ARCHIVED - Decision CRTC 2001-606

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Decision CRTC 2001-606

Reference: 8650-C25-01/01

Ottawa, 25 September 2001

To: Call-Net, Sprint, Bell Canada, all LECs, payphone operators and IXCs

Re: Part VII: Call-Net et al. - Pay telephone billing, invoicing and other issues

On 30 April 2001, Call-Net Enterprises Inc. submitted a letter to the Commission on behalf of itself and Sprint Canada Inc. (Call-Net et al.) outlining deficiencies in the "TR-317+" network signaling protocol used for toll-free access between incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) and interexchange carriers (IXCs). Call-Net et al. requested that the Commission direct the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee (CISC) to examine how to implement a new signaling protocol (TR/GR-394) and to issue a report within 60 days regarding the implementation of the TR/GR-394 protocol for toll-free interconnection.

The information currently available to IXCs on toll-free calls placed from payphones consists of the number of calls placed from payphones in each exchange to a particular toll-free number. Pending the implementation of the new protocol, Call-Net et al. requested that the Commission direct payphone providers to give IXCs, on request, call information including the calling payphone number, the called toll-free number, the originating date and time, the disconnect date and time, and answer type. In addition, Call-Net et al. requested that all payphone providers also be directed to provide IXCs with a complete list of their payphones, identified by payphone access line, exchange and civic location. Call-Net et al. later withdrew its request for civic location information.

Call-Net et al. stated that the signalling protocol currently in use was inadequate because it does not transmit information that would allow an IXC to identify a call to a toll-free number. IXCs are required to pay payphone operators for toll-free calls placed from their payphones. Call-Net et al. stated that the information requested is required to permit an IXC to verify its invoices from payphone operators, detect fraudulent activities and to bill its toll-free customers for the charge from the payphone operator.

Bell Canada was the only party to provide comments. With regard to Call-Net et al.'s request for a CISC study of the implementation of TR/GR-394, Bell Canada agreed that this was a subject that should be examined in CISC. However, it stated that given the complexity of the issues raised in the request by Call-Net et al. and the fact that CISC meetings are typically more difficult to co-ordinate during the summer months, the Commission should not mandate an interval for the production of a report less than 90 days from the Commission's determination.

The Commission notes that discussions related to the request by Call-Net et al. have been initiated in the CISC network interconnection group. Given that discussions have been underway, the Commission considers that a further 60 days from the date of this decision should give the committee adequate time to prepare its report. The Commission expects the report to identify the costs and benefits of implementing TR/GR-394 for toll-free interconnection and a timeline for implementation, starting at the date when a decision is made for implementation.

With reference to the request by Call-Net et al. that IXCs be provided with a complete list of their payphones, identified by payphone access lines, exchange and civic location, Bell Canada noted that this would require the disclosure to IXCs of highly sensitive and valuable competitive information. It is noted that IXCs are also current or potential participants in the payphone business or have established business arrangements with payphone providers. As the disclosure to IXCs of such information would cause specific direct harm to payphone service providers, Bell Canada was of the view that the request should be denied.

Bell Canada noted that the issue of the provision of call detail information requested by Call-Net et al. has already been addressed in the proceeding initiated by Telecom Public Notice CRTC 98-31, Pay telephone compensation per call for toll-free calls, dated 3 November 1998. In paragraph 28 of Telecom Order CRTC 99-1017, Pay telephone compensation per call for toll-free calls, dated 22 October 1999, the Commission specifically determined that call duration, time of day, and originating telephone number are not necessary to an IXC to verify its bill for the charge-per-call service. The Commission also concluded in paragraph 29 of Order 99-1017 that if an IXC wishes to receive any additional billing details, it should negotiate with Bell Canada to obtain such details. To Bell Canada's knowledge, no such request has been made to it by Call-Net et al.

Bell Canada stated that it continues to be of the view that the billing information currently presented by the payphone providers is sufficient. If Call-Net et al. needs additional information, Bell Canada is prepared to further discuss this matter with Call-Net et al. to explore the most appropriate means to meet Call-Net et al.'s requirements. Bell Canada indicated that it is prepared to initiate such discussions immediately. As the issues raised by Call-Net et al. are of a general industry nature, these issues might be more appropriately addressed by the CISC business process working group.

Call-Net et al. stated that the financial conditions of the competitors make it rather crucial that they be able to obtain details necessary for them to verify their toll-free service costs and to develop the price structure to recover these costs from customers. In the view of Call-Net et al. this is not an issue that should be left to negotiation with the ILECs who are the IXCs' biggest competitors.

The Commission does not consider that it is appropriate to require payphone providers to provide the call detail information sought by Call-Net et al. for all calls made from public payphones. The Commission is of the view that where an IXC has a reasonable suspicion of fraudulent or irregular activities, the IXC should have access to the information it requires in order to investigate further. The Commission expects that payphone operators will deal expeditiously with any IXC requests for such information.

Yours sincerely,

Ursula Menke
Secretary General

Date Modified: 2001-09-25

Date modified: