ARCHIVED - Letter
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Ottawa, June 5, 2014
Our reference: 8678-T66-201402891
Mr. Ted Woodhead
Federal Government & Regulatory Affairs
TELUS Communications Company
215 Slater St., 8th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 0A6
RE: TELUS Communications Company ‒ Application to add a Replacement Deferral Account Community and Request Extended Deadline for Completion
On 31 March 2014, the Commission received a Part 1 application by TELUS Communications Company (TCC) in which it requested (a) approval of Smithers Landing as a replacement community for a previously approved community, and (b) an extension to the deadline for completion of its deferral-account-funded broadband rollout to the end of 2014 for 18 communities and to the end of 2015 for the remaining 11 communities.
Paragraph 28(1)(a) of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Rules of Practice and Procedure provides that the Commission may request parties to file information or documents where needed.
In order to assist the Commission to dispose of TCC’s application, TCC is requested to provide comprehensive answers, including rationale and any supporting information, to the attached questions by 16 June 2014.
Original signed by
Director, Regulatory Implementation
c.c.: Joseph Cabrera, CRTC, (819) 934-6352, email@example.com
Request for information
In its Part 1 application, TCC proposed to add the community of Smithers Landing as a replacement deferral account community for a previously approved community. The company submitted that, if approved, it would not be able to provide high-speed Internet service in Smithers Landing by the end of the 2014 construction season. It requested an extension to the end of 2015 to provide service in this community.
TCC also submitted that it had examined the remaining unserved deferral account communities and had concluded that it would not be possible to complete all of the required construction activities by the deadline of 31 August 2014. It also submitted that almost all of the remaining communities had proven to be difficult to serve. TCC requested that the deadline for the communities it had planned to serve in 2014 be moved to the end of 2014 so that it could take advantage of the full construction season. The company submitted that many of the planned construction activities were weather dependent and could not begin until the ground thawed or until repeaters could be installed at higher elevations, which had proven impossible given the prolonged winter season.
In addition, TCC indicated that it had encountered significant delays for 11 communities, for which it needed more time to provide broadband service. TCC requested a deadline extension to the end of 2015 to provide broadband service for these communities.
Staff notes that by letter dated 7 May 2013, Commission staff requested, among other things, that TCC confirm that it intended to complete the rollout of broadband service to approved communities by 31 August 2014. By letter dated 10 May 2013, TCC confirmed that it was still planning to complete its rollout by 31 August 2014.
In its Part 1 application, dated 7 August 2013, in which it requested to replace certain communities where there were no permanent resident, TCC did not indicate that its deferral-account-funded broadband expansion might be delayed.
TCC is requested to provide responses to the following questions.
- Regarding Smithers Landing
- Explain how TCC chose this community as a replacement, including whether it sought and/or obtained comments from the community and/or other organizations.
- Identify the technology that will be used to provide broadband service (e.g. digital subscriber line, fixed wireless), and whether TCC will be providing the service to end users itself or through a third-party.
- Provide complete information on the services that will be made available (speed, bandwidth, applicable monthly rates, etc.).
- Provide an estimate of the number of households that would have access to the service, and whether this represents the entire community, as well as the expected take-up rate.
- Specify whether TCC took steps to assess the risk that some communities would not be completed by the deadline and that it planned specific actions to mitigate these risks before providing its 10 May 2013 response. If yes, describe the steps TCC took and provide a summary of TCC’s risk assessment and its mitigation strategy at that time. If not, explain why not.
- According to TCC’s Annual Update Reports, several communities have been postponed.
- In its 2011 report, the following communities were originally planned for rollout in 2012. In subsequent reports they were postponed to 2013 and then to either 2014 or 2015.
- Chipewyan Lake
- Da’Naxda’Xw First Nation (Dead Point No. 5)
- Hope Island No. 1
- Peerless Lake
- Skatin Nations (Skookumchuck 4)
- Tsawatanineuk (Quaee 7)
- The following communities were originally planned for rollout in 2013, but were subsequently postponed to either 2014 or 2015.
- Hesquiath (Refuge Cove 6)
- Oregan Jack Creek No. 3
- Spuzzum (Spuzzum 1)
- Tsimpsean No. 2
- Upper Nicola (Douglas Lake 3)
TCC is requested to provide detailed explanation regarding
- How it dealt with roadblocks and unforeseen issues as they emerged during the planning and rollout of the broadband expansion program.
- How it prioritized the rollout of the broadband expansion program according to the challenges that some communities represented (e.g. hilly land, etc.). Further, explain how TCC has dealt with the challenge of rolling out broadband to some remote communities – such as, for example, the three Lake Babine communities and Oclucje No. 7, which TCC identified in its Part 1 application.
- Why the communities noted above were postponed in previous reports, identifying the specific problems and steps taken to resolve them.
- Why its planning process did not previously identify that certain communities were at risk for missing the August 2014 deadline for broadband service rollout, or, if it did, indicate when the risk was identified and why TCC did not immediately identify this risk to the Commission.
- In its Part 1 application, TCC has requested a deadline extension to the end of 2015 for 11 communities. For each of these communities, TCC also provided forecasts of the portion of the project it expected to complete by the end of 2014.
- For each of these 11 communities, provide a detailed explanation of the work expected to be completed by the end of 2014 and the work required to be completed for the remainder of the project.
- Provide TCC’s estimation of the possibility (in percent) that it will not complete the rollout to these communities by the end of 2015, including a discussion of the risk assessment or factors leading to its conclusion.
- In its application, TCC indicated that the community of Pinkut Lake was still to be developed.
- Given that this community is not yet built and, therefore, there are no residents, explain why TCC proposed this community for broadband expansion. Further explain in greater detail the rationale for why it should not be replaced with another community.
- Specific to this community, provide TCC’s detailed rollout plan, identifying a) the major risks associated with its rollout plan, and b) its mitigation strategy to address each risk. Include TCC’s assessment, with rationale, of whether development of the community and the associated rollout of broadband service will be completed by the end of 2015.
- Identify, providing cost estimates, what resources TCC has already expended and what resources it intends to expend in order to attain 20% completion of the broadband rollout to this community by the end of 2014.
- Provide TCC’s current risk assessment and mitigation strategy with regards to plans for all remaining communities in its April 2014 Annual report.
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