ARCHIVED - Decision CRTC 2001-648
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Decision CRTC 2001-648
Ottawa, 15 October 2001
To: Interested Parties
Subject: NPA 514 relief date and other matters
The Commission has received an application regarding Order CRTC 2000-1187, New area code overlay to be introduced in 514 region, dated 22 December 2000, and Order CRTC 2000-1187-1, dated 5 January 2001. These orders set out a relief method and date for area code 514 as well as several other directions related to relief of this area code.
In a joint application filed 14 May 2001, Aliant Telecom Inc., Bell Canada, MTS Communications Inc., Saskatchewan Telecommunications and TELUS Communications Inc. (collectively, the companies) requested that the Commission:
Comments on this application were received from Aliant Telecom Inc., AT&T Canada, Bell Canada, MTS Communications Inc., Saskatchewan Telecommunications and TELUS Communications Inc.
The Commission has fully considered the companies' application as well as the submissions filed by interested parties and renders the following determinations on each of the four requests made in the application.
Request to suspend the relief date
The Commission notes that the results of the mid-year 2001 COCUS referred to in the companies' application have been taken into consideration in its determination and that there is therefore no need to suspend the relief date pending these results.
Further, the Commission is of the view that the suspension of a relief date is not in the public interest since it would result in confusion for customers and service providers. There is, however, sufficient evidence to warrant a deferral of the relief date to 7 February 2004.
Request to reduce the frequency of COCUS surveys
While the Commission believes that quarterly COCUSs greatly increase the ability to respond to sudden increases in demand and thereby mitigate a portion of the risk associated with a deferral of the relief date, conducting quarterly COCUSs for an extended period of time places an additional burden on both telecommunications service providers and the Canadian Numbering Administrator (CNA).
Taking into consideration both the benefits and difficulties associated with conducting quarterly COCUSs, the Commission directs that COCUS data be collected semi-annually in NPA 514 until the first quarter of 2003. Then quarterly COCUSs would resume. Data for semi-annual COCUSs in area code 514 will be collected by the CNA in February and August 2002. Data for quarterly COCUSs in area code 514 will be collected by the CNA in February, May and August 2003.
Request to reduce the length of the permissive dialing period
The request made by the companies to shorten the permissive dialing period appears to be based upon experience with the implementation of relief in area codes 416 and 905. These area codes are not representative case studies, however, since customers in both these area codes already had significant exposure to 10-digit local dialing prior to relief. Also, in both of these cases, the Commission indicated that it would have preferred to establish a longer permissive dialing period but that there was not sufficient time remaining before the relief date to do so.
Although there is a certain amount of 10-digit local dialing between area code 514 and area code 450, it has not been demonstrated that the requirements of customers in area code 514 are comparable to those of customers in area codes 416 and 905. The experiences in other area code relief projects in Canada has confirmed that consumers need to be notified well in advance of the implementation start of a permissive dialing announcement.
All consumers and, in particular, businesses, need many months to change and/or upgrade their telecommunications equipment. They also need a reasonable amount of time thereafter to adjust their dialing habits to a 10-digit dial plan.
The permissive announcement serves to assist in the transition to a new dial plan and puts in place a reminder to customers which does not result in the blocking of a call dialed on a seven-digit basis. The permissive announcement is a necessary component of a much larger and critical consumer awareness program. The benefits of reducing this period in favour of blocking calls, as was proposed, are not, in the Commission's view, in the best interest of consumers.
The Commission is not satisfied that parties to this proceeding have provided sufficient rationale to alter the length of the permissive dialing period established in Order 2000-1187. The permissive dialing period will be implemented by all carriers operating in area code 514 beginning on 18 October 2003 and ending on 7 February 2004.
Request to phase in the permissive dialing announcement
The Commission has no evidence that the phasing-in and phasing-out of the permissive dialing announcement produces any negative impact on customers and notes that it is also consistent with other recent rulings by the Commission. Carriers are therefore permitted to phase-in the standard text permissive dialing announcement between 18 October 2003 and 25 October 2003. Carriers may also phase-out this announcement between 7 February 2004 and 14 February 2004.
In addition, the Commission notes that since area code relief planning requires extensive effort and a high level of certainty on the part of both telecommunications service providers and their customers, any future applications made with respect to Orders 2000-1187, 2000-1187-1 or this decision will be considered in light of the potential harm that could result from further alterations to the relief planning process in area code 514.
The Commission notes that on 26 September 2001, a new set of Canadian area code relief guidelines were approved in Decision CRTC 2001-607. The Commission expects that all current area code relief activities will adhere to these guidelines to the greatest extent possible.
Prepared by Madeleine Bisson (819) 953-5494
Date Modified: 2001-10-15
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