ARCHIVED - Order CRTC 2001-336

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Order CRTC 2001-336


Ottawa, 27 April 2001


Applications to create common local calling areas, and to add exchanges to a local calling area


Reference: TCBC Tariff Notices 4104, 4104A, 4127 and 4132


The CRTC denies TCBC's applications for the creation of common local calling areas in the Cariboo and the Central Okanagan Regions and for the addition of the Mission/Abbotsford exchanges to the Greater Vancouver Region local calling area of British Columbia.


TELUS Communications (B.C.) Inc. (TCBC) proposed to create common local calling areas for all residents and businesses in the Cariboo Region under TNs 4104/A, and in the central Okanagan region under TN 4127 and under TN 4132 to add the Mission and Abbotsford telephone exchanges to the Greater Vancouver Region local calling area of British Columbia.


The Commission has allowed expanded toll-free calling areas under two general approaches. The first approach has been through established Extended Area Service (EAS) criteria. EAS allows customers located in neighbouring telephone exchanges to call one another without incurring long distance charges.


The Commission has also sometimes approved expanded toll-free calling areas in circumstances when EAS criteria have not been met. In Bell Canada - Neighbourhood calling plan, Telecom Decision CRTC 92-22, dated 9 December 1992, while the Commission denied an application by Bell Canada providing for the introduction of neighbourhood calling plan, it indicated that it would be prepared to consider departures from the EAS criteria for the creation of toll-free calling areas provided certain considerations were taken into account. The considerations identified included the notion that subscribers pay the incremental costs and that subscribers subject to rate increases have an opportunity to vote on the proposal, and the possibility that the region or municipality bear some of the cost of a vote.


Subsequent to Decision 92-22, the Commission has considered the creation of toll-free calling areas which depart from the EAS criteria on a case-by-case basis.


The Commission notes that unless there are established and specific criteria for allowing expanded local calling in exchanges that do not qualify under the existing EAS criteria, the result will be a patchwork of decisions that could, in combination, have a significant impact on the evolution and maintenance of competitive telecommunications markets. The Commission considers it necessary to establish a framework that would balance the desire of customers for expanded local calling with the possible adverse impact on competition.


The Commission considers that it would not be appropriate to permit TCBC to further expand the local calling areas without first establishing general principles for toll-free calling. Therefore, the Commission denies TCBC's applications. The Commission notes, however, that it has initiated a proceeding in Framework for the expansion of local calling areas and related issues, Public Notice CRTC 2001-47, dated 27 April 2001, to establish a set of general principles and criteria to be used in assessing applications for creation of local calling areas, and TELUS Communications Inc. can file such applications once established.


TCBC filed TN 4104 on 12 September 2000, TN 4127 on 14 February 2001 and TN 4132 on 12 March 2001, to revise its General Tariff (CRTC 1005) and Special Assembly Tariff (CRTC 1020). TCBC filed an amendment to TN 4104 on 15 February 2001 to reflect the impact of Changes to the contribution regime, Decision CRTC 2000-745, dated 30 November 2000.


Secretary General


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