ARCHIVED - Order CRTC 2001-260

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Order CRTC 2001-260

  Ottawa, 28 March 2001

Basic Listing Interchange File Service offered to both LECs and independent directory publishers at the same rate 

  Reference: 8662-D23-01/00
  The Commission directs all LECs to issue revised BLIF tariff pages forthwith to make the service available to independent directory publishers. The service must be offered at the same rate to both LECs and independent directory publishers.
1. On 1 September 2000, Endymion Holdings Limited, Koocanusa Publications Inc., Infobook Directories Inc., The Phone Book Company, Info-tel Directory, Colour Pages Directory and Southam Inc. filed an application pursuant to section 62 of the Telecommunications Act (the Act) and Part VII of the CRTC Telecommunications Rules of Procedure requesting that, among other things, the Commission review and vary its decision in Order CRTC 2000-167, in order to allow independent directory publishers to subscribe to the Basic Listing Interchange File (BLIF) of the incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) and competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs).

Position of the applicants

2. The Applicants submitted, among other things, that the Commission's decision to limit the availability of BLIF to local exchange carriers (LECs, collectively ILECs and CLECs), raises unique issues for the independent directory publishing industry that were not considered by the Commission in the context of Order 2000-167 in that:

i) limiting access to the lower priced BLIF tariffs to the ILECs and CLECs prevents independent directory publishers from competing with these carriers in the provision of telephone directories and on-line services on the same cost basis;


ii) the ILECs' Directory File Service (DFS) services no longer provide independent directory publishers with a complete set of subscriber listings because they do not include CLEC listings.

3. The independent directory publishers submitted that Order 2000-167 confers on LECs an undue and unreasonable advantage, contrary to section 27(2) of the Act. In addition, Order 2000-167 is inconsistent with the clear statement of the Governor-in-Council in Order Varying Telecom Decision 95-14 (P.C. 1996-1001) that "fair and sustainable competition in the directory publishing market is in the public interest".

Position of the respondents

4. In response to the application, Bell Canada on behalf of itself, Island Telecom Inc., Maritime Tel & Tel Limited, MTS Communications Inc., NBTel Inc., and NewTel Communications Inc., and TELUS Communications (B.C.) Inc. and TELUS Communications Inc. (collectively TELUS) submitted, among other things, that BLIF was developed by industry representatives as a means for exchange of subscriber listings between LECs as directed in Telecom Decision 97-8, Local competition, dated 1 May 1997.
5. The Respondents noted that DFS was developed with the independent directory publishers to meet their needs to publish directories comparable to those published by the ILECs. Moreover, there are a number of differences between DFS and BLIF service. For example, DFS provides more detailed customer listings than the BLIF service.
6. The Respondents further submitted that it is inappropriate for the applicants to selectively compare themselves to CLECs and to imply that the conclusions of Decision 97-8 in respect to CLECs in any way apply to independent directory publishers. The Respondents noted that directory publishers are not regulated by the Commission, nor do they have any obligations of the sort imposed on CLECs as part of the framework for competition in the local exchange market.

Commission's findings

7. Subscriber listings obtained pursuant to both the DFS and BLIF tariffs are used to publish telephone directories. In Order 2000-167, the Commission restricted access to the BLIF service to LECs. The BLIF service provides to LECs both ILEC and CLEC subscriber listings. By contrast, the DFS service available to independent directory publishers only provides ILEC subscriber listings. In addition, the rates for subscriber listings under the BLIF tariff are generally significantly lower than the rates under the DFS tariff.
8. The Commission recognizes that BLIF service may not offer the same level of detail of customer listings that can be obtained under the DFS tariff; however, the Commission considers that the price differential between the two services and the lack of availability of CLEC listings under the DFS tariff is of greater consequence. In the Commission's view, restricting the BLIF service to LECs allows them to publish a more complete telephone directory than independent publishers and provides a significant cost advantage over independent directory publishers.
9. The Commission notes that the purpose of establishing the DFS tariff for independent directory publishers was to allow for competition in the provision of telephone directories. The subsequent establishment of the BLIF service was intended to allow for the exchange of subscriber listings between LECs. The intention was not to diminish the opportunity of independent directory publishers to compete in the market. However, the Commission finds that denying independent directory publishers access to BLIF creates an undue disadvantage for independent directory publishers and an unreasonable preference in favour of LECs
10. The Commission directs all LECs to issue revised BLIF tariff pages forthwith to make the service available to independent directory publishers. The service must be offered at the same rate to both LECs and independent directory publishers.
11. The Commission further finds that it is not appropriate to require ILECs, as requested by the applicants, to provide billing credits to independent directory publishers for the time that they obtained the more comprehensive DFS under the DFS service tariff.
12. Finally, in the matter of double charging for in and out orders under the DFS tariff , TELUS is directed to amend its billing method in British Columbia to make one charge only for in and out orders.
  Secretary General
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