else. Clearnet submitted that such a call is not an equal access call since the Clearnet subscriber did not originate the call, nor did it have any explicit role in deciding the call's routing by dialing a specific prefix and telephone number.


Bell Canada et al. noted that, by introducing correlation between equal access and home exchanges, Clearnet's proposal reduces the number of long distance calls that it must route to a competitive IXC and removes the element of end-user choice of IXC, contrary to the intention of Telecom Decision CRTC 92-12, dated 12 June 1992, entitled Competition in the provision of public long distance voice telephone services and related resale and sharing issues, and Decision 97-8.


Bell Canada et al. argued that, consistent with the principle of end-user choice, wireless CLECs should be required to provide equal access in the end-user's home exchange and in an exchange where the end-user roams. Bell Canada et al. also submitted that the obligation for Clearnet to provide equal access should extend to the wireless end-user's total toll calling requirements, including calls destined to an end-user roaming outside the local calling area.


Bell Canada et al. noted that this might not be technically feasible in certain instances, such as when an end-user is roaming in a territory where service is actually provided by another wireless carrier. Bell Canada et al. also submitted that in some cases, a wireless end-user's preferred toll service provider may choose not to provide service in all locations being served by Clearnet. Bell Canada et al. said the obligation for wireless CLECs to provide equal access should be contingent on the technical feasibility of wireless CLECs to provide equal access, and on the IXSP's ability to support the toll calls.


In reply, Clearnet noted the Commission comprehensively addressed the issue of the geographic scope of a wireless CLEC's obligations in paragraph 10 of Telecom Order CRTC 98-1, dated 7 January 1998:
The Commission also considers that CLECs, including wireless CLECs, need only provide 911, MRS and equal access in the serving area or areas where they operate as a CLEC. Stentor's contention that customers of wireless CLECs should have access to these services wherever they roam, would impose a far greater obligation on wireless CLECs than on wireline CLECs, and would effectively prevent wireless providers from selecting their own CLEC serving areas. The Commission therefore finds that the imposition of such additional obligations on wireless CLECs would not be consistent with the intention of the Commission to establish a framework that is neutral in terms of technology.


Clearnet submitted that in any event, Bell Canada et al.'s complaint regarding originating calls is without foundation because Clearnet will be providing equal access functionality on originating calls throughout its digital service area.


However, Clearnet objected to having to provide equal access on mobile terminating calls. The company noted that Bell Canada does not provide equal access on terminating calls to customers of SimplyOne service. Clearnet submitted that it would be impractical to provide equal access on mobile terminating calls.


Decision 97-8 required that a CLEC provide equal access to its end-users in order to preclude exclusive arrangements, which would limit those end-users to the IXSP of the CLEC's choice. The Commission considers that an IXSP should be able to address a mobile wireless subscriber's total requirements for interexchange service.


The Commission finds Clearnet's proposal to provide equal access functionality on originating calls throughout its digital service area to be consistent with the principle of end-user choice.


Consistent with the principle of end-user choice, the Commission also considers that the end-users of a mobile wireless CLEC should have equal access to the IXSP of their choice on mobile terminating calls, as long as they are roaming outside the local calling area associated with the end-user's home exchange. Although the roaming subscriber does not dial the long distance call, the subscriber causes the call by roaming, and is responsible for the applicable charges.


Accordingly, the Commission directs Clearnet to provide equal access on mobile terminating calls where an end-user is roaming outside the local calling area associated with the home exchange. This requirement is subject to Clearnet's ability to provide equal access and the IXSP's ability to provide the service.
Equal access and distance sensitive pricing


To facilitate distance-sensitive billing, Clearnet proposed to make available an optional mechanism whereby the geographic co-ordinates of a wireless-originated call may be determined. Clearnet submitted that it is unaware of the demand for the delivery of call detail records at this time. Clearnet was prepared to negotiate with IXCs the specific characteristics and pricing associated with this call detail record delivery service.


Bell Canada et al. and TELUS noted that pursuant to Decision 97-8, the ILECs are required to interconnect their interexchange networks with every CLEC. Bell Canada et al. and TELUS submitted that with wireless users roaming, it is not possible for an IXSP to determine where a wireless call originated, and hence to apply distance-sensitive rates.


TELUS was concerned that even when a long distance call is originated within the local calling area and routed back to the home exchange by Clearnet, the IXSP would be unable to rate the call correctly.


Bell Canada et al. objected to having to interconnect with mobile wireless CLECs unless:
a) a technology solution is developed so that the location where the call is originated is provided through the CCS7 message; or
b) the wireless CLECs provide the ILECs with call detail records in suitable format.


Bell Canada et al. submitted that the interexchange operations of the ILECs should be provided the option of not interconnecting with Clearnet.


Clearnet indicated that for well over a decade certain wireless operators in the United States provided equal access for toll calls. During that period, the LEC-IXC interconnection standards were not modified in order to provide any incremental information to the IXCs with respect to the location of the wireless subscriber.


Clearnet submitted that IXCs in the United States accommodated the geographic ambiguity associated with wireless equal access by developing wireless-specific rating plans (e.g. uniform per-minute rate plans which are independent of the location of the wireless subscriber).


Clearnet objected to ILECs being relieved of the obligation to interconnect with wireless CLECs for the purpose of terminating interexchange calls, noting that this would result in exactly the type of new entrant foreclosure that the Commission was concerned about in Decision 97-8. However, Clearnet had no objection to Bell Canada et al. being relieved of any obligation to offer their long distance plans on an equal access basis to Clearnet's subscribers.


At this time, the Commission exempts the ILECs from having to interconnect their interexchange networks with Clearnet in view of the billing and routing issues raised for IXSPs when a wireless CLEC's subscriber roams. The Commission also exempts Clearnet from having to file executed CLEC-IXC agreements with the ILECs to achieve CLEC status.


The Commission requests the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee (CISC) Network Interconnection Group to address possible solutions to the interexchange billing and routing issues raised by roaming subscribers of mobile wireless CLECs under the equal access regime, and to report within 90 days of the date of this order.
Clearnet's proposal to collect and remit interexchange contribution


Clearnet indicated that it was prepared to determine contribution eligibility and to calculate the applicable interexchange contribution charges when a toll call is originated by and/or terminated to a mobile wireless end-user in a manner consistent with the contribution regime established in Decision 97-8.


Clearnet, however, submitted that it would incur significant costs to change from the current per-circuit surcharge contribution approach applicable to WSPs to a per-minute contribution approach based on the ILECs exchange boundaries. As an alternative to the per-minute based contribution regime for assessing contribution on long distance traffic on its network, Clearnet proposed to apply the existing WSP per-circuit surcharges against its local interconnection arrangements.


Clearnet submitted that the Commission might soon change the current contribution collection mechanism pursuant to the proceeding initiated in Review of contribution collection mechanism and related issues, Telecom Public Notice CRTC 99-6, dated 1 March 1999.


In the event that its proposal to assess contribution on a per-circuit surcharge basis is rejected, Clearnet requested that the Commission grant it a phase-in period of six months to change from a per-circuit basis to a per-minute contribution regime in respect of Clearnet's own long distance traffic.


Microcell supported Clearnet's proposal to recover contribution from its own long distance traffic based on the WSP per-trunk rates.


Bell Canada et al. and TELUS submitted that Clearnet's proposal regarding the recovery of contribution associated with its own long distance traffic should be denied. Bell Canada et al. noted that the rule established in Decision 97-8 that ILECs' local calling area boundaries must be used to define long distance for the purposes of contribution has been in place for more than three years. Bell Canada et al. also noted that all other CLECs currently in operation are subject to this rule. Bell Canada et al. argued that Clearnet's request directly contradicts the principle set forth in Decision 97-8 that the rules regarding the CLECs' obligations should be independent of technology.


Bell Canada et al. submitted that to exempt Clearnet from this long standing requirement and the associated expense of developing similar functionality that Microcell has already developed would be unfair to Microcell (and any other CLECs which may have developed similar functionality).


Bell Canada et al. submitted that approval of Clearnet's proposal would also require additional procedures in the administration of the central funds.


In Decision 97-8, the Commission established that the present ILECs' exchanges would be maintained as the elementary unit for the purposes of interconnection and calculation of contribution in the competitive environment.


The Commission considers that Clearnet should be required to collect and remit contribution according to the Decision 97-8 regime established for CLECs. The Commission notes that on an ongoing basis other carriers, including Microcell, are seeking CLEC status in accordance with this regime. The Commission is further concerned that Clearnet's proposal might impose additional costs on the central fund administrator.


Accordingly, the Commission finds that if it wishes to be a CLEC, Clearnet must pay contribution on its own long distance traffic according to the rules set out in Decision 97-8.
Identifying Clearnet's obligations regarding 9-1-1 service


Clearnet proposed to continue employing the existing WSP 9-1-1 call routing arrangements. Clearnet proposed to reconsider its position once the technical feasibility of Wireless Enhanced 9-1-1 (Wireless E9-1-1) service has been demonstrated and the service is available.
a) Should emergency services have access to wireless CLECs' subscriber records?


The AEAA requested that Clearnet be required to support the inclusion of wireless subscriber records (i.e., phone number, name, and billing address) in the Automatic Location Identifier (ALI) database.


The AEAA acknowledged that wireless subscriber records are not as useful as having an actual location record delivered. The AEAA however noted that the phone number, customer name, and billing address of a wireless CLEC subscriber would provide an immediate starting point for the PSAPs' legal and moral obligation to locate callers who call 9-1-1 but cannot communicate.


Bell Canada et al. noted that trunk-side 9-1-1 routing arrangements for 9-1-1 service are available.


Clearnet objected to having to provide wireless subscriber records arguing that this information was meaningless because wireless subscribers can roam.


The Commission agrees with the AEAA that, in an emergency, the information contained in wireless subscribers' records could be of value to the PSAPs. The Commission considers that, as a CLEC, Clearnet should provide the end-users of its resellers with 9-1-1 service functionality that is better than what it currently provides them as a WSP. The Commission considers that until Wireless E9-1-1 is implemented, Clearnet should support the inclusion of the subscriber records of its resellers' end-users in the ALI databases.


The Commission directs Clearnet to update the relevant ALI databases with its subscribers' records where it operates as a CLEC. Clearnet is also directed to use the trunk-side routing arrangement for 9-1-1 service referenced in the comments of Bell Canada et al. The Commission considers that any operational issues associated with its directives should be resolved in the CISC emergency services working group. Therefore, the Commission requests the CISC Intercarrier Operations Group - Emergency Services (9-1-1) to address any operational issues associated with the above-noted directives to Clearnet.


The Commission considers that mobile wireless CLECs should provide 9-1-1 service functionality comparable to that provided by wireline CLECs. The Commission thus directs Clearnet to implement Wireless E9-1-1 as soon as the service becomes available in any of the ILECs' serving areas where the company will be operating as a CLEC.
b) At what rate should the existing 9-1-1 service functionality be available to mobile wireless CLECs?


Clearnet noted that as a CLEC, it would continue to receive the same reduced level of 9-1-1 service functionality that it receives today as a WSP. The company requested that the Commission confirm that the 9-1-1 service provided to Clearnet by the ILECs would continue to be rated in accordance with the approach in effect for WSPs.


TELUS objected to Clearnet's request to continue paying the WSP rate for 9-1-1 service, arguing that it should pay the same rate as other CLECs.


The Commission directs the ILECs to continue providing 9-1-1 service to Clearnet as a CLEC at the WSP rates, in view of the reduced level of service available to mobile wireless carriers until the implementation of Wireless E9-1-1.
c) Is there a need for legal agreements?


The AEAA noted that Clearnet was completely silent on the requirement to execute agreements with municipalities for provisioning of 9-1-1 service and for billing and collection where appropriate.


The AEAA submitted that Clearnet's proposal to use the existing wireless arrangements does not exempt the company from entering into 9-1-1 service agreements and, where applicable, billing and collection agreements. The AEAA suggested that the CISC Intercarrier Operations Group - Emergency Services (9-1-1) should be instructed to address the interconnection issues associated with a wireless CLEC, as well as existing wireless service providers related to 9-1-1 interconnection issues including:
a) the Trunk-Side CLEC Interconnection Document;
b) master agreements that include the Interconnection Agreement for the Provision of 9-1-1 Service to a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier; and
c) provincial agreements between CLECs & Municipalities for the Provisioning of 9-1-1 Service, and Billing and Collection (as applicable).


The AEAA also requested that Clearnet be directed to execute the applicable 9-1-1 contracts with PSAP municipalities and 9-1-1 platform providers.


Clearnet noted that its proposed tariff contains the legal underpinnings to support 9-1-1 service pending the signing of agreements with municipalities.


Bell Canada et al. noted that the 9-1-1 service tariff proposed by Clearnet describes a 9-1-1 service offering that is achievable only through a trunk-side arrangement, and which provides ALI location determination for a wireless cell site/sector.


The Commission considers that it would not be appropriate to approve Clearnet's proposed tariff for 9-1-1 service prior to Wireless E9-1-1 service becoming available.


The Commission reminds Clearnet that CLECs have the obligation to execute agreements between themselves and the municipalities for the provision of 9-1-1 service, and as applicable, billing and collection arrangements. The Commission directs Clearnet to either enter into agreements with the municipalities to arrange for the provision of 9-1-1 service and, where appropriate, billing and collection service, or file proposed tariffs for Commission approval, prior to the implementation of Wireless E9-1-1.


The Commission notes that some of the model agreements will have to be amended to accommodate mobile wireless CLECs. This task could be best handled by the CISC Intercarrier Operations Group - Emergency Services (9-1-1).


The Commission requests the CISC Intercarrier Operations Group - Emergency Services (9-1-1) to start reviewing and revising the documents identified in paragraph 53 of this order to address interconnection issues for the provision of 9-1-1 service by a mobile wireless CLEC, including Wireless E9-1-1 service.
Disposition of the tariff filing


Bell Canada et al. submitted that amendments were required to Clearnet's General Tariff to correct some errors, and to ensure consistency with other CLECs' approved General Tariffs. Clearnet generally did not object to the changes suggested by Bell Canada et al.


In addition to the above, the Commission considers that Clearnet's tariff requires a number of other minor changes for the purpose of correcting and/or clarifying various references and provisions.


In light of the foregoing, the Commission orders that:
1. The proposed tariffs are approved on an interim basis with the following amendments:
a) in Item 101:
i) delete the words "including anticipated long distance charges" from the end of the sentence in Article 6.7;
ii) in Article 8.3, change the reference from "Article 10" to "Article 10.1"; and
iii) in Article 10.1, delete the words "the greater of $20";
b) in Item 102, Definitions:
i) in the definition of "account receivable", replace the term "IXC" with the term "IXSP";
ii) in the definition of "Canada-U.S. circuit", delete the phrase "where the Class A licensee controls the routing of the traffic carried on the circuit" from the end of the sentence;
iii) in the definition of "class A licensee", move the second and third sentence at the end of sub-item (c) to a new paragraph;
iv) in the definition of "feature group D service", replace the second occurrence of the dialing provision "011+" with the dialing provision "01+";
v) in the definition of line-side access, add the words "or egress" immediately after the words "to access";
vi) replace the definition of "overseas circuit" with the following:
Overseas circuit means a circuit that connects a service or a facility of an international service provider to a country other than the United States, directly or via an overseas carrier, for the purpose of providing overseas services.
vii) in the definition of "telephone numbers", add the words "with outpulsing" immediately after the words "seven digit numbers"; and
viii) in the definition of trunk-side access, add the dialing provision "1+950".
c) replace the monthly rates in the table in Item 202(b) with the following:
Trunk termination charge
Up to 24 trunks
Up to 48 trunks
Up to 72 trunks
Up to 96 trunks
Over 96 trunks


British Columbia
Trunk termination charge
Up to 24 trunks
Up to 48 trunks
Up to 72 trunks
Up to 96 trunks
Over 96 trunks


Ontario and Quebec
Trunk termination charge
Up to 24 trunks
Up to 48 trunks
Up to 72 trunks
Up to 96 trunks
Over 96 trunks


Nova Scotia
Trunk termination charge
Up to 24 trunks
Up to 48 trunks
Up to 72 trunks
Up to 96 trunks
Over 96 trunks


d) delete Part F of the proposed tariff in its entirety.
2. Clearnet issue forthwith revised tariff pages incorporating the changes set out above.
3. Clearnet file forthwith:
a) its PIC/CARE (primary interexchange carrier/customer account record exchange) Handbook; and
b) an unexecuted copy of its BLIF (Basic Listing Interchange File) agreement.
Secretary General
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