ARCHIVED - Telecom Order CRTC 2004-35

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Telecom Order CRTC 2004-35

  Ottawa, 28 January 2004

Bell Canada

  Reference: Tariff Notice 6775

Extended area service between the St-Fulgence and Jonquière exchanges


The Commission received an application by Bell Canada dated 17 October 2003, to revise General Tariff item 60.2, Exchange Service, to reflect the establishment of extended area service (EAS) between the St-Fulgence and Jonquière exchanges.


Bell Canada stated that the rate band classification of the Jonquière and St-Fulgence exchanges would not be affected by the proposed EAS link. Jonquière would remain within rate band C1 and St-Fulgence would remain within rate band E2.


Bell Canada noted that the community of interest (COI) criterion for the provision of EAS between exchanges requires at least 60% of subscribers in one exchange to call customers in the other exchange at least once a month, for two months in a 12 month period. Bell Canada stated that the proposed link qualified for EAS when the COI criterion for calls made from St-Fulgence to Jonquière was achieved in April and May 2003.


Bell Canada stated that, while the COI from St-Fulgence to Jonquière attained 69% and 71% during the aforementioned COI study months, these study results were not reflective of the historical COI for those regions. Bell Canada noted that during the last three years study results showed that the COI from St-Fulgence to Jonquière had averaged 47% and had never exceeded 52%, other than during the two aforementioned months. Bell Canada submitted that the COI was achieved in April and May 2003 as a result of an organized campaign to artificially and temporarily increase calling between the exchanges during the study period.


Bell Canada stated that it therefore proposed to increase from two months to six months the period where the COI criterion is satisfied in a 12 month period. Bell Canada submitted that the proposed change would ensure that the COI was truly reflective of the normal calling patterns of its customers. Bell Canada argued that local calling should only be expanded based on the traditional EAS criteria, where the COI is consistent and is not inflated through artificial methods.


Bell Canada noted that in Framework for the expansion of local calling areas, Telecom Decision CRTC 2002-56, 12 September 2002 (Decision 2002-56), the Commission stated that it was prepared to accept requests from the appropriate local, municipal or regional governments as evidence of the COI in establishing a particular expanded local calling area (LCA).


Bell Canada submitted that, as a result of the new framework established in Decision 2002-56, exchange pairs that had been unable to qualify for EAS because the COI had continually fallen short of the 60% COI criterion now had an opportunity, through the LCA process, to expand their LCA without having to meet the COI requirement. Bell Canada therefore submitted that for those exchange pairs that must meet the COI criterion to qualify for EAS, the duration of the COI study period should be extended to ensure that the COI study period reflects actual calling patterns.


The Commission received no comments with respect to the application.

Commission analysis and determination


The Commission notes that, applications for the expansion of toll-free calling areas are evaluated based on either of the following two approaches. The first approach, based on established EAS criteria, has generally been applied to proposals to extend toll-free calling between two exchanges. The second approach, the LCA case-by-case approach established in Decision 2002-56, has generally been applied in circumstances where the EAS criteria could not be met but the Commission nevertheless considered expanded toll-free calling to be in the public interest. The Commission further notes that the LCA process was not intended to apply to pairs of exchanges with a significant COI, but rather to aid those exchanges that did not meet the COI criterion but, in the opinion of the appropriate local, municipal, or regional governments, would nonetheless benefit from an expanded LCA.


With respect to Bell Canada's request to extend from two months to six months the period where the COI criterion must be satisfied in a 12 month period, the Commission considers that such an increase could significantly impair the ability of pairs of exchanges to meet the EAS criteria. Accordingly, Bell Canada's request to increase the COI study period from two months to six months is denied.


With respect to the application of the COI criterion to the St-Fulgence and Jonquière exchanges, the Commission finds that the EAS criteria have been satisfied.


In light of the above, the Commission approves, effective 4 February 2004, the changes to Bell Canada's General Tariff item 60.2, to reflect the establishment of EAS between the St-Fulgence and Jonquière exchanges.
  Secretary General
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Date Modified: 2004-01-28

Date modified: