ARCHIVED - Telecom Commission Letter addressed to Stephen Schmidt (TELUS Communications Company)
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Ottawa, 28 November 2014
File No. 8678-T66-201406075
Mr. Stephen Schmidt
Vice-President – Telecom Policy & Chief Regulatory Legal Counsel
Telecom Policy & Regulatory Affairs
TELUS Communications Company
215 Slater Street, 8th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 0A6
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Re: Part 1 Application - Deferral Account Proposal to Improve the Accessibility of Telecommunications Services for Persons with Disabilities
Dear Mr. Schmidt:
I am writing with regard to the TELUS Communications Company (TCC) deferral account application filed with the Commission on 30 June 2014. The purpose of this letter is to respond to TCC’s proposal for a meeting with Commission staff and to clarify the status of the current application.
In a letter dated 29 October 2014, TCC provided responses to Commission staff’s requests for information dated 15 October 2014 and suggested that a direct meeting between TCC and Commission staff might be beneficial. Commission staff is satisfied with its understanding of the record, and considers that any additional clarification of TCC’s application can be accomplished through interrogatories.
Regarding the status of the current application, Commission staff notes the following:
- In Telecom Decision 2008-1,Footnote 1 the Commission established that the deferral account funds earmarked for accessibility initiatives (deferral account funds) should be fully utilized by the end of 2011.
- With a 3 February 2011 letter, staff requested that TCC report on the status of all of its deferral account accessibility initiatives. This letter initiated correspondence between TCC and staff that resulted in TCC being requested to file a Part 1 application for use of its remaining $1.73 M of deferral account funds.
- TCC filed a Part 1 application for the allocation of its remaining $1.73 M of deferral account funds on 29 April 2013 (file number 8678-T66-201306845, hereinafter, the previous application).
- Following a request for information from Commission staff, TCC re-examined its costs and withdrew the previous application by letter dated 7 February 2014. Accordingly, the application was closed on 28 February 2014.
- TCC submitted a new application for the use of $0.73 M of its remaining $1.73 M of deferral account funds on 30 June 2014 (hereinafter, the current application) that allowed $1 M to remain unallocated.
- On 15 July 2014, the CNIB requested that the Commission amend its procedures to include an interrogatory process.
- Commission staff issued a letter dated 25 July 2014 notifying parties that the usual procedural timelines associated with the application were suspended to permit Commission staff to more closely review TCC’s application.
- By letter dated 15 October 2014, Commission staff requested that TCC confirm, given the issuance of Telecom Decision 2014-527 (the Bell Deferral Account Decision),Footnote 2 whether it wished to proceed with its current application, and,
- If not, specify when a revised application would be filed;
- If so,
- explain why TCC has chosen to allow $1 M of deferral account funds to remain unallocated without proposing new initiatives for these funds;
- highlight the areas of change between TCC’s previous and current applications, given their similarities; and
- reply to other staff requests for information.
- In response to a staff inquiry, TCC sent a first letter on 22 October 2014 indicating that it wished to proceed with its current application, and a second letter on 29 October 2014 explaining why, among other things, it had not proposed initiatives that would fully utilize its remaining deferral account funds. TCC submitted that it
- is currently engaged in consultations with some parties,
- should be allowed to wait for a determination from the Commission on its current application before making any further proposals, and
- is investigating Bell Canada’s recently approved proposals to see what initiatives could be relevant to TCC.
Given these series of events and the content of the correspondence, Commission staff is concerned that TCC has not submitted a proposal that fully utilizes the entire balance of funds remaining in its deferral account, particularly given that TCC has indicated that it has already consulted with organizations representing Canadians with disabilities. Commission staff’s concern is further validated by the Commission’s expectation that deferral account funds earmarked for accessibility initiatives were to be fully utilized by the end of 2011.
Additionally, Commission staff notes that the Commission’s latest determination regarding deferral account funds, the Bell Deferral Account Decision, provides clear guidance with respect to the types of initiatives that the Commission has recently found to be acceptable and has approved.
Therefore, the current process will be reinitiated with the objective of creating a public record upon which the Commission can make determinations that will promote the accessibility of telecommunications services in Canada. Those determinations may include direction to TCC with respect to the allocation of any remaining funds.
Commission staff will issue a letter shortly in response to the request of the CNIB to include an interrogatory process and to set out the new procedural deadlines for TCC’s’ current application.
Should you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact Marie-Claire Bouthillier at 819-997-4692 or email@example.com .
ORIGINAL SIGNED BY /
Director, Social & Consumer Policy
Consumer Affairs and Strategic Policy
cc. firstname.lastname@example.org; Marie-Claire.Bouthillier@crtc.gc.ca; email@example.com
Eric Edora Eric.Edora@TELUS.com; Canadian Association of the Deaf firstname.lastname@example.org; Ontario College of Art and Design, Treviranus, email@example.com; ARCH firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Council of Canadians with Disabilities, firstname.lastname@example.org; Council of Canadians with Disabilities, email@example.com; Independent Living Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org; Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), Christine.email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Marc.Workman@cnib.ca; Canadian Council of the Blind, email@example.com; Ottawa Deaf Centre, firstname.lastname@example.org; Ontario Association of the Deaf, email@example.com; The Canadian Hearing Society, firstname.lastname@example.org; Canadian Association for Community Living, email@example.com; Centre québécois de la déficience auditive, firstname.lastname@example.org; Public Interest Law Centre, email@example.com; Disability and Information Technologies (Dis-IT), firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians/L'Alliance pour l'égalité des aveugles canadiens, firstname.lastname@example.org; Farah.email@example.com; Neil Squire; Society, firstname.lastname@example.org; Chris Stark, email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Clayton Zekelman, clayton@MNSi.Net; Beverley Milligan, Media Access Canada, email@example.com; Confédération des organismes de personnes handicapées du Québec, firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
- Footnote 1
Use of deferral account funds to improve access to telecommunications services for persons with disabilities and to expand broadband services to rural and remote communities, Telecom Decision CRTC 2008-1, 17 January 2008.
- Footnote 2
Bell Canada and Bell Mobility Inc. – Further proposals for the use of deferral account funds to improve access to telecommunications services for persons with disabilities, Telecom Decision CRTC 2014-527, 8 October 2014.
- Date modified: