ARCHIVED - Telecom - Commission Letter - 8622-C6-200503997

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Ottawa, 7 April 2005

Reference nos: 8622-C6-200503997

Michel Messier
Director, Regulatory Affairs, Telecommunications
Cogeco Cable Inc.
5 Place Ville Marie, Suite 915
Montréal, Québec H3B 2G2

Dennis Beland
Director, Regulatory Affairs, Telecommunications
Quebecor Media inc.
300 Viger Avenue East
Montréal, Québec   H2X 3W4

Michael Hennessy
Canadian Cable Telecommunications Association (CCTA)
1010- 300 Albert St.
Ottawa, Ontario K1R 7X7

Mirko Bibic
Chief - Regulatory Affairs
Bell Canada
110 O'Connor Street, Floor 7
Ottawa , Ontario K1P 1H1

Dear Messrs Messier, Beland, Hennessy and Bibic:

Re: Applications in relation to the provision by Bell Canada of its Digital Voice Service Offering

The Commission has received applications by Cogeco Cable Inc. (Cogeco) and Quebecor Media In. (QMI) dated, respectively, 4 and 6 April 2005 requesting that the CRTC issue an expedited ex parte order directing Bell Canada to cease and desist immediately from offering its Digital Voice service recently made available to consumers in Québec City, Trois-Rivières and Sherbrooke, until such time as Bell Canada has secured proper tariff approval for the service in accordance with section 25 of the Telecommunications Act.   By letter dated 4 April 2004 , the CCTA requested that the Commission immediately investigate whether Bell Canada 's Digital Voice service as currently offered is in compliance with sections 25 and 27 of the Telecommunications Act and take all necessary action to remedy the situation.

The Commission notes that in Telecom Public Notice CRTC 2004-2, Regulatory framework for voice communication services using Internet Protocol , 7 April 2004 (Public Notice 2004-2), it initiated a proceeding to consider the appropriate regulatory framework for voice communication services using Internet Protocol.   In Public Notice 2004-2, the Commission invited comments on its preliminary views, which included the following:

  • when incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) provide voice communication services using Internet Protocol that use NANP-conforming telephone numbers and that provide universal access to and/or from the PSTN in their incumbent territories (VoIP services), they would be required to adhere to their existing tariffs or to file proposed tariffs where required, in conformity with applicable regulatory rules;
  • ILECs, non-dominant Canadian carriers, and mobile wireless service providers that are not competitive LECs (CLECs) would not be required to file tariffs for VoIP services that fall within the scope of applicable existing forbearance determinations; and,
  • VoIP services, which provide access to and/or from the PSTN, are not retail Internet services.

In the proceeding initiated by Public Notice 2004-2, Aliant Telecom Inc., Bell Canada, Saskatchewan Telecommunications, Télébec, société en commandite (collectively the Companies), TELUS Communications Inc. and TELUS Communications (Quebec) Inc. (collectively, TELUS) argued that when they provide VoIP services that operate over a retail broadband Internet connection obtained by the customer from a service supplier of his or her choice, the VoIP services are subject to the Commission's forbearance orders relating to retail Internet services.  

Many other parties to the proceeding agreed with the Commission's preliminary views.   They argued that VoIP services are not retail Internet services and that the ILECs must obtain Commission approval of tariffs in respect of local VoIP services that they provide.

Accordingly, the issue of whether Bell Canada must obtain prior Commission approval of a tariff in respect of any or all VoIP service offerings is before the Commission.   The Commission notes that the record relating to the proceeding initiated by Public Notice 2004-2 is closed.    Further, the Commission notes that it intends to release its decision in that proceeding on or before 12 May 2005 .     

Given that the Commission will soon dispose of the issue as to whether or not Bell Canada is required to file a tariff in respect of any or all VoIP service offerings in its decision in the Public Notice 2004-2 proceeding, parties are advised that the Commission will deal with the applications by Cogeco, QMI and CCTA following the release of its decision. At that time the Commission will provide such further directions on procedure as may be required.



Diane Rhéaume
Secretary General

c.c. Interested Parties - Telecom Public Notice 2004-2

Date Modified: 2005-04-07

Date modified: