ARCHIVED - Telecom Commission Letter - 8678-C12-200615578 - 8638-C12-200800377
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Ottawa, 22 February 2008
TO: Interested parties to Telecom Public Notice CRTC 2006-15
Re: Follow-up to Telecom Decision CRTC 2008-1, Use of deferral account funds to improve access to telecommunications services for persons with disabilities and to expand broadband services to rural and remote communities - Bell Canada et al. request to defer filing of certain follow-up information
This letter addresses the request from Bell Canada and Bell Aliant Regional Communications, Limited Partnership (collectively, Bell Canada et al.), dated 15 February 2008, seeking to defer the filing of follow-up information pertaining to broadband expansion and rebates which the Commission directed them to file in Telecom Decision 2008-1. Bell Canada et al. submitted that these filings should be deferred at least until the Federal Court of Appeal rules on Bell Canad a 's 11 February 2008 motion for a stay of Decision 2008-1, and until such time as the stay is lifted (should it be granted).
Telecom Decision 2008-1, issued 17 January 2008, approved the use of deferral account funds for initiatives to improve access to telecommunications services for persons with disabilities and for the expansion of broadband services to certain rural and remote communities. The Commission also required that any remaining funds be rebated to the residential subscribers in non-high-cost serving areas of record as of the date of the Decision. As follow-up to that Decision, the Commission directed the Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs) to file in 2008 the following information pertaining to broadband expansion and rebates:
The Commission also directed three Alternative Broadband Service Providers (ABSPs) to file, by 18 February 2008 , information pertaining to their late filed exclusion requests. Bell Canada et al. were given until 3 March 2008 to file their comments in respect of these submissions.
In support of its request, Bell Canada et al. relied on the Order, dated 25 January 2008, of the Federal Court of Appeal granting a stay of the Commission's directive in Telecom Decision 2006-9 insofar as it requires the disposition of funds in the deferral accounts for anything other than the improvement of accessibility to communications services for persons with disabilities. Bell Canada et al. also relied on Bell Canada's Notice of Motion, filed 11 February 2008 with the Federal Court of Appeal, seeking leave to appeal Telecom Decision 2008-1 and to stay that Decision (except as it relates to accessibility initiatives). Bell Canada et al. submitted that meeting the prescribed filing deadlines would defeat the purpose of seeking that stay and effectively render it moot, should it be granted.
Commission staff notes the existing stay of Telecom Decision 2006-9, the pending motion for leave to appeal and a stay of Telecom Decision 2008-1 before the Federal Court of Appeal, and that no party has objected to the Notice of Motion or the stay. In light of this, staff considers that it would be appropriate at this time to defer the dates for the filing of follow-up information, as identified above, until such time as the stay is denied or, if the stay is granted, until the substance of the appeals is addressed by the Court and the stay is lifted. Accordingly, ILECs and ABSPs will not be required to file further follow-up information to Telecom Decision 2008-1 relating to broadband expansion proposals or rebates until such time as the Commission directs otherwise.
Commission staff notes that the existing stay and pending motion do not affect the initiatives to improve accessibility to telecommunications services for persons with disabilities and that filing requirements related to the introduction of these initiatives remain effective as set out in Telecom Decision 2008-1.
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cc: Don Heale, CRTC (819) 997-2755, firstname.lastname@example.org
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