ARCHIVED - Order CRTC 2001-897

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Order CRTC 2001-897

Ottawa, 20 December 2001

CRTC denies Faximum's application for relief regarding the use of direct inward dialing trunks for fax applications

Reference: 8661-F14-01/01


Faximum Software Inc. asked the Commission to order TELUS Communications Inc. (TCI) to eliminate from its tariffs the requirement for customers to request a minimum of four direct inward dialing trunks. Following the proceeding initiated by the Faximum request, the Commission directs TCI to explore a Special Facilities Tariff (SFT) solution in consultation with Faximum. The Commission also directs TCI to submit an SFT application to the Commission within 60 days or submit a letter to explain why the company could not proceed with such an application.


On 10 July 2001, Faximum Software Inc. filed a Part VII application under the CRTC Telecommunications Rules of Procedure for relief regarding the use of direct inward dialing (DID) trunks for fax applications. Faximum requested that the Commission issue interim and final orders granting it and its customers the right to order DID trunks from TELUS Communications Inc. (TCI), operating in the province of British Columbia (TCI-B.C.), without the constraints of TCI-B.C.'s DID tariff. Specifically, Faximum requested that TCI-B.C. eliminate from its tariffs, the requirement that the DID service be subject to a minimum order of four DID trunks.


The Commission directs TCI to:

a) explore in detail with Faximum the provision of Special Facilities Tariff (SFT) for DID services that would meet, among other applications, fax requirements similar to those required by Faximum and similar customers; and
b) file an SFT application within 60 days or, alternatively, a letter indicating why such an application could not proceed.

In reply to Faximum's application, TCI-B.C. filed its reply comments on 10 August 2001. The Commission sought additional information from TCI-B.C. in a letter dated 21 August 2001 and TCI-B.C. filed its responses to those questions on 11 September 2001.

Position of parties


Faximum requested the following relief:

a) Delete 126.A.5 of TCI-B.C.'s General Tariff Item 126 (requirement that DID service for non-computerized private branch exchange (CPBX) equipment be provided on a Special Assembly basis);
b) Delete condition 126.C.1 (requirement that the DID service be subject to a minimum of four lines);
c) Clarify condition 126.C.3 to specify the required traffic grade of service quantitatively and enjoin TCI-B.C. from enforcing this condition upon non- CPBX customers differently as compared to existing CPBX customers in violation of section 27 of the Telecommunications Act (the Act); and
d) Modify other tariff items and make such other orders as the Commission deems necessary to give full effect to the above changes.

In support of its application, Faximum submitted among others, arguments with respect to (a) the need for single DID trunks; (b) the uniqueness of the four trunk-requirement in Canada; and (c) certain network issues.

The need for a single DID trunk


According to Faximum, the four-trunk restriction effectively quadruples the cost of DID service to Faximum and its customers, thus constituting an unfair and unjust rate.


In order to efficiently develop the necessary software to work with new telephone devices and be able to compete effectively with other companies offering similar software, Faximum stated that it needs to be able to order a single DID trunk.
TCI-B.C.'s insistence on Faximum purchasing four DID trunks places it at a competitive disadvantage compared with competitors who are served by telephone companies without such a four-trunk minimum. Further, Faximum's DID products become uneconomic for smaller companies that are not receiving enough faxes to require four phone trunks, making it difficult to sell its products to smaller companies within its local trading area with the resulting negative effect on revenues. Finally, the four-trunk minimum will make it much harder for Faximum to recruit a pool of local customers willing to work with its engineers to develop and enhance products.


Faximum also indicated that denying smaller organizations (those without a sufficient volume of faxes to justify four incoming fax lines) access to DID trunks is to deny them access to technology that would enable them to easily protect personal information transmitted by fax.


