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Ottawa, 5 March 2010
Our Reference: 8622-R28-200913344
RE: Rogers Cable Communications Inc. – Part VII Application requesting that the Commission review the appropriateness of the ILECs controlling the E9-1-1 system in a competitive environment
On 28 September 2009, the Commission received the above-noted application from Rogers Cable Communications Inc. (RCCI).
In its application, RCCI submitted that Bell Canada has been using its control of the E9-1-1 system to gain a competitive advantage over its rivals and that increased transparency through increased Commission oversight is required to ensure that such behaviour is identified and immediately corrected.
RCCI identified six particular areas of concern:
- Change notification;
- Interconnection with RCCI E9-1-1 test bed;
- Processes and procedures;
- Neutrality and oversight;
- Violation of terms in Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) E9-1-1 agreement; and
- Wireless issues.
RCCI requested that the Commission issue a Notice of Consultation to initiate a public proceeding to examine these issues in an open forum. In RCCI’s view, with the increased competitiveness in the Canadian telecommunications market, the Commission should contemplate changing the way the E9-1-1 system is managed and administered.
MTS Allstream Inc. and Globalive Wireless Management Corp. filed comments in support of RCCI’s request for a public proceeding.
Bell Canada filed comments denying RCCI’s allegations. Bell Canada submitted that RCCI should have raised many of its concerns in the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee (CISC) and that there was no need for a public proceeding.
The Ontario E9-1-1 Advisory Board (OAB) also filed comments. In the OAB’s view, the issues raised by RCCI appeared to be operational in nature, pertained exclusively to
Bell Canada, and did not warrant an overhaul of the existing system or a replacement of the current service provider.
RCCI’s request for a Notice of Consultation
Having reviewed the concerns raised by RCCI in its application, Commission staff does not consider that it would be appropriate at this time to issue a Notice of Consultation and conduct a public proceeding on these matters for the reasons given below.
However, Commission staff considers that certain of the issues RCCI has raised merit further examination by CISC. Accordingly, Commission staff has indicated below which matters have been referred to CISC for its consideration. Additionally, as discussed in further detail below, Commission staff considers that there is a need for Bell Canada to provide the Commission with a status update regarding its web portal service.
1. Change notification
RCCI submitted that it is often notified at the last minute of municipal changes, which compromises its ability to update its automatic location identifier (ALI) database information in a timely fashion. RCCI argued that since CLECs do not have E9-1-1 agreements with all municipalities, the incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC), as the E9-1-1 system administrator, should be responsible for notifying all CLECs of municipal changes.
Bell Canada argued that, per the CLEC-municipality E9-1-1 agreements, it is the municipalities’ role to notify all CLECs of changes, not the ILECs’. Bell Canada submitted that it cannot control when municipalities make changes or notify other CLECs but has put in place several e-mail notification processes to ensure whatever information it receives from municipalities is sent to other CLECs.
Commission staff notes that, while CLEC-municipality E9-1-1 agreements impose obligations on municipalities to notify CLECs of changes, such agreements are not in place in certain areas. Commission staff recognizes that although it is in municipalities’ best interests to notify all CLECs and wireless carriers of municipal changes, in the absence of signed E9-1-1 agreements, municipalities are not always aware of which companies to notify (i.e. which CLECs and wireless carriers are operating in the municipality at any given time).
Commission staff is therefore of the view that there may be ways to improve the change notification process to ensure all CLECs and wireless carriers operating in a given serving area are provided with adequate, up-to-date information. Commission staff considers that CISC is a suitable forum for consideration of this issue.
As such, in a separate letter, Commission staff has requested that CISC examine ways to improve the timeliness of change notification, including the feasibility of ILECs acting as central coordinators, and to provide its recommendations to the Commission.
2. Interconnection with RCCI E9-1-1 test bed
RCCI requested that Bell Canada should be required to facilitate this interconnection arrangement in a realistic timeframe and at a reasonable cost, and that Bell Canada should be required to facilitate test bed interconnection with other local service providers (LSPs).
Bell Canada submitted that RCCI should raise this matter at CISC so that other LSPs could provide input into the value of RCCI’s proposal.
Commission staff considers that this matter requires further examination and that it should be addressed by CISC. As such, in a separate letter, Commission staff has requested that CISC examine this initiative in more detail, including its technical feasibility, a demand forecast and the benefits of such an initiative. CISC has been asked to provide its recommendations to the Commission.
3. Processes and procedures
RCCI argued that Bell Canada unilaterally establishes processes and procedures that other LSPs must follow. RCCI submitted one example alleging that Bell Canada’s E9-1-1 Service Group (SG) provides Bell Canada’s Carrier Services Group (CSG) with information concerning locked records in the ALI database, but does not provide RCCI with the same information. In RCCI’s view, it is inappropriate for the E9-1-1 SG to treat competitors differently from other internal groups. RCCI submitted that processes and procedures associated with the relationship between Bell Canada’s
E9-1-1 SG, its CSG, and competitors should be addressed in a public proceeding.
Bell Canada submitted that all existing processes and procedures for E9-1-1 interconnection were developed by the industry, not solely by Bell Canada, and were approved by the Commission. Bell Canada further submitted that the role of the CSG is to serve as the single point of contact for all carrier requests and that carriers are not supposed to directly contact internal groups, such as the E9-1-1 SG. As such, it was RCCI that has not been following the established process.
Commission staff notes that the existing processes and procedures that are in place with respect to the E9-1-1 system were developed by the industry, including those associated with locked E9-1-1 ALI records. Commission staff also notes that the role of the CSG includes acting as an intermediary between carriers and Bell Canada’s internal service groups to ensure that there is a single point of contact for carrier requests, and ensuring the proper treatment of competitors’ proprietary or sensitive information.
Commission staff is therefore of the view that a public proceeding to examine the processes and procedures associated with the E9-1-1 system, or to examine the role and conduct of Bell Canada’s E9-1-1 SG, is not needed at this time. If RCCI has concerns with respect to specific processes or procedures, such as those associated with locked E9-1-1 ALI records, it should raise these concerns at CISC.
4. Neutrality and oversight
RCCI submitted that there is a need to establish proper oversight to ensure the E9-1-1 system is managed in a fair and neutral manner.
RCCI alleged that Bell Canada has interfered in dealings between RCCI and municipalities, which has compromised RCCI’s ability to establish and foster relationships with municipalities and Public Service Answering Points (PSAP).
RCCI also submitted that it requires cost-effective, real time access to its customers’ information contained in the ANI/ALI database, to facilitate its verification process and ensure quality control. In RCCI’s view, LSPs should have the same level of access to the ALI database as Bell Canada.
In response to RCCI’s allegations of interference, Bell Canada submitted that it has encouraged municipalities to enter into agreements with CLECs so that bilateral discussions can take place, but that some municipalities have insisted that Bell Canada personnel attend such discussions in an advisory capacity. In Bell Canada’s view, it would be inappropriate for its staff to refuse such requests.
In response to RCCI’s request for real time access to the ANI/ALI database, Bell Canada submitted that such an undertaking would be unnecessary and costly. In Bell Canada’s view, if RCCI’s desire is to improve the accuracy of its data records, it should implement a more stringent quality control process for inputting its files. Bell Canada submitted that if RCCI has issues with the current processes concerning access to the ALI database, it should raise these concerns at CISC.
Regarding RCCI’s allegations of interference, Commission staff is of the view that municipalities and ILECs have a long-standing relationship with respect to the delivery of E9-1-1 services, and that this is one reason why municipalities, PSAPs, and emergency response providers might look to an ILEC for information and advice. Commission staff would expect that Bell Canada’s staff acting in this advisory capacity would act in a neutral manner to enable CLECs to develop relationships with municipalities. In Commission staff’s view, on this basis, there is no need for Commission action on this matter at this time.
Regarding RCCI’s request for expanded access to the ALI database, Commission staff considers that this matter requires further examination by CISC. As such, in a separate letter, Commission staff has requested that CISC examine this initiative in more detail, including its technical feasibility, a demand forecast and the benefits of such an initiative. CISC has been asked to provide its recommendations to the Commission.
5. Violation of the terms of the ILEC-CLEC E9-1-1 Agreement
RCCI alleged that Bell Canada has committed several violations of the ILEC-CLEC
E9-1-1 Interconnection Agreement (the E9-1-1 Agreement) and that Bell Canada should be required to comply with the terms and conditions of the agreement.
Bell Canada submitted that there is an on-going CRTC proceeding examining changes to the E9-1-1 Agreement (the E9-1-1 Agreement proceeding) and that RCCI has raised many of the same arguments in that proceeding. Bell Canada submitted that there is no need to review the same issues in a separate proceeding.
Commission staff notes that RCCI’s allegations regarding Bell Canada’s violations of the E9-1-1 Agreement will be evaluated in the E9-1-1 Agreement proceeding, and that as a result there is no need for a separate process to consider them.
6. Wireless issues
RCCI submitted that Bell Canada’s web portal, which enables wireless carriers to submit cell/sector information stored in the ALI database on line, is frequently unavailable.
Bell Canada acknowledged that it has experienced difficulties with its web portal and recognized that the problem was unacceptable. Bell Canada submitted that it has taken corrective action and that, at the time of its 28 October 2009 comments, the portal had only been down once since June 2009.
In Commission staff’s view, the reliability of Bell Canada’s web portal is important to ensure carriers can enter ALI information in a timely fashion. As such, in a separate letter, Commission staff has requested Bell Canada to provide the Commission with a status report detailing the nature of the problem, an update on how often the web portal has been down since June 2009, and for how long, details regarding the corrective measures Bell Canada took to solve the problem, and the measures that have been put in place to ensure that the problem does not reoccur. Bell Canada has also been requested to submit a status update to the Commission in one year’s time showing, over the course of the year, how often its web portal service was down, if at all, and for how long.
As a result of the measures outlined in this letter, and for the reasons given above, Commission staff considers that the Commission file established by RCCI’s 28 September 2009 Part VII application is now closed.
Original signed by
Competition, Costing and Tariffs
Distribution list: ILECs
CISC Steering Committee
- Date modified: