ARCHIVED - Telecom Commission Letter - 8663-C12-200600066
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File Number: 8663-C12-200600066
Ottawa, 6 October 2006
Mr. Sean MacGillivray
Re: Review of regulatory framework for Northwestel Inc , Telecom Public Notice CRTC 2006-1
Dear Mr. MacGillivray:
The Commission is in receipt of a letter dated 18 August 2006 from the Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce (NWT Chamber of Commerce), in relation to the above noted proceeding. In its letter, the NWT Chamber of Commerce raised concerns regarding the public hearing held in July 2006 in Whitehorse , Yukon . In brief, these concerns related to a possible bias in the public consultation and the evidentiary hearing, to the position taken by one of the panel members, and to the quality of the hearing in general.
The Commission, through its public proceedings, strives to conduct itself in a fair and impartial manner. The intention of such public proceedings is to permit interested parties to put forward proposals and comments, have them tested, and have such material form part of the public record. Northwestel's subscribers were notified of the public consultation by a billing insert. The Commission required Northwestel to send such an insert to all its subscribers. The notification indicated that the public could participate in person at the various locations for the public consultation or through written correspondence to the Commission. All submissions made within the context of a public proceeding are considered by the Commission in rendering a determination.
Regarding the concerns pertaining to comments of and questions posed by the Commission panel, they were not intended to be antagonistic, biased or unsympathetic to the issues raised. The intention was to ensure that the parties providing comments to the Commission at the public consultation phase understood the Commission's policy and previous determinations with respect to the provision of 9-1-1 services, which is, that the Commission has not considered provision of 9-1-1 service as being necessary to complete the requirement for access to emergency services in its basic service objective. This requirement can be accomplished through the use of seven digit telephone numbers. The intention was also to give such parties an opportunity to substantiate why such an exception to the Commission's policy would be warranted for the particular circumstances of the North.
Regarding the general comments and concerns on the logistics of the hearing, the location for a public hearing depends on many factors, including accessibility by the interested parties and the public, the availability of facilities, and the associated costs.
In addition to the public hearing facilities at the High Country Inn in Whitehorse , Yukon , the Commission arranged for links to be provided to Northwestel Inc.'s regional offices in Yellowknife , Northwest Territories ; Iqualuit , Nunavut ; and Fort Nelson , British Columbia for the public consultation portion of the hearing. The use of these facilities was not intended to discourage public participation, but rather to provide as many locations as possible to the public to increase participation in the public consultation in the most cost effective manner. Regrettably, there were technical difficulties with the teleconference links; however, the hearing staff resolved these difficulties. We will consider holding the public hearing and public consultations in other centres and locations in Northwestel's territory during the next proceeding
Your letter and this response will be included in the record of the proceeding. I am sure that you will understand that I cannot address the substantive matters raised in your letter because they are before the Commission and it will render its decision with respect to the above noted proceeding in due course.
(Original signed by)
c.c.: J. Macri, CRTC (819)-997-4595
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