ARCHIVED - Telecom Commission Letter addressed to Mr. Stephen Schmidt (TELUS Communications Company)

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Ottawa, 19 February 2016

Our reference:  8740-T66-201503970

By Email

Mr. Stephen Schmidt
Vice-President - Telecom Policy & Chief Regulatory Counsel
Telecom Policy & Regulatory Affairs
TELUS Communications Company
30-10020-100 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 0N5

RE:  TELUS Communications Company Tariff Notice 494 – Disclosure of information designated as confidential

Dear Sir:

On 15 December 2015, the Commission issued five requests for information (RFIs) to TELUS Communications Company (TCC) regarding the above-noted application. In its responses, submitted 22 January 2016, TCC designated certain information as confidential pursuant to section 39 of the Telecommunications Act. TCC submitted that the information in question had consistently been treated as confidential by both TCC and the Commission, was not otherwise available to competitors, and that its release would cause TCC direct and specific harm.

Shaw Cablesystems G.P. (Shaw) and Bragg Communications Inc., operating as Eastlink (Eastlink) noted their inability to meaningfully comment on RFIs 2, 3, and 5, which included the information that TCC designated as confidential. Further, Shaw submitted that TCC’s confidentiality designations were inconsistent with the Commission’s prior treatment of information relevant to the costing of TCC support structure services.

In response to Shaw and Eastlink’s comments, TCC reiterated that the designation of confidential information was consistent with prior treatment. TCC submitted that disclosure could harm TCC by allowing competitors to develop more effective business strategies and could adversely affect negotiations between them and TCC. Further, TCC submitted that revealing the total pole counts would permit other support structure licensees to determine pole counts of competitors, which would be particularly disadvantageous to smaller cable competitors.

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 next step in the assessment is to determine 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 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, as amended by Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-961-1, 26 October 2012.

In the circumstances, Commission staff considers that Shaw has demonstrated how information similar to that which TCC has designated as confidential has been disclosed on the record of previous Commission proceedings.  Accordingly, staff does not consider the potential harm TCC has described to be reasonably expected.  In addition, even if the information in question did fall into a category that can be properly designated as confidential, staff considers that any specific direct harm to TCC or competitors in TCC’s territory would be outweighed by the public interest in the disclosure of the information in the circumstances, especially with respect to the importance of the information to a full and complete record.

In light of the above, Commission staff is of the view that the information filed in confidence in RFIs 2, 3 and 5 should be disclosed on the public record.

In the interest of efficiency, and in recognition of the length of time that the record of the present proceeding has already been open, Commission staff directs TCC to provide the information filed in confidence in RFIs 2, 3 and 5 on the public record no later than 22 February 2016

Any party that has already submitted comments on TN 494 may comment on TCC’s revised RFI responses no later than 24 February 2016.


Original signed by

Lyne Renaud
Director, Competitor Service & Costing Implementation
Telecommunications Sector
c.c.:  Curtis Eagan, Analyst, CRTC 819-953-4947,

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