In reply, TCI-B.C. indicated that DID service was developed and designed to meet the needs of the CPBX market on an economically sound basis from the viewpoint of customers and TCI-B.C. itself. TCI-B.C. indicated that DID service was designed to meet the requirements of the "average" CPBX customer with a certain profile of call volumes that can be aggregated through shared trunks and automatically routed to individual workstations, without the need for an attendant or additional lines. To accede to Faximum's request would mean higher averaged DID rates, with the result that most other DID customers (based on the profile of four DID trunks for the average customer) will have to pay more for DID service.


TCI-B.C. also noted that Faximum is not being denied the right to use DID trunks for the routing of faxes by tariff item 126. TCI-B.C. submitted that Faximum is constrained by its own refusal to be subject to the terms of that tariff for its use of DID service. In this light, Faximum's suggestion that TCI-B.C. is hindering telecommunications research and development contrary to section 7(g) of the Acthas no basis.

Four-trunk minimum requirement unique in Canada


Faximum indicated that as far as it could determine, no other telephone company in Canada (including TCI in Alberta) has a four-trunk minimum on the provision of DID service.


TCI-B.C. submitted that the services offered by any particular telephone company in Canada depend on a range of factors, many of which are specific to that company. Prior to the merger of the former TCI and the former TCBC, like services were developed by two different operating companies to meet the particular needs of two different geographic markets. It is to be expected that provisioning and rating differences still remain between Alberta and British Columbia with respect to a number of services.


According to TCI-B.C., Faximum is also incorrect when it attempts to suggest that the four-trunk minimum is unreasonable because "no other telephone company in Canada (including TCI in Alberta .)" has that condition. While other telcos may not have the identical four-trunk minimum requirement for DID service that TCI has in British Columbia, they may well have other forms of minimum requirements.


TCI-B.C. submitted that DID service in Alberta requires that the customer subscribe to a minimum of 25 DID numbers which, according to TCI-B.C., results in most Alberta DID customers requiring about four trunks.


The Commission views that these considerations adequately address the concern.

Network issues


Faximum indicated that TCI-B.C.'s General Tariff items 126.C.1 and 126.C.3 are not clear and consistent.


TCI-B.C. replied that service descriptions, rates or conditions stated in a tariff item are not intended to be read in isolation from each other or from the company's General Terms of Service. Further, the tariff is not intended to be a technical outline of the company's requirements, but rather what conditions customers must meet in order to obtain the service and what rates the company will charge for the service.


TCI-B.C. also stated that the four-trunk minimum helps ensure a high quality of service to customers, provides TCI-B.C. with a reasonable threshold for cost-effective administration of trunk groups in British Columbia, and facilitates accurate planning of trunk facilities and capital for switch expenditures.


The Commission considers that this adequately deals with the concern raised by Faximum.


20. The Commission notes that DID service is available under the general tariff for all customers, under the same terms and conditions.
21.  The Commission further notes TCI-B.C.'s submission that there appears to be limited demand for the underlying fax application. TCI-B.C. submitted that it has not received any requests for SFTs to address fax applications and has encountered minimal demand from customers wanting less than four DID trunks.
22. The Commission considers that on the basis of the record of this proceeding, there is insufficient demand to warrant a general tariff for applications similar to those sought by Faximum.

In reply to Commission questions, TCI-B.C. indicated several alternatives to DID trunks for customers in the TCI-B.C. territory, such as individual business line or multi-lines, Megalink primary rate interface, SFT, and alternative service providers.


TCI-B.C. submitted that SFTs would be the best alternative for securing fax-DID functionality without the four-trunk requirement. The company also indicated its willingness to work with Faximum to develop an SFT solution for its particular needs. TCI-B.C. also stated that it would develop a general tariff offering should demand of the nature expressed by Faximum reach the required threshold
(10 or more actual customers).


The Commission finds TCI-B.C.'s submission to implement an SFT-based solution for DID service that supports fax applications, instead of a general tariff, to be the appropriate approach at this point, until there is sufficient demand for a general tariff application.


Faximum's Part VII application is denied and TCI is directed accordingly, as indicated in paragraph 2 of this order.

Secretary General

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Date Modified: 2001-12-20

Date modified: