ARCHIVED - Telecom Order CRTC 2003-200

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Telecom Order CRTC 2003-200

Ottawa, 23 May 2003

NorthernTel's PIC/CARE access customer handbook

Reference: 8643-N3-01/01


The Commission received an application by NorthernTel Limited Partnership (NorthernTel), dated 21 February 2003, requesting approval of its Primary Interexchange Carrier/Customer Account Record Exchange Access Customer Handbook (PIC/CARE handbook).


NorthernTel's PIC/CARE handbook would provide interexchange carriers (IXCs) with information relating to the exchange of PIC/CARE information between an IXC and a small incumbent telephone company.


The Commission received no comments with respect to the application.


The Commission notes that the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee (CISC) Business Process Working Group developed a model PIC/CARE handbook (CISC model) in July 2000 for use by the telecommunications industry as a basis for carriers to develop their own PIC/CARE handbooks. While the Commission finds that the information provided in NorthernTel's PIC/CARE handbook is generally consistent with the CISC model, the Commission considers that certain provisions and sections of NorthernTel's PIC/CARE handbook are incomplete or require modifications.


Accordingly, the Commission approves NorthernTel's PIC/CARE handbook, subject to the company incorporating the amendments identified below:

· amend item 1.1, Background, as follows:

- replace the first paragraph with the following:

In compliance with an examination of long distance competition in Ontario, NorthernTel will provide access customers (ACs) with equal ease of access (Feature group D) to local networks for the origination and termination of AC network traffic.

- insert the following paragraph after the second paragraph:

In Telecom Order CRTC 99-379, dated 29 April 1999, the Commission established that the requirement to provide equal access did not extend to resellers of local service. However, it required these resellers to comply with certain consumer safeguards to ensure that, before contracting with the reseller, end-users are advised of, and authorize, their assignment by a reseller to a particular interexchange service provider. Further, when resellers change interexchange service providers, they must obtain their end-users' authorization.

- add the following sentence to the end of the original third paragraph:

Equal access also provides the end-user with the ability to access the network of other ACs on a per call basis by dialling a 10XXX or a 101XXX access code.

· add the following two items to the end of section 1.0, Introduction:

1.6 Handbook Updates

NorthernTel will notify the AC, in writing, of any updates or changes to the Handbook and will provide, at no charge, two revised copies of the Handbook.

1.7 Rates and Charges

Rates and charges are applicable to the following PIC processing related activities:

Set-up of each PIC processing account

Changes to CARE profile

Additional copies of the PIC/CARE Handbook

Per line PIC processing

Unauthorized PIC change

Requests for billing account number detail

Requests for verification record

· amend section 2.0, Prerequisites to Equal Access, as follows:

- renumber item 2.1, Feature Group D (Trunk-side Access), as item 2.2;

- insert the following as item 2.1:

2.1 Carrier Identification Code (CIC)

In order for an AC to offer Equal Access and PIC processing, it must obtain a Carrier Identification Code (CIC). The assignment and management of CIC is administered by the Canadian Numbering Administrator (CNA). Canadian applicants shall submit all applications for North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) administered resources directly to the CNA for processing.

For further information, refer to the Carrier Identification Code Assignment Guidelines developed by the Industry Numbering Committee (INC) and the Canadian Adjunct to the INC Carrier Identification Code (CIC) Assignment Guidelines.

- renumber item 2.2, Access Customer CARE Profile, as item 2.3;

- delete current item 2.3, Rates and Charges;

· add item 2.4, Equal Access Switches. (Provide a description of NorthernTel's switches as well as the name, address, telephone number, facsimile number and e-mail address for the company contact who can provide information with respect to these switches.)
· add the following item as the last item of the section:

2.5 Access Customer Testing

Additional testing is required to validate the PIC/CARE interface between NorthernTel and the AC.

· add the following as the last item in section 7.0, Service Intervals:

7.8 Quality of Service

In Quality of service indicators for use in telephone company regulation, Telecom Decision CRTC 97-16, 24 July 1997 and in Final standards for quality of service indicators for use in telephone company regulation and other related matters, Decision CRTC 2000-24, 20 January 2000, the Commission established that for Indicator 1.7, On-time activation of PICs for alternate providers of long distance service (APLDS), a standard of 90% or more must be achieved. NorthernTel will measure this quality of service indicator and report to the CRTC as required for small incumbent telephone companies as directed in Regulatory framework for the small incumbent telephone companies, Decision CRTC 2001-756, 14 December 2001.

· add the following to the end of the sentence in item 8.2, End-user Authorization: and PIC changes resulting from the transfer of an end-user base between ACs due to merger or acquisition.
· amend item 8.3, Outbound Contact Resulting in a PIC Change, as follows:

- in the second paragraph replace the word "three" with the word "four";

- add the following as the last bulleted item in the list:

® obtain the end-user's order confirmation via the Internet.

- add the following after the bulleted list:

The following terms and conditions apply to each form of end-user order confirmation:

i) Written order confirmation

The end-user's signature on a document, which clearly states that the end-user's service will be transferred to the AC, constitutes confirmation of the service order. The end-user must be fully informed as to what he or she is signing. Refer to Appendix 6 for Equal Access Confirmation Forms.

ii) Oral order confirmation verified by an independent third party

The independent third party shall be an appropriately qualified, bonded and independent party operating in a location physically separate from the AC or its agents. The AC and its agents shall have no ownership interest in the independent third party nor shall the independent third party perform any telemarketing, direct mail or other sales solicitation functions for the AC or any affiliates of the AC. Compensation of the independent third party shall not be based on the number or percentage of sales confirmed.

In the course of contact with an end-user, representatives of the AC are permitted to transfer the end-user directly to the independent third party to complete the confirmation.

In the performance of confirmation functions, the independent third party must confirm that it is speaking to the end-user, and must confirm the subscription confirmation information, set out in item 8.4 below, with that person.

iii) Electronic order confirmation through the use of a toll-free number

The AC must provide toll-free access to the end-user for the purpose of accessing an electronic order confirmation system.

In the course of contact with an end-user, representatives of the AC are permitted to transfer the end-user directly to the electronic order confirmation system to complete the confirmation.

If the end-user is not accessing the electronic order confirmation system from the telephone access service on which the PIC is to be changed, then the electronic order confirmation system must include further security measures to verify the end-user's identity before the confirmation is processed.

Calls to a toll-free number will connect the end-user to an interactive voice response (IVR) unit (or a touch-tone pad input device or a similar device), which will record the following information: automatic recording of the working telephone number to be subscribed to the PIC (or evidence of further security measures as required to verify end-user identity), date and time, and PIC to confirm the end-user's choice of AC. The IVR system must require the end-user to take some action (e.g., pressing a key on the dial pad) thus positively confirming the service order.

iv) Electronic order confirmation via the Internet

The AC must use at least one of the following methods of security to ensure privacy and authenticity of information sent between the two parties (AC and end-user):

- A secure link between the AC and the end-user;

- A key server, to allow a party to encrypt messages that only a key holder can decrypt;

- A unique password between the AC and the end-user.

The AC may use another form of "off-line" or "on-line" identification (e.g., toll-free number or end-user password sent to the billing address) in order to further verify the authenticity of the end-user and to confirm the end-user's request.

The Internet order confirmation process must confirm the subscription confirmation information, set out in item 8.4 below, and must also include an explicit indication from the end-user that it is the authorized account-holder for its telephone service.

The AC must appropriately notify its end-users of the potential for risk in doing business over the Internet, so that end-users are aware of the need for safeguards on both ends to ensure confidentiality and security.

· add the following to the end of section 8.0, Consumer Safeguards:

8.5 Mergers and Acquisitions

As per Disconnection of equal access service providers and transfer of customer base between equal access service providers, Telecom Decision CRTC 95-5, 24 April 1995, in the case of a mass transfer due to a merger or acquisition of an AC, an acquiring AC is required only to notify end-users of the change. The acquiring AC must send a notification to the individual end-users, within 90 calendar days, that includes, among other information, details of the impact, if any, on the end-users' service, including any change in rates, billing frequency, contract terms or other conditions of service. Further, where the acquiring AC makes any material change in the rates, terms or conditions of the acquired end-users' service prior to the end of the 90-day period, notification must be received by the end-users prior to the effective date of any such change.

