Telecom Commission Letter Addressed to Distribution List

Ottawa, 7 July 2016

Our reference:  8640-B2-201601253

By Email

Distribution List

RE:  Bell Canada – Forbearance from the regulation of wireless access services – Request for information

Dear Sir/Madam:

The Commission received a Part 1 application, dated 6 April 2016, from Bell Canada, pursuant to section 34 of the Telecommunications Act (the Act), requesting that the Commission refrain from exercising its powers and performing its duties under sections 24, 25, 27, 29, and 31 of the Act in relation to the wireless access services provided by Bell Canada (including the former Bell Aliant Regional Communications, Limited Partnership, or Bell Aliant), Télébec, Société en commandite (Télébec), and NorthernTel Limited Partnership (NorthernTel), in Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada (collectively, the Companies).

The Commission received interventions from the Canadian Network Operators Consortium Inc. (CNOC), the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), Rogers Communications Canada Inc. (RCCI), TELUS Communications Company (TCC), WIND Mobile Corp. (WIND), and one individual.

Pursuant to paragraph 28(1)(a) of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Rules of Practice and Procedure, the Commission may require a party to provide information, particulars or documents that it considers necessary to enable the Commission to reach a full and satisfactory understanding of the subject matter of the proceeding.

Bell Canada, RCCI, and WIND are requested to provide comprehensive answers, including any supporting information, to the attached questions.

Parties are to file their responses to the attached request for information with the Commission, serving a copy on all other parties, by 9 September 2016.

Any party may file interventions on the responses to the requests for information with the Commission, and serve copies on all other parties by 19 September 2016. Any party may file reply comments with the Commission, and serve copies on all other parties by 29 September 2016.

As set out in section 39 of the Telecommunications Act and in Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-961, Procedures for filing confidential information and requesting its disclosure in Commission proceedings, persons may designate certain information as confidential. A person designating information as confidential must provide a detailed explanation on why the designated information is confidential and why its disclosure would not be in the public interest, including why the specific direct harm that would be likely to result from the disclosure would outweigh the public interest in disclosure. Furthermore, a person designating information as confidential must either file an abridged version of the document omitting only the information designated as confidential or provide reasons why an abridged version cannot be filed.

Where a document is to be filed or served by a specific date, the document must be actually received, not merely sent, by that date.

Yours sincerely

Original signed by

Sheehan Carter
A/Director, Competition and Emergency Services Policy
Telecommunications Sector

c.c.      Laurie Ventura, CRTC, (819) 819-997-4589, laurie.ventura@crtc.gc.ca
Mory Fodé Fofana, CRTC, (819) 639-8109, moryfode.fofana@crtc.gc.ca

Attach. (3)

Distribution List
Bell Canada, Phillippe Gauvin, bell.regulatory@bell.ca
CNOC, William Sandiford, regulatory@cnoc.ca
PIAC, Geoff White, gwhite@piac.ca; John Lawford, jlawford@piac.ca; Cynthia Khoo, ckhoo@piac.ca
RCCI, Howard Slawner, rwi_gr@rci.rogers.com
TCC, Stephen Schmidt, regulatory.affairs@telus.com
WIND, Edward Antecol, eantecol@windmobile.ca

Questions for Bell Canada

I. Definition

For the purposes of this request for information, the following definitions apply:

  1. Relevant Period ‒ means annually, for the period between 1 January 2011 and 1 June 2016.
  2. Alternatives ‒ means the three proposed alternatives to wireless access service (WAS) that a wireless carrier could turn to in response to a price increase in WAS, as described in paragraph 28 of Bell Canada’s Part 1 application of 6 April 2016:
    1. become a Type II CLEC allowing them to benefit from a direct, shared-cost interconnection with a Bill and Keep compensation model; or
    2. indirectly connect with a LEC through an affiliated CLEC; or
    3. indirectly connect with a LEC through a negotiated agreement with an unaffiliated CLEC that has already established, or could establish, local network interconnection arrangements with a LEC.

II. Questions

  1. For the Relevant Period and for each LIR, for each of the Companies,
    1. identify each instance where a customer of the company in question has terminated an existing WAS contract, and

      indicate the annual dollar value of each terminated contract as of the last full year before the contract was terminated;

  2. For each of the Companies, and for each of the last five years, provide in Excel format using the following table,
    1. a list of all WAS customers and indicate the exchanges and LIRs in which they operate,
    2. the start and expiry dates for those contracts, and
    3. if the WAS customer has an affiliated CLEC in the LIR, the name of that CLEC.
      Year WAS customer Exchange LIR Contract start date Contract expiry date Name of affiliated CLEC in the LIR
      2015            
      2014            
      2013            
      2012            
      2011            
  3. At paragraph 110 of Telecom Decision 2008-17, the Commission determined that services related to the interchange of traffic between LECs and WSPs are to be classified as interconnection services. In addition, the Commission stated the following at paragraph 101 of that decision: “The Commission considers that it would be unreasonable to expect CLECs to establish a presence in an ILEC exchange or LIR if they do not intend to offer local exchange services to end-customers in that exchange or LIR…”
    1. Given the principles and determinations cited above, and considering that sections 40 and 42 of the Telecommunications Act constitute a distinct authority to mandate interconnection arrangements, please explain, with justification, whether and what impact the interconnection status of WAS should have on:
      1. Bell’s proposal that WAS no longer be mandated; and
      2. The scope of forbearance that may be provided for by the Commission as a result of this proceeding.
    2. Each of Bell Canada’s proposed Alternatives to WAS is dependent upon the wireless carrier either partnering with a CLEC already in an LIR or establishing a presence in the LIR, while WAS does not require the wireless carrier to have a presence in each LIR. Please explain how the requirement for a presence in each LIR could be considered an efficient interconnection solution for competitors.
  4. Explain, with rationale, what you would consider to be an appropriate transition period if the Commission were to remove the obligation to provide WAS.

Questions for RCCI and WIND

I. Definitions

  1. Alternatives ‒ means the three proposed alternatives to wireless access service (WAS) that a wireless carrier could turn to in response to a price increase in WAS, as described in paragraph 28 of Bell Canada’s Part 1 application of 6 April 2016:
    1. become a Type II CLEC allowing them to benefit from a direct, shared-cost interconnection with a Bill and Keep compensation model; or
    2. indirectly connect with a LEC through an affiliated CLEC; or
    3. indirectly connect with a LEC through a negotiated agreement with an unaffiliated CLEC that has already established, or could establish, local network interconnection arrangements with a LEC.
  2. The Operating Territories ‒ means the incumbent operating territory of Bell Canada (including the former Bell Aliant) in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as the operating territories of Télébec and NorthernTel.

II. Questions for RCCI

  1. Paragraph 30 of RCCI’s comment on Bell Canada’s application states:

    Bell’s attempt to forbear WAS will jeopardize competition in some exchanges, thereby fulfilling the competition component. As the Commission explained in paragraph 42 of TRP 2015-326 “if, on balance, the Commission finds that there is upstream market power and that the associated downstream retail market(s) could be negatively impacted to a substantial degree if it does not mandate the provision of the wholesale service, the competition component would be satisfied.” As explained above, affiliated CLECs, unaffiliated CLECs, and becoming WCLEC are not alternatives in every exchange. There are some exchanges where none of them will be available. In such places, WSPs would be subject to Bell’s discretion, harming their ability to deliver competitive wireless services in those exchanges.

    1. Identify those exchanges and LIRs in the Operating Territories where, by RCCI’s criteria, there are no alternatives and the forbearance from regulation of WAS will jeopardize competition.
    2. What are the parameters that RCCI considers in deciding whether to become a wireless CLEC versus remaining a wireless carrier and using WAS?
  2. Explain, with rationale, what you would consider to be an appropriate transition period if the Commission were to remove the obligation to provide WAS.

III. Questions for WIND

  1. In its comments on Bell Canada’s application, WIND stated:

    Wireless Access Service (“WAS”) is no longer required by WIND as it enters new markets; WIND prefers to interconnect as a wireless CLEC on a co-carrier basis. WIND is also migrating its legacy WAS interconnections to wireless CLEC interconnections.

    1. Provide WIND’s rationale for the following. Rationale should include cost, network, and traffic efficiency considerations:
      1. using WAS when entering new wireless markets in the past instead of becoming a wireless CLEC, and
      2. deciding to become a wireless CLEC.
  2. Explain, with rationale, what you would consider to be an appropriate transition period if the Commission were to remove the obligation to provide WAS.
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