ARCHIVED - Telecom - Commission Letter - 8638-C12-72/02 - Bell Service Improvement Plan - 2002 Tracking Report

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Our File: 8638-C12-72/02

Ottawa, 28 May 2003


Mr. David Palmer
Director - Regulatory Matters
Bell Canada
105, rue Hôtel-de-Ville
6e étage
Gatineau, Québec
J8X 4H7

Dear Mr. Palmer:

Re: Bell Service Improvement Plan - 2002 Tracking Report

On 31 March 2003, pursuant to Regulatory framework for second price cap period, Telecom Decision CRTC 2002-34, 30 May 2002 (Decision 2002-34), Bell Canada (Bell) filed with the Commission its annual service improvement plan (SIP) tracking report, which tracked the company's SIP performance for the year 2002.  On 29 April 2003, Bell filed a revised version of this report.

Commission staff requires additional information and is issuing the attached interrogatories.  Bell is requested to file responses to these interrogatories within 21 daysfrom the date of this letter.

Where a document is to be filed or served by a specific date, the document should be actually received, not merely sent, by that date.

Yours sincerely,

Scott Hutton
Director - Contribution and Costing
(819) 997-4573

attachment: interrogatories

c.c.      Hugh Thompson, CRTC, (819) 953-6081


Attachment:   Bell Interrogatories


1.    With reference to Bell's 2002 SIP tracking report, paragraph 32, the company stated that: "although the Company's plans to introduce toll‑free Internet access remain unchanged at this time, it has recently become aware of an alternative method of encoding data circuits that could possibly lower trunking costs by improving the efficiency of the satellite bandwidth utilization.  Over the coming year, the Company will be exploring the design and costs of this alternative with Telesat to determine the impact, if any, on the overall costs of providing local Internet access to the remaining 3 Band E and 35 Band G exchanges where thus far no ISP has chosen to locate."  Provide a technical description of the alternative described above supported by a network diagram, along with an estimate of how costs could decrease.


2.   Refer to the responses to interrogatories Bell(CRTC)27Apr01-609 PC and Telesat(CRTC)31Aug01-3600 (b) PC filed in the proceeding leading to Decision 2002-34.  In its 2002 tracking report, Bell stated that it had been unable to find lower cost options than those outlined in the proceeding that led to Decision 2002-34 to provide toll-free Internet access.  Given this statement, indicate whether Bell has ruled out the possibility of reselling direct-to-home (DTH) satellite data transmission via Bell ExpressVu, Telesat Anik F2 (in 2003), or some other DTH provider for the provision of toll-free Internet access.  If so, indicate why.  If not, provide a detailed description of the company's technical and costing research. 

3.  The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has endorsed new technology that provides Internet access over power company wires and stated that the agency will begin examining this service in April 2003.  The FCC stated that this could mean a third major broadband pipe into the home after telephone and cable-television lines.  Assuming that this broadband technology is found to be viable and cost-effective in the U.S., discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a partnership between Canadian telephone companies and Canadian power companies to use this type of technology to provide toll-free Internet access to telephone subscribers in SIP underserved areas where current telephone company technolgy is cost-prohibitive.  Also, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using narrowband technology over power lines if such technology is currently available in the marketplace.

4.   At paragraph 913 of Decision 2002-34, the Commission noted that if there is no Internet service provider (ISP) providing toll-free Internet access to the remaining exchanges where thus far no ISP has chosen to locate by the first quarter of 2003, it will consider whether the incumbent local exchange carriers' obligation to serve includes an obligation to provide toll-free access to the Internet.  Taking into account the answers provided to interrogatories 1-3 above, provide your views as to whether or not the Commission should consider this obligation at this time, indicating the advantages and disadvantages.  If this is not an appropriate time, indicate what time would be appropriate and why.

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