ARCHIVED - Public Notice CRTC 2000-54

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Public Notice CRTC 2000-54

Ottawa, 17 April 2000

Independent telephone companies' service improvement plans

Reference: 8638-C12-25/99
In this Public Notice, the Commission is initiating a proceeding to review the service improvement plans (SIPs) of Amtelecom, North Frontenac, Northern Telephone and O.N. Tel. The Commission will also review North Frontenac's proposal to reduce its contribution requirement to no more than 25% of the total revenue requirement by 2002, and Nantes' situation regarding service improvement and contribution requirement.



In Telephone service to high-cost serving areas, Telecom Decision CRTC 99-16, dated 19 October 1999, the Commission considered that the level of service now available to the vast majority of Canadians should be extended to as many Canadians as feasible in all regions of the country. Among others, this includes individual line Touch-Tone service from a digital switch, low speed toll-free data transmission to the Internet, access to emergency services and access to the long distance network. To achieve this basic service objective, the Commission directed all independent telephone companies (the independents) to file SIPs, for Commission approval, by 1 March 2000 (except Québec-Téléphone and Télébec for which other deadlines were set), or to demonstrate that the basic service objective has been and will continue to be achieved in their territory.


To assist the independents in developing their SIPs, the Commission encouraged them to consult their stakeholders prior to submitting their SIPs. The Commission also stated that plans should first give priority to larger communities, unserved areas and permanent dwellings. The Commission further noted that the plans should incorporate least-cost technology and should provide a reasonable balance between the speed and cost of implementation and the need to maintain affordable rates, if rate increases are required. In this regard, the Commission also stated that independents would not be allowed to increase their contribution requirement (subsidy) above the 25% target or the capped contribution requirement established in Review of contribution regime of independent telephone companies in Ontario and Quebec, Telecom Decision CRTC 99-5, dated 21 April 1999 to fund their SIPs. Finally, the Commission directed the independents to file a proposed tracking plan to monitor the progress of their SIPs.


In Decision 99-5, the Commission directed those independents whose contribution requirement exceeds 25% of their total revenue requirement (25% threshold), to file with the Commission a proposal detailing how they intend to reduce their subsidy requirement, by 2002, to no more than 25%.


In Decision 99-5, the Commission also recognized that the independents should be given sufficient flexibility to choose how to reduce their subsidy requirement. To that effect, the Commission noted that independents could choose to further increase residential, business and/or optional local rates and/or penetration rates, improve their productivity, reduce costs, or otherwise restructure their rates. However, to encourage the independents to increase their revenues from sources other than residential local rates, the Commission directed that the independents limit their residential basic local rate increases up to a maximum of $5 per month, annually, for each of the years 2000 and 2001.


In Tariff Notice 118 filed on 31 December 1999, Northern Telephone Limited submitted Phase I of its SIP which, among other things, would provide approximately 1,800 unserved and underserved customers with service that meets the basic service objective, by 31 December 2000.


In Telecom Order CRTC 2000-162, 29 February 2000, the Commission approved a local rate increase to most customers in Northern's operating territory in part to assist the financing of Phase I of its SIP. The Commission also directed Northern to establish a special reserve account to insulate its Carrier Access Tariff rates from the effect of the SIP. Furthermore, the Commission extended Northern's filing deadline for Phase II of its SIP.


Northern filed Phase II of its SIP together with Tariff Notice 126 on 15 March 2000.


On 1 March 2000, Amtelecom Inc., North Frontenac Telephone Co. and O.N. Tel each filed their SIPs, together with their proposed rate increases. North Frontenac also filed its proposal and related tariff notice to reduce its subsidy requirement from contribution to no more than the 25% threshold by 2002 (the 25% proposal).


The Commission notes that North Frontenac and O.N. Tel both requested local rate increases effective 1 July 2000. The Commission considers that the information filed in support of North Frontenac's and O.N. Tel's local rate increase of 1 July 2000 is insufficient. The Commission will request additional information on those increases and make a determination on the matter in due course.


The Commission has also received submissions from the other independents regarding their need for a SIP and their 25% proposal, where required. The Commission will deal with these filings separately.


On 29 February 2000, the Société d'administration des tarifs d'accès des télécommunicateurs (SATAT), on behalf of Compagnie Téléphone Nantes Inc., submitted that Nantes could not meet the basic service objective without excessive local rate increases. SATAT also noted that the Commission's decision to limit the subsidy from contribution to the 25% threshold compounded Nantes' situation. SATAT did not file a SIP on Nantes' behalf or indicate whether Nantes could meet the 25% threshold. It stated that it would study various solutions, including possible government assistance, and would advise the Commission of any further development.


The Commission hereby initiates a proceeding to examine: 1) all aspects of the SIPs filed by Amtelecom, North Frontenac, Northern and O.N. Tel; 2) North Frontenac's 25% proposal and related tariff notice; and 3) Nantes' situation regarding service improvement and the 25% threshold.



Amtelecom, North Frontenac, Nantes, Northern and O.N. Tel (the companies) are made parties to this proceeding.


The companies' proposals can be examined at the companies' respective business offices or at the CRTC offices at the following locations:
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
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


Parties 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 17 May 2000. Parties are to indicate their e-mail address, where available. If parties do not have access to the Internet, they are to indicate whether they wish to receive disk versions of hard copy filings. The Commission will issue a complete list of parties and their mailing addresses (including e-mail addresses if available), identifying those parties who wish to receive disk versions.
       16. The companies proposing to increase their local rates who have not sent a billing insert are to mail billing inserts to their customers. Similarly, those companies who have not placed advertizements in newspapers are to do so in local and/or regional newspapers. The billing insert is to notify subscribers, and the newspaper advertizements are to inform, more particularly, unserved prospective customers that pursuant to the Commission's direction: (i) the company has filed its SIP and, in the case of North Frontenac, its 25% proposal. The notice should include a summary of the company's SIP and, in the case of North Frontenac, its 25% proposal; (ii) the SIP and, in the case of North Frontenac, its 25% proposal will be available for public inspection during normal business hours at the business offices of the respective telephone company and the offices of the Commission; and (iii) subscribers and any unserved prospective customers may provide comments by writing to the Commission, with a copy to the applicable company, by 8 September 2000. Billing inserts should be received by all subscribers, and the newspaper advertizements should be published no later than 16 June 2000.
        17. The Commission is issuing initial interrogatories to the companies together with this public notice. These interrogatories are being sent to the companies under separate cover.
       18. Responses to initial interrogatories addressed pursuant to paragraph 17 are to be filed with the Commission and served on all parties by 1 June 2000.
       19. Requests by interested parties for public disclosure of information for which confidentiality has been claimed in the response to the interrogatories filed pursuant to paragraph 17, setting out in each case the reasons for disclosure, must be filed with the Commission and served on the relevant company by 8 June 2000.
        20. Written responses to requests for public disclosure filed pursuant to paragraph 19 must be filed with the Commission and served on all interested parties by 15 June 2000.
        21. A determination will be issued with respect to the requests for disclosure as soon as possible. Parties will be directed to file any information to be provided pursuant to that determination with the Commission and served on interested parties by 29 June 2000.
        22. Any party may address interrogatories to the companies. Any such interrogatories must be filed with the Commission and served on the companies to which the interrogatories are addressed, by 6 July 2000.
        23. Responses to all interrogatories addressed pursuant to paragraph 22 are to be filed with the Commission and served on all parties, by 27 July 2000.
        24. Requests by parties for further responses to their interrogatories, specifying in each case why a further response is both relevant and necessary, and requests for public disclosure of information for which confidentiality has been claimed, setting out the reasons for disclosure, must be filed with the Commission and served on the companies in question by 4 August 2000.
        25. Written responses to requests for further responses to interrogatories and for public disclosure must be filed with the Commission and served on the party or parties making the request by 11 August 2000.
        26. A determination will be issued with respect to requests for disclosure and for further responses as soon as possible. Parties will be directed to file any information to be provided pursuant to that determination with the Commission and served on all parties to the proceeding by 25 August 2000.
  27. Parties may file comments, serving copies on all other parties, by 8 September 2000.
        28. The companies may file reply comments, serving copies on all parties, by 22 September 2000.
       29. 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
        30. When a document is required to be filed or served by a specific date, the document must be actually received, not merely sent, by that date.
Secretary General
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