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Ottawa, 29 November 2011

Our reference:  8740-B54-201112664



Dear Madam/Sir:

Re:  Bell Aliant Regional Communications, Limited Partnership Tariff Notice 380 and Bell Canada Tariff Notice 7326 – Requests for information

This letter resumes the process initiated by applications filed on 12 September 2011 by Bell Aliant Regional Communications, Limited Partnership and Bell Canada (collectively, the Bell companies) under cover of Tariff Notices 380 and 7326, respectively, in which the Bell companies proposed revised monthly co-location power rates.

By letter dated 21 October 2011, MTS Allstream Inc. (MTS Allstream) submitted requests for information in collaboration with the Canadian Network Operators Consortium Inc. (CNOC), and Globility Communications Corporation (Globility). On 10 November 2011, the Bell companies provided their responses. On 15 November 2011, MTS Allstream, on behalf of CNOC, Globility and itself (MTS Allstream et al.) requested that the Commission direct the Bell companies to file complete responses to several requests for information which they had posed. On the same date, the Commission suspended the timelines for the filing of comments and reply comments until it determined whether further requests for information might be appropriate. By letter dated 23 November 2011, the Bell companies responded to MTS Allstream et al.’s deficiency requests.

Deficiency/confidentiality requests

With regard to the responses to The Companies(MTS/CNOC//Globility)21Oct11-4, 5 and 6, MTS Allstream et al. requested that, at a minimum, the percent differences between the extrapolated cash flows and the average actual annual cash flows be placed on the public record, and that the remaining information, such as that related to all carriers demand and amounts spent on capital for years 2006-2010, be filed in confidence with the Commission. MTS Allstream et al. submitted that this information would provide the Commission, and to some extent, other parties with a very simple yet practical validation of the unit costs used by the Bell companies to determine their proposed co‑location power rates.

The Bell companies replied that the requested information is confidential and has been treated consistently as so. They submitted that since they had performed a resource cost study for their submission, a forecast for both the competitors’ and the Bell companies’ demand was not necessary and therefore was not developed. Further, the Bell companies stated that they do not track their power costs or fuse amp demand by rate element and therefore would be unable to determine what proportion of the power costs or fuse amp demand was used for each rate element. The Bell companies stated, in addition, that the total fuse amp demand across all rate elements was not currently or readily available.

With regard to the response to The Companies(MTS/CNOC//Globility)21Oct11-14, MTS Allstream et al. requested that the Bell companies provide the full details of capital and expense cash flows recovered by Bell through a number of one-time and recurring charges. MTS Allstream et al. submitted that several charges for establishing or augmenting co-location appear to recover the same costs that have been included in the Bell companies’ cost studies for co-location power services. MTS Allstream et al. submitted that the Bell companies’ response was sufficiently vague, such that it is impossible to assess whether the same costs may be recovered more than once. In support of its claim, MTS Allstream et al. also provided examples, through an Attachment, of one-time charges associated with establishing co-location services for MTS Allstream on Bell Canada premises.

The Bell companies replied that MTS Allstream et al. filed its Attachment in confidence with no abridgement, so the Bell companies cannot comment on the content. The Bell companies also submitted that MTS Allstream et al.’s request addresses only capital and capital-related expenses and the Bell companies have provided a list of all of the capital and capital-related maintenance expenses related to co-location power in response to TheCompanies(MTS/CNOC//Globility)21Oct11‑14. The Bell companies submitted that they have answered the question to the extent possible.

Commission staff notes that requests for disclosure of information designated as confidential are addressed in light of sections 38 and 39 of the Telecommunications Act (the Act) and sections 30 and following of the CRTC Rules of Practice and Procedure (the Rules).  In evaluating a request, an assessment is made as to whether the information falls into a category of information that can be designated confidential pursuant to section 39 of the Act. The Commission then assesses whether there is any specific direct harm likely to result from the disclosure of the information in question and whether any such harm outweighs the public interest in disclosure. In making this evaluation, a number of factors are taken into consideration, including the degree of competition and the importance of the information to the ability of the Commission to obtain a full and complete record. The factors considered by the Commission are discussed in more detail in Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-961 Procedures for filing confidential information and requesting its disclosure in Commission proceedings.

Commission staff considers that the information being sought by MTS Allstream et al., that was designated by the Bell companies as confidential when filed, properly falls within section 39 of the Act, specifically section 39(1)(b):  financial, commercial, scientific or technical information that is confidential and that is treated in a confidential manner by the person who submitted it. Commission staff also considers that the release of this information on the public record could cause specific direct harm to the Bell companies and that this outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

Commission staff notes MTS Allstream et al.’s deficiency claims. With regard to the responses to The Companies(MTS/CNOC//Globility)21Oct11-4, 5 and 6, Commission staff notes the Bell companies’ use of a resource cost study, which is an acceptable approach as per Appendix E of The Regulatory Economic Study Manual. This type of cost study eliminates the requirement to estimate the total service demand and costs over the study period. Commission staff notes the Bell companies’ submission that they did not develop a forecast for both the competitors’ and Bell companies’ demand, and therefore this information cannot be provided. Further, Commission staff notes the Bell companies’ submission that they do not track their power costs or fuse amp demand by rate element, and they would be unable to determine what proportion of the costs or fuse amp demand was used for each rate element.

With regard to the response to The Companies(MTS/CNOC//Globility)21Oct11-14, Commission staff considers that providing a complete answer to this request for information would involve cost analysis for other co-location services and therefore is beyond the scope of what is required to determine appropriate costs for the co-location power applications.

In light of the above, the requests by MTS Allstream et al. is denied.

Commission staff Interrogatories

Commission staff has reviewed the costs studies filed by the Bell companies in support of their applications and has determined the need for further information to properly assess their proposed costs. Accordingly, the Bell companies are requested to file responses to the requests for information identified in the Attachment.

Process dates

In continuing the process to examine the applications made by the Bell companies and to allow for the responses to further requests for information posed by Commission staff, new deadlines have been established as follows:

Responses to further requests for information                  8 December 2011
Comments by parties                                                15 December 2011
Reply comments by the Bell companies                         22 December 2011

Consistent with the guidelines set out in Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010‑959, copies of comments and interrogatory responses referred to above are to be served on all parties to this proceeding. Copies of the documents should also be sent to pamela.cormier@crtc,

Yours truly,

Original signed by

Yvan Davidson
Director, Competitor Services and Costing

Attachment - Interrogatories

Distribution List;;;;


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