ARCHIVED - Letter
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Ottawa, 25 November 2011
File No.: 8663-C12-201015470
Mr. Elie Hantsis
Brama Telecom Inc.
15 Wertheim Cr., Unit 404
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Dear Mr. Hantsis:
Re: Requirement to provide information regarding VoIP 9-1-1 service to customers in Canada
Local voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers that offer service in Canada are required to comply with certain obligations. These obligations are to provide 9-1-1 service, to inform customers of any service limitations regarding the provision of 9-1-1 service, and to register with the Commission as a reseller.
In a letter dated 20 September 2011, Commission staff requested Brama Telecom Inc. (Brama) to provide information regarding its provision of 9-1-1 service to its Canadian customers. To date, Brama has not responded to this staff letter.
The Commission’s findings regarding Brama
It appears to the Commission that Brama is providing local VoIP service in Canada. The Commission has based this determination on statements on Brama’s website [http://www.brama.ca/index.htm] that the company offers local VoIP service.
It appears to the Commission that Brama may not be providing 9-1-1 service to its local VoIP customers in some or all instances and may not be abiding with the other obligations indicated in this letter. The Commission has based this determination on examination of Brama’s website [http://www.brama.ca/index.htm].
In addition, the Commission has no record that Brama has filed customer notification texts for Commission approval, nor does it have a record of Brama being registered, or having applied to register, as a reseller.
Request for information under subsection 37(2) of the Telecommunications Act:
In accordance with subsection 37(2) of the Telecommunications Act, the Commission hereby directs Brama to provide the information described below by 8 December 2011.
1. Confirm whether Brama currently provides local VoIP service in Canada;
2. Indicate whether Brama currently provides 9-1-1 service to all its local VoIP service customers in Canada;
a) If Brama provides 9-1-1 service, specify which 9‑1-1 public safety answering points (PSAPs)/third-party call centres, including contact information, the company uses to provide the service.
If Brama does not provide 9-1-1 service, provide a detailed 9-1-1 implementation plan, including information about network infrastructure, routing, and which 9-1-1 PSAPs/third-party call centres it intends to use to provide 9-1-1 service, as well as a timetable for when the various elements of the implementation plan will be completed.
b) Provide Brama’s
i) total number of VoIP customers; and
ii) the total number of these customers who do not have access to 9-1-1 service.
3. Indicate which local exchange carriers, local service providers, and/or resellers currently provide Brama with network resources and Canadian telephone numbers that enable it to offer local VoIP service in Canada.
4. Provide Brama’s plans for filing with the Commission for approval proposed VoIP 9-1-1 service customer notification texts that adhere to minimum requirements as mandated by the Commission.
5. Provide evidence that Brama has applied to register with the Commission as a reseller of telecommunications services or, if already registered, identification of the name under which it has registered and the date of registration.
The Commission notes that failure to provide this information by the above date may result in the issuance of a mandatory order against Brama, which may be registered with the Federal Court, and that failure to comply with a decision registered with the Federal Court could in turn result in contempt of court proceedings. In the event that Brama chooses not to provide some or all of the above-noted information, the company is to file comments by 8 December 2011 to show cause why the Commission should not a) issue an order pursuant to section 51 of the Telecommunications Act requiring Brama to file the above-requested information, and b) register this order with the Federal Court.
In addition, the Commission notes that the requirement to register as a reseller is a condition of obtaining service from a Canadian carrier. Therefore, should Brama fail to register with the Commission or furnish evidence to the effect that it has registered, the Commission may order Canadian carriers and/or other local service providers to cease providing services to Brama.
How to file
The required information can be submitted electronically by accessing the Commission’s website at www.crtc.gc.ca, clicking on “Telecommunications Sector” and then “Submit a telecom-related document online,” and then selecting the option “Other.” Submissions should be addressed to
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2
The subject of the letter should be “Obligations of local VoIP service providers with respect to 9-1-1 emergency service and registration as a reseller,” and the letter should reference the above-noted reference number.
‘Original signed by J. Traversy’
cc: D. Magmanlac, CRTC (819) 953-6638
SUGGESTED STARTER KIT NOTIFICATIONS
External Starter Kit Notification:
On the outside of the starter kit, (company name) will place the following customer notification in English/French (as appropriate):
VoIP 9-1-1 emergency service is different than traditional telephone 9-1-1 services. See enclosed documents for further important details.
Inside Starter Kit:
Inside the starter kit, (company name) will include documentation/user tips with the following text in English/French (as appropriate):
IMPORTANT 9-1-1 INFORMATION
We want to make sure that you are aware of important differences in the way 9-1-1 service operates with a VoIP phone when compared with traditional telephone service. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
Differences between traditional 9-1-1 service and VoIP phone 9-1-1.
With traditional phone services, your 9-1-1 call is sent directly to the nearest emergency response centre. With VoIP phone service, your 9-1-1 call is forwarded to a third-party service provider that will automatically or manually route your call to the emergency response centre.
Remember to verify your location.
Because you can move your VoIP phone between locations and because, for technical reasons, the emergency operator may not have your name, location or contact information available, you must immediately inform the emergency operator of your location and contact particulars any time you call 9-1-1. Do not risk sending police or ambulance services to the wrong location.
Be prepared during any service interruption.
VoIP phone service depends not only on your continued subscription (and payment) for the service, but also on Internet connectivity and power to function. In the event of power, network, or Internet outages (including congestion), or if your service is disconnected or suspended due to non-payment, you may experience a failure, disruption or delay in your 9-1-1 service. We recommend that you keep an alternative phone service (such as a cellular telephone) handy to increase the reliability of your access to emergency services during any service interruption.
Do not disconnect.
Until you are told to do so by an emergency dispatcher, do not disconnect your 9-1-1 call. If you are inadvertently disconnected, call back immediately.
Keep your service address up to date.
(Company name) will attempt to provide the emergency operator with your service address, so please ensure that your information on file with us is always accurate and updated. If you do not do this (for example, if you are unable to speak during a 9-1-1 call), the emergency operator may assume that you are calling from the last registered address.
Inform other users.
You must notify members of your household and other potential users of your VoIP phone service of the nature and limitations of 9-1-1 emergency calls. To make this easier, attach the included stickers in a visible location on your telephone sets.
Limitations of Liability.
(Company name)’s terms of service limit and disclaim liability related to VoIP 9-1-1 service, so please read these carefully.
For a complete description of our VoIP 9-1-1 service, please see (company name)’s terms of service at www.company.name.website.ca
Telephone Set Stickers Inside Starter Kit:
Inside the starter kit, (company name) will include telephone set warning stickers with the following text:
When dialling 9-1-1, be prepared to provide your address/location.
For more details visit www.company.name.website.ca
The URL indicated on the warning sticker goes to (company name)’s website, on which each page will contain a link to (company name)’s Terms of Service and other important notification items.
SUGGESTED MARKETING / POINT OF SALE NOTIFICATIONS
Printed Marketing Materials:
For its printed marketing materials, (company name) intends to use the following customer notification texts (examples) depending on the nature of the advertisement or promotion:
VoIP phone emergency 9-1-1 features differ from traditional 9-1-1 services. See sales representative for further details.
VoIP phone emergency 9-1-1 features differ from traditional 9-1-1 services. Visit www.company.name.website.ca for more information.
Note: Notifications similar to those above are also required in the event a local VoIP service provider is making use of other forms of advertising and or promotion such as with television, radio, or other forms of media.
When customers call (company name) to request activation of their VoIP service, (company name)’s representative will notify them of the documents in the starter kit and how the VoIP emergency 9-1-1 services differ from traditional 9-1-1 services. Once their VoIP service is ready to be activated, customers will, through the Internet, log onto their account management site to activate their 9-1-1 service. As part of the activation process, text similar to the printed 9-1-1 documents will be presented to the customers and the customers will be presented with the following in English/French (as appropriate) and their selections will be captured:
I agree that I have read and understand the 9-1-1 service limitations described
[link: "I Agree" (to proceed with activation)]
[link: "I Do Not Agree" (to cancel activation)]
Customer Service/Point of Sales:
(Company name)’s customer service and sales representatives will be fully versed in the contents of the VoIP 9-1-1 documents for discussion with potential customers.
On-line marketing on (company name)’s website will contain a link to its Terms of Service prefaced with the following text:
VoIP phone emergency 9-1-1 features differ from traditional 9-1-1 emergency services. Visit [link] [www.company.name.website.ca] for more information
SUGGESTED TERMS OF SERVICE NOTIFICATIONS
THIS SECTION CONTAINS IMPORTANT PROVISIONS, INCLUDING THOSE REGARDING 9-1-1 SERVICE
Description: VoIP services allow you to make or receive telephone calls over the Internet to or from the public switched telephone network. The nature of VoIP telephone calls, while appearing similar to traditional telephone calling services, create unique limitations and circumstances, and you acknowledge and agree that differences exist between traditional telephone service and VoIP telephone services, including the lack of traditional 9-1-1 emergency services.
9-1-1 service: Because of the unique nature of VoIP telephone calls, emergency calls to 9-1-1 through your VoIP service will be handled differently than traditional phone service. The following provisions describe the differences and limitations of 9-1-1 emergency calls, and you hereby acknowledge and understand the differences between traditional 9-1-1 service and VoIP calls with respect to 9-1-1 calls placed to emergency services from your account as described below.
Placing 9-1-1 calls: When you make a 9-1-1 emergency call, the VoIP service will attempt to automatically route your 9-1-1 call through a third-party service provider to the Public Safety Answering Point (“PSAP”) corresponding to your address of record on your account. However, due to the limitations of the VoIP telephone services, your 9-1-1 call may be routed to a different location than that which would be used for traditional 9-1-1 dialling. For example, your call may be forwarded to a third-party specialized call centre that handles emergency calls. This call centre is different from the PSAP that would answer a traditional 9-1-1 call which has automatically generated your address information, and consequently, you may be required to provide your name, address, and telephone number to the call centre.
How your information is provided: The VoIP service will attempt to automatically provide the PSAP dispatcher or emergency service operator with the name, address and telephone number associated with your account. However, for technical reasons, the dispatcher receiving the call may not be able to capture or retain your name, phone number or physical location. Therefore, when making a 9-1-1 emergency call, you must immediately inform the dispatcher of your location (or the location of the emergency, if different). If you are unable to speak, the dispatcher may not be able to locate you if your location information is not up to date.
Correctness of information: You are responsible for providing, maintaining, and updating correct contact information (including name, residential address and telephone number) with your account. If you do not correctly identify the actual location where you are located, or if your account information has recently changed or has otherwise not been updated, 9-1-1 calls may be misdirected to an incorrect emergency response site.
Disconnections: You must not disconnect the 9-1-1 emergency call until told to do so by the dispatcher, as the dispatcher may not have your number or contact information. If you are inadvertently disconnected, you must call back immediately.
Connection time: For technical reasons, including network congestion, it is possible that a 9-1-1 emergency call will produce a busy signal or will take longer to connect when compared with traditional 9-1-1 calls.
9-1-1 calls may not function: For technical reasons, the functionality of 9-1-1 VoIP emergency calls may cease or be curtailed in various circumstances, including but not limited to:
Failure of service or your service access device—if your system access equipment fails or is not configured correctly, or if your VoIP service is not functioning correctly for any reason, including power outages, VoIP service outage, suspension or disconnection of your service due to billing issues, network or Internet congestion, or network or Internet outage in the event of a power, network or Internet outage; you may need to reset or reconfigure the system access equipment before being able to use the VoIP service, including for 9-1-1 emergency calls; and changing locations—if you move your system access equipment to a location other than that described in your account information or otherwise on record with (company name).
Alternate services: If you are not comfortable with the limitations of 9-1-1 emergency calls, (company name) recommends that you terminate the VoIP services or consider an alternate means for accessing traditional 9-1-1 emergency services.
Inform other users: You are responsible for notifying, and you agree to notify, any user or potential users of your VoIP services of the nature and limitations of 9-1-1 emergency calls on the VoIP services as described herein.
iability: Customers are advised to review this section with respect to (company name)’s limitations of liability (as appropriate to each company).
 These obligations were imposed in Emergency service obligations for local VoIP service providers, Telecom Decision CRTC 2005-21, 4 April 2005; Regulatory framework for voice communication services using Internet Protocol, Telecom Decision CRTC 2005-28, 12 May 2005, as amended by Telecom Decision CRTC 2005-28-1, 30 June 2005 (Telecom Decision 2005-28); and Follow-up to Emergency service obligations for local VoIP service providers, Decision 2005-21 - Customer notification requirements Telecom Decision CRTC 2005-61, 20 October 2005, which are available on the Commission’s website at www.crtc.gc.ca.
 BRAMA Corporation may file certain information in response to these questions in confidence if the information falls into a category listed under subsection 39(1) of the Act. For guidance on filing confidential information, see Procedures for filing confidential information and requesting its disclosure in Commission proceedings, Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin 2010-961, 23 December 2010 available on the Commission’s website at http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2010/2010-961.htm.
 A template customer notification text is attached to help the VoIP service provider meet its obligations to provide 9-1-1 customer notification texts to its customers.
 The Commission’s powers to request information from any person, issue mandatory orders, register its decisions with the Federal Court, and enforce the registered decision through the Federal Court, are found in subsection 37(2), section 51, and subsection 63(2) of the Telecommunications Act, respectively.
 See Telecom Decision 2005-28.
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