ARCHIVED - Telecom Decision CRTC 2002-16

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Telecom Decision CRTC 2002-16

Ottawa, 19 March 2002

TELUS Communications (Québec) Inc.'s proposed service improvement plan

Reference: 8678-C12-10/01


In this decision, the Commission approves part of a proposed service improvement plan (SIP), submitted by TELUS Communications (Québec) Inc. (TELUS Québec; the company), that will allow the company to meet the Commission's basic service objectives in three small communities in northern Quebec. The Commission also approves a TELUS Québec proposal to relieve network congestion. The Commission also directs the company, among other things, to consult with stakeholders about extending service to unserved dwellings and to file a further SIP no later than 20 December 2002.

The application


In a letter to the Commission dated 26 February 2002, TELUS Communications (Québec) Inc. (TELUS Québec; the company) requested accelerated approval of its proposed service improvement plan (SIP) considered in the proceeding initiated by Implementation of price cap regulation for Québec-Téléphone and Télébec, Public Notice CRTC 2001-36, 13 March 2001 (PN 2001-36). To support its request for accelerated approval, TELUS Québec cited the short construction season in the north and the urgent need to implement planning initiatives.


In Telephone service to high-cost serving areas, Telecom Decision CRTC 99-16, 19 October 1999 (Decision 99-16), the Commission:

· directed all incumbent local carriers to file SIPs for Commission approval, or to demonstrate that the basic service objectives set out in the Decision (the basic service objectives) have been and will continue to be achieved in their territory; and

· determined that incumbent local carriers should consult stakeholders prior to preparing their SIPs.

The Commission also indicated that the communities and other organizations affected would have an opportunity to comment on the reasonableness of the carriers' proposals before the Commission ruled on them.


In the proceeding initiated by PN 2001-36, TELUS Québec proposed a SIP that would:

· allow the company to meet the basic service objectives in three small locations, namely l'Île-aux-Grues, Grosse-Île and Aylmer Sound; and

· improve the company's network by relieving network congestion in the Basse-Côte-Nord and other high-cost areas, caused by high usage of the Internet.


The company emphasized the social and economic benefits of the Internet for remote areas, including its use in education and telemedicine, and the importance of being able to access the Internet on an ongoing basis.


The company also submitted that relieving network congestion meets a Commission goal, outlined in Decision 99-16, to maintain service levels and ensure that existing service levels do not erode under competition.


The Commission did not receive any comments from interested parties on TELUS Québec's proposed SIP.


The Commission approves, as a SIP, the company's capital expenditures required to meet the basic service objectives in l'Île-aux-Grues, Grosse-Île and Aylmer Sound.


As regards the proposed network improvements to relieve network congestion in the Basse-Côte-Nord and other high-cost areas, the Commission does not consider that these fall within the terms of a SIP, since they do not directly address the basic service objectives. The Commission considers instead that the proposed network improvements are in the nature of ongoing capital expenditures that a telephone company would make in the ordinary course of business to meet anticipated demand. Such expenditures would normally be included in a company's construction or capital investment program. The Commission considers these expenditures to be reasonable and approves them as a network improvement plan. The Commission considers that these capital expenditures should be included as part of the company's going-in revenue requirement under the price cap arrangements to be established in the proceeding initiated by PN 2001-36.


As regards the recovery of the SIP and the network improvement capital expenditures, these matters will be addressed in the Commission's decision in the proceeding initiated by PN 2001-36.

Other SIP matters


Early in the proceeding initiated by PN 2001-36, TELUS Québec responded to a series of Commission interrogatories. The company stated that there were no unserved areas in its serving territory and hence, was of the view that there was no matter on which consultation with stakeholders was required and no need to propose a SIP to address requests for service. Further, the company was of the view that its existing tariffs covered any requests for service in its serving territory.


However, at the oral public hearing in Québec City that began on 13 November 2001, as part of the PN 2001-36 proceeding, TELUS Québec acknowledged that there may well be unserved dwellings in its serving territory. The company also stated that, following Decision 99-16, it did not attempt to review past service requests to determine whether those persons who had requested service might wish to be included in the company's SIP.


The Commission considers that the requirements in Decision 99-16 with regard to consultation with stakeholders apply to unserved dwellings regardless of whether they are in served or unserved areas of an incumbent local carrier's serving territory. Accordingly, the Commission directs TELUS Québec to consult with stakeholders prior to proposing a further SIP by 20 December 2002 to address service to unserved dwellings. To this end, TELUS Québec is directed to:

a) inform the Commission, within 40 days of this decision, of its plans to identify unserved dwellings and to consult with stakeholders;

b) submit to the Commission the results of the consultations with stakeholders by 20 September 2002; and

c) no later than 20 December 2002, file for Commission approval a further SIP to extend service to unserved dwellings.

Secretary General

This document is available in alternative format upon request and may also be examined at the following Internet site:

Date Modified: 2002-03-19

Date modified: