ARCHIVED - Decision CRTC 2001-299

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Decision CRTC 2001-299

Ottawa, 31 May 2001

File: 8622-T5-01/00


Mr. Michel Gilbert
Télébec ltée
7151, rue Jean-Talon Est
Anjou (Québec)
H1M 3N8

Maskatel inc.
c/o Me Jean-François Hébert
Fasken Martineau DuMoulin
Bureau 800
140, Grande Allée Est
Québec (Québec) G1R 5M8

Re: Télébec Part VII Application: Foreign exchange (FX) service offered by Maskatel in Télébec's territory

Dear Sirs:

The Commission denies Télébec's application and directs Maskatel to advise its customers that the FX service it offers is not a substitute for local service.

Maskatel inc. is a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) in the St-Hyacinthe area. Maskatel is also operating as an interexchange carrier (IXC). As an IXC, Maskatel is offering interexchange private line (IXPL) services to customers within Télébec ltée's territory.

On 22 June 2000, Télébec filed a Part VII application seeking an order from the Commission directing Maskatel to suspend offering of its foreign exchange (FX) service in Télébec's territory until the Commission could rule on the present request. Télébec further requested that the Commission put in place a mechanism to ensure that Maskatel does not link any IXPL service offered to customers in Télébec's territory to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) in Maskatel's exchange. Finally, Télébec asked the Commission to establish a mechanism ensuring that Maskatel provide Télébec with all information permitted to calculate the contribution that would be due to Télébec.

In its application, Télébec was of the view that the service proposed by Maskatel is a substitute to local phone service and since local competition is not allowed in its territory, Maskatel should not be allowed to offer the service.

Télébec submitted that local service should be defined as a service that provides access to the PSTN and permits customers to make local calls within the extended area service (EAS). In Télébec's view, this would include interexchange circuits providing access to the PSTN.

Télébec noted that the issue is not whether Maskatel is operating as a CLEC; rather it is the impact on Télébec's revenues and the Carrier Access Tariff paid by other IXCs.

In response to the Télébec application, Maskatel submitted that some customers in Télébec's St-Thomas d'Aquin exchange already use FX service offered by Bell Canada. Maskatel submitted that Télébec is opposing the offering by Maskatel of that same FX service.

Maskatel also submitted that, as an IXC, it has the right to offer IXPL services. Maskatel noted that the Commission, in Telecom Order CRTC 99-435, refrained from the exercise of its powers and the performance of its duties under sections 27(2) and (4) of the Telecommunications Act with respect to IXPL services provided by Canadian carriers that are subject to Forbearance - Services provided by non-dominant Canadian carriers, Telecom Decision CRTC 95-19, dated 8 September 1995.

The Commission notes that FX service is defined in several Commission-approved tariffs as an "interexchange service which provides individual line service from an exchange which does not normally serve the area in which the customer to such service is located". Télébec defines FX service as an exchange service provided from another exchange that doesn't serve the territory where the customer is situated.

The Commission considers that Télébec's contention that local service should be defined as a service that provides access to the PSTN to permit customers to make local calls within the EAS would effectively mean that all interconnected IXPL services are local services. The Commission considers that it would be inappropriate to radically change the definition and use of IXPL services at this stage because Maskatel's FX service which is being provided on the same basis as all other telephone companies for many years, may be affecting Télébec's revenues.

The Commission notes further that Télébec's desired definition would apply to mobile wireless service (cellular and PCS).

In addition, the Commission notes that in Local competition, Telecom Decision CRTC 97-8, dated 1 May 1997, the Commission established principles and procedures that would permit competitive entry into the local exchange market. Among others, the Commission ordered shared cost local interconnection and mandated unbundling of certain incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) service and facility components. In addition, the Commission established a contribution mechanism to which CLECs have access. The Commission also mandated local number portability to allow customers to keep their phone numbers.

The Commission notes that, with regard to the FX service offered by Maskatel, Maskatel and its customers would not have the benefits that a CLEC would have if local competition were allowed in Télébec's territory. In particular, Maskatel is unable to port numbers from Télébec or have access to Télébec's local loops and other essential facilities. Furthermore, Maskatel is unable to collect subsidy on customers in St-Thomas d'Aquin who subscibe to its FX service.

Therefore, the Commission considers that the FX service offered by Maskatel does not result in Maskatel offering service as a local exchange carrier in Télébec's territory. Maskatel, as an IXC, also has the right to offer IXPL services to Télébec's customers to the extent that the service is not presented to customers as a replacement for local phone service.

This being said, the Commission is of the view that Maskatel's customers who use the FX service should be made aware of the possible implications that may result from using this service, especially with regard to emergency services such as 9-1-1.

With regard to Télébec's request to establish a mechanism ensuring that Maskatel provide Télébec with all information permitted to calculate the due contribution, the Commission notes that Maskatel, as an IXC, is, and will continue to be, required to fulfill all the obligations of an IXC, including those related to contribution.

In light of the above, the Télébec application is denied.

Also, Maskatel is directed to advise its customers:

  • that the FX service it offers is not a substitute for local service;
  • that FX service does not typically provide access to certain services that are usually available with local services (such as directory listings and emergency services from the home exchange of the customer); and
  • of an exhaustive list of services that are unavailable to Maskatel's FX customers.

Maskatel is required to provide the Commission with a draft of the notice to customers for review. Before any further provision of its FX service, Maskatel must provide its FX customers with a copy of the reviewed notice to customers.

Ursula Menke,
Secretary General

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