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Ottawa, 27 August 2012

File No.: 8650-B54-201200469


To: Distribution list

Dear Madam / Sirs:

RE:  Part 1 Application - Request to grant flexibility to increase pay telephone rates - Requests for disclosure of information designated as confidential and further responses to interrogatories - Additional process

On 8 August 2012, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and Canada Without Poverty (collectively, the Consumer Groups) filed requests for (1) disclosure of information for which confidentiality had been claimed, and (2) further responses to interrogatories filed by Bell Aliant Regional Communications, Limited Partnership (Bell Aliant); Bell Canada; and Télébec, Limited Partnership (Télébec) (collectively, the Companies) in the above-noted proceeding.

On 15 August 2012, the Companies filed their responses to these requests.

Part I - Requests for Disclosure

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 of Procedure).  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.  An assessment is then made as to 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 for the purpose of obtaining a fuller record.  The factors considered are discussed in more detail in Procedures for filing confidential information and requesting its disclosure in Commission proceedings, Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-961,
23 December 2010.

Commission staff notes that the Consumer Groups have requested, among other things, disclosure of certain costing information filed in confidence by the Companies.  Commission staff considers that the Companies face limited payphone competition, and that in most parts of their territories they are the sole provider of payphone service.

Commission staff notes that the data requested is averaged across the entire territory of each of the Companies, and therefore considers that the summary of revenues and costs related to the provision of payphone service across each territory would be of limited use to any potential competitor.  Further, Commission staff considers that payphone service remains an important public service, and disclosure of this information in this proceeding would assist interveners in assessing the impact of the proposed rate increase on consumers.  Therefore, Commission staff considers that any specific direct harm that may result from the disclosure of certain costing information does not outweigh the public interest in disclosure.

Having regard to all of the above considerations, the Companies are to disclose the following information:

The Companies(CRTC)22May12-41

Bell Aliant-Atlantic(CRTC)22May12-4


Part II - Requests for Further Responses

Regarding requests for further responses to interrogatories, the requirements of section 76 of the Rules of Procedure apply.  The merits of arguments both for and against the filing of further responses are taken into account, as well as the general principles enunciated by the Commission in past proceedings.

The major consideration is the relevance of the information requested to the matter at issue.

The availability of the information requested is also a factor, which is balanced against the relevance of the information.  If the provision of the information sought would require an effort disproportionate to the probative value of the information itself, further responses will not be required.

Another factor considered is the extent to which an interrogatory answer is responsive to the interrogatory as it was originally asked.  Generally, parties are not required to provide further responses to requests for further information from a party that did not ask the original interrogatory.

Having regard to the considerations set out above, the Companies are to provide a response to the following interrogatory:

The Companies(PIAC)22May12-1

Part III - Further Process

In the circumstances, Commission staff considers that it would be appropriate to extend the process in order to provide parties with an opportunity to address additional questions on the information provided by the Companies in their interrogatory responses of 31 July 2012. Accordingly, the process in this proceeding is amended as follows:

Parties are reminded that, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure, if a document is to be filed or served by a specific date, the document must be actually received, not merely sent, by that date.  A document must be filed with the Commission by 5 p.m. Vancouver time
(8 p.m. Ottawa time) on the date it is due.

It is expected that a decision on the issues raised in the Companies’ application will be published within four months of the close of record.

Yours sincerely,

‘Original signed by J. Macri’

John Macri
Director, Telecommunications Policy

c.c.: Adam Mills, CRTC, (819) 997-4574, 

Distribution list

Mr. Denis E. Henry
Vice President - Legal, Regulatory, Government Affairs and Public Law
Bell Aliant Regional Communications, Limited Partnership

Mr. Mirko Bibic
Senior Vice-President
Bell Canada

Mr. John Lawford
Public Interest Advocacy Centre

Mme Sophy Lambert-Racine
Analyste télécommunications, radiodiffusion, inforoute, vie privée
Union des consommateurs

[1] The Companies provided a response to this interrogatory only for Bell Canada and Bell Aliant-Central.

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