Each request for a bulk PIC change resulting from the transfer of an end-user base between ACs must be accompanied by written authorization. For acquisitions, the authorization must be signed by an authorized representative of both affected ACs. For mergers, the authorization must be signed by an authorized representative of the merged AC.

· in item 9.1, Overview, in the first sentence replace the word "on" with "one" and add the following to the end of the second sentence: whether identified by an end-user of NorthernTel or by an AC on behalf of the end-user.
· replace item 9.2, Disputes Identified by ACs, with the following:

9.2 Dispute Identification Procedures

When the end-user contacts NorthernTel to report a PIC change dispute, NorthernTel will advise the end-user to contact the end-user's previous AC.

When the end-user contacts the AC against whom the end-user's complaint is directed (Disputed AC), that AC must advise the end-user to contact the end-user's previous AC in order to initiate the dispute and have the end-user's service restored with the previous AC.

When the end-user contacts the AC who is recording and initiating a dispute on behalf of the end-user (Initiating AC), that AC must restore the end-user's PIC through a normal PIC change request through NorthernTel.

The Initiating AC must obtain a positive response from the end-user to the following questions prior to initiating a dispute:

- Do you want [Initiating AC] to initiate a dispute against [Disputed AC] on your behalf for switching you without your permission?

- Are you reasonably certain that neither you, nor any other authorized adult member (authorized employee) of your household (business), requested the change?

- [Initiating AC] may only initiate a dispute if you were switched without your permission and not for any other complaint you may have with [Disputed AC]. Do you understand?

- Do you understand that your long distance services will be restored with [Initiating AC]?

If all of these questions are answered in the affirmative, the AC initiates a dispute by forwarding a PIC Dispute Notification Form to NorthernTel and coordinates restoration of the end-user's previous long distance service. Refer to Appendix 5 for the PIC Dispute Notification Form.

Dispute notification from the AC is only accepted at the WTN level.

· add the following paragraph to the end of item 9.3, CSG Dispute Process:

In order to initiate a dispute through NorthernTel, the Initiating AC shall provide NorthernTel with, at a minimum:

· name of the end-user;

· WTN; and

· the date that the end-user notified the Initiating AC of the disputed PIC change.

· amend item 9.4, CSG Dispute Process, as follows:

- in the fourth bulleted item, replace the words "less than 90 calendar days" with "90 calendar days or less";

- insert the following item after the tenth bulleted item:

® If the Disputed AC was acquired by another AC subsequent to the date of the disputed PIC change, the acquiring AC effectively becomes the Disputed AC and assumes responsibility for the resolution of the dispute, including the provision of valid end-user order confirmation.

- delete the last three bulleted items; and

- add the following after the bulleted list:

In the event that the Disputed AC challenges the validity of the dispute, the Disputed AC will provide a written request to NorthernTel within the 15 business day period described above.

If NorthernTel receives a dispute challenge within the 15 business day period described above, NorthernTel will request a Dispute Initiation Record (DIR) from the Initiating AC.

The DIR is a physical record created by the Initiating AC containing the details of an alleged unauthorized transfer. The DIR must include the following:

§ end-user name;

§ WTN;

§ name of AC representative who handled the end-user complaint;

§ date and time of complaint; and

§ attestation that the end-user has provided oral confirmation to each of the four questions in Section 9.2.

The DIR shall be made available by the Initiating AC to NorthernTel within 5 business days of a request from NorthernTel to validate a dispute.

If NorthernTel receives a valid DIR within the 5 business day interval, then NorthernTel will determine the outcome of the dispute based on the end-user order confirmation requested from the Disputed AC.

If no valid DIR is provided to NorthernTel within the 5 business day interval, the original dispute will be considered invalid.

NorthernTel shall monitor the volume of unauthorized PIC subscription changes generated by each AC. If an AC is repeatedly generating unauthorized PIC subscription changes, NorthernTel shall initiate discussions with the AC to determine the reason for the unauthorized PIC subscription changes and request the AC to correct any problems. An AC that, in NorthernTel's reasonable assessment, generates excessive unauthorized PIC subscription changes will receive notice from NorthernTel that additional authorization measures will be required to enable the processing of the AC's PIC subscription orders. The additional authorization measures may include the requirement by NorthernTel that the AC provide written proof of end-user confirmation to NorthernTel prior to each PIC subscription order being accepted. Upon receipt of the notice from NorthernTel, either party may contact the CRTC.

· add the following two sections after section 12, Electronic File Transfer:

13.0 PIC Correction Requests

13.1 Overview

In compliance with Telecom Decision CRTC 97-6, Unbundled rates to provide equal access, 10 April 1997, an AC submitting a PIC transaction may initiate a correction without invoking the PIC Dispute process. The AC is responsible for advising the end-user of the following:

· Long distance carrier was changed in error.

· Re-instatement to their carrier of choice has or will be done.

· An estimated date of completion.

Where the AC's original PIC request has not yet been completed, the AC should use any available PIC/CARE processes to cancel the original request rather than submitting a PIC correction request to the LEC.

13.2 Timeframe for Submission

The AC may submit a PIC Correction Request within 10 business days from receipt of TCSI 20XX. Refer to Appendix 7 for the PIC Correction Request Form.

13.3 PIC Correction Validation Criteria

In addition to validating the PIC submission timeframe, NorthernTel will validate that:

· The end-user has not initiated a dispute.

· No subsequent PIC subscription has been received from another AC.

· The end-user's WTN is an active line.

13.4 PIC Correction Process

Once the PIC Correction has been validated successfully, NorthernTel will:

· Re-instate PIC to previous AC.

· Issue TCSI 2019 to previous AC.

· Levy a PIC correction charge against the Initiating AC. No PIC processing charge will be levied against the Previous AC.

14.0 PIC Re-submission Requests

14.1 Overview

In compliance with Telecom Decision CRTC 97-6, an AC may resubmit a PIC Request resulting from a NorthernTel system error without incurring an additional PIC processing charge.

14.2 PIC Re-submission Determination

Upon receipt of an initial inquiry from the AC, NorthernTel will investigate to determine if a PIC Re-submission Request is required.

14.3 PIC Re-submission Criteria

A PIC Re-submission request will be processed based on the following:

· No subsequent PIC request has been received from another AC.

· End-user's WTN is an active line.

· End-user has not initiated a dispute.

14.4 PIC Re-submission Process

Once the PIC Re-submission Request has been validated successfully NorthernTel will:

· For PIC Rejects:

- provide the AC with an explanation for the rejection

- instruct the AC to resubmit a PIC request

· For PIC Losses Erroneously Reported:

- instruct the AC to resubmit a PIC request

No additional charges are applied for a PIC Re-Submission.

· amend the Glossary of Terms as follows:

- in the definition of "AC", add the following to the end of the definition: using Trunk-side Access;

- in the definition of "ACNA", replace the word "alpha" with the word "alphabetic";

- in the definition of "CARE", replace the words "Exchange Carrier Standards Association" with "ATIS";

- in the definition of "NPA", add the following to the end of the definition: A defined geographic area identified by a unique 3-digit code used in the North American Numbering Plan;

· insert, where appropriate, the following definitions:

ATIS: Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions - Telecommunications association where technical and operational issues are identified that affect telecommunications facilities and services. The solutions to these issues are developed into industry standards and operational guidelines.

Disputed AC: The AC against whom an end-user complaint is directed.

EA: Equal Access.

Initiating AC: The AC recording and initiating a dispute on behalf of the end-user.

IXC: Interexchange Carrier - Provider of facilities-based long distance service. Also referred to as an AC in the handbook.

· add as Appendix 6, Equal Access Confirmation Forms, and add as Appendix 7, PIC Correction/Re-submission Request Form. The forms can be found in the CISC model.


The Commission directs NorthernTel to issue forthwith a revised PIC/CARE handbook. The company is further directed to provide the Commission with a copy of its revised PIC/CARE handbook for placement in the public examination room in Gatineau.

Secretary General

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

Date Modified: 2003-05-23

Date modified: