Telecom Commission Letter Addressed to Mr. W.N. (Bill) Beckman (Saskatchewan Telecommunications)

Ottawa, 27 October 2017

Our reference: 1011-NOC2017-0092, 1011-NOC2017-0112

BY EMAIL

Mr. W.N. (Bill) Beckman
Senior Director, Regulatory Affairs
Saskatchewan Telecommunications
2121 Saskatchewan Drive
Regina, Saskatchewan  S4P 3Y2
document.control@sasktel.com

Re: Saskatchewan Telecommunications’ procedural request to merge three proceedings and to conduct an oral public hearing

Dear Mr. Beckman:

This letter is in response to a procedural request from Saskatchewan Telecommunications (SaskTel), dated June 26, 2017, to combine the following three proceedings and to hold an oral public hearing in Saskatchewan, on the combined proceeding:

  1. Phase-out of the local service subsidy regime;Footnote1
  2. Development of the Commission’s broadband funding regime;Footnote2 and
  3. A future proceeding to review the price cap and local forbearance regimes.

SaskTel argues that the matters, which are the subject of these three proceedings, should be considered at the same time because they address related policies. SaskTel also explains that holding a public hearing in Saskatchewan would allow Canadians most likely to be impacted by the results of the phase-out proceeding to be heard.

More specifically, SaskTel argues that combining the price cap/forbearance review and the local subsidy phase-out proceeding would allow discussion of the local service rates to take place in conjunction with discussion of the phase-out. SaskTel maintains that retail rates in high-cost serving areas (HCSAs) would need to increase significantly to cover their costs should local voice subsidy be removed; therefore, combining the proceedings would allow for the rates to be set at the same time as the subsidy is phased out.

Thirteen parties responded to SaskTel’s procedural request. All parties, except for the Independent Telecommunications Providers Association (ITPA) and TELUS Communications Company (TCC), oppose SaskTel's request for a number of reasons. Parties such as Bell Canada, OpenMedia and Rogers Communications Canada Inc. expressed concern that approving the request would add procedural complexity and expense, cause unnecessary delays in implementing the new policies, and would risk conflating or overlooking issues. These parties further noted that the current process provides opportunity for comment, and nothing precludes parties from commenting on cross impacts in their submissions.

By contrast, the ITPA and TCC argue that the issues are interrelated, and as such, this would ensure a more cohesive decision and reduce risks of implementing regulatory policies that are contradictory. Only TCC supports the proposal for an oral public hearing, adding that hearings should take place in Alberta and British Columbia, in addition to Saskatchewan.

In its reply, SaskTel revised its original request, and proposes to combine:

Commission’s analysis and determinations

First, there are no overlapping issues that exist regarding the local service subsidy and broadband fund proceedings. While the monies to support the two funds are from the same source, the National Contribution Fund (NCF), these are two separate funding regimes with different policy objectives. The Commission already allocates the NCF to separate pools, local service subsidy and video relay service, and will do so in the future for the broadband fund.

Second, while there may be overlaps between the local service subsidy and price cap/forbearance proceedings, combining the two would make for a cumbersome and unmanageable process. Many issues to be examined in the price cap/forbearance proceeding would not be relevant to the phasing-out of local service subsidy and the review of rates in HCSAs (e.g., pricing constraints for business and competitor services in the price cap regime, or the competitor presence test in the forbearance regime). A combined proceeding would therefore be inefficient given the scale and scope of the discussion and the multitude of issues to be examined.

Lastly, the Commission often conducts separate proceedings to review distinct regulatory regimes, while still considering cross impacts as a matter of course. The current proceeding on the phase-out of the local service subsidy provided sufficient opportunity for parties to comment on any possible cross impacts and on the timing of implementation in relation to the price cap/forbearance review. Many parties, including residents from Saskatchewan, provided their views to the Commission on such issues. The Commission will consider these concerns in its determinations on the local subsidy phase-out proceeding.

In light of the above, the Commission denies SaskTel’s procedural request to merge the aforementioned proceedings and to conduct an oral public hearing in Saskatchewan.

Sincerely,

Original signed by

Scott Hutton,
Acting Secretary General

c.c.: Julie Cook, julie.cook@crtc.gc.ca

attach:  Distribution List

Distribution List

9315-1884 Québec, richard.biron@sogetel.com
3C Information Solutions Incorporated, kelly@3cis.com
Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, wyatt.skovron@aamdc.com
Alberta SouthWest Regional Alliance, bob@albertasouthwest.com
All Nations Trust Company, ruth-williams@outlook.com
Amtelecom Telco GP Inc., Regulatory.Matters@corp.eastlink.ca
Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM), nkrawetz@amm.mb.ca
BC Broadband Association, regulatory@bcba.ca
BC Libraries Cooperative, ben.hyman@bc.libraries.coop
Bell Canada, bell.regulatory@bell.ca
Blue Sky Economic Growth Corp (Blue Sky Net), susan.church@blueskyregion.ca
Bragg Communications Inc. (Eastlink), Regulatory.Matters@corp.eastlink.ca
British Columbia Broadband Association (BCBA), regulatory@bcba.ca
Brooke Telecom Co-operative Ltd., geoff@brooketel.ca
Bruce Telecom, bart.cameron@brucetelecom.com
Canadian Cable Systems Alliance Inc. (CCSA), cedwards@ccsa.cable.ca
Canadian Network Operators Consortium Inc., regulatory@cnoc.ca
Canadian Telecommunications Contribution Consortium Inc., swhitehead@fasken.com
CANWISP, eric@canwisp.ca
CityWest Telephone Corporation, Donovan.Dias@cwct.ca
Cochrane Telecom Services of the Town of Cochrane, smitch@cochranetel.ca
Cogeco Communications Inc., telecom.regulatory@cogeco.com
Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation (CBBC), cbbc@cbt.org
CoopTel, coop de telecommunication, mrocheleau@cooptel.coop
Corridor Communications Inc. (CCI), adaml@corp.cciwireless.ca
County of Warner (AB), shathaway@warnercounty.ca
Cree Nation Government and Eeyou Communications Network, hglustein@rtscanada.ca
Cybera, policy@cybera.ca
Déry Télécom inc., regulatory@derytelecom.ca
DMTS, reglementa@telebec.com
Government of Nunavut, lori.kimball@gov.nu.ca, Ted.Hickey@gov.nu.ca
Government of the Northwest Territories, linda_maljan@gov.nt.ca
Eastlink, Regulatory.Matters@corp.eastlink.ca
Eeyou Communications Network, hglustein@rtscanada.ca
English-Language Arts Network (ELAN), guyrodgers@quebec-elan.org
Execulink Telecom Inc., ian.stevens@execulink.com
Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ), david.laureti@fccq.ca
Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), jlawson@fcm.ca
Fédération québécoise des municipalités, mleblanc@fqm.ca
First Mile Connectivity Consortium, info@firstmile.ca
Galaxy Broadband Communications Inc.              rick@galaxybroadband.ca EORN/EOWC, dfell@eorn.ca
Gosfield North Communication Co-operative Limited, rob.petruk@gosfieldtel.ca
Government of Manitoba, michelle.wallace@gov.mb.ca
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, carla.joy@gov.nl.ca
Government of Yukon, steve.sorochan@gov.yk.ca
Groupe Maskatel LP, jgrenier@maskatel.qc.ca
Hay Communications Co-operative Limited, a.lawrence@hay.net
Huron Telecommunications Co-Operative Limited, grubb@hurontel.on.ca
Independent Telephone Providers Association, jonathan.holmes@itpa.ca
Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, dsmith@inuvialuit.com
Kativik Regional Government (KRG), danpellerin@ictechnologies.ca
KMTS, reglementa@telebec.com
Lansdowne Rural Telephone Company Ltd., wagrier@1000island.net
Lemalu Holdings Ltd. O/A MCSNet, jasons@mcsnet.ca
Manitoba Telecom (MTS Inc.), regulatory@mts.ca
Ministère de l'Économie de la Science et de l'Innovation/ Ministère de la Culture et des Communications jean-jacques.adjizian@mcc.gouv.qc.ca
Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens of Province of British Columbia roman.mateyko@gov.bc.ca
Mornington Communications Co-operative Limited, knaylor@mornington.ca
MRC de Mékinac, claude.beaulieu@mrcmekinac.com
MRC de Témiscouata, jouellet@mrctemis.ca
National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA-ANREC), barry@ncra.ca
National Pensioners Federation & Public Interest Advocacy Centre (NPF-PIAC), alau@piac.ca
Nexicom Telecommunications, a Division of Nexicom Inc., pdowns@nexicomgroup.net
Nexicom Telephones, a Division of Nexicom Inc., pdowns@nexicomgroup.net
North Frontenac Telephone Corporation Ltd., davesmith@frontenac.net
North Renfrew Telephone Company Limited Trade, moverton@nrtco.net
NorthernTel Limited Partnership, reglementa@telebec.com
Northwestel Inc., regulatoryaffairs@nwtel.ca
Nunavut Economic Forum Coalition, neforum-telecom@qiniq.com
Nunavut Library Association, nunavutlibraryassociation@gmail.com
NWT Association of Communities, sara@nwtac.com
One Nation Networks, a Division of WiBand Communications Corp., jen@onenationnetworks.com
Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure on behalf of various parties, cam.whitehead@ontario.ca
O.N.Tel Inc., tracy.cant@ontera.ca
OpenMedia, regulatory@openmedia.org
People's Tel Limited Partnership, Regulatory.Matters@corp.eastlink.ca
Powell River Regional District, al.radke@powellriverrd.bc.ca
Prince Township (ON), pgreco@twp.prince.on.ca
Province of Nova Scotia, Department of Business, monique.arsenault@novascotia.ca
Quadro Communications Co-operative Inc., john.deheer@quadro.net
Québecor Média, dennis.beland@quebecor.com
Rogers Communications Canada Inc., rwi_gr@rci.rogers.com
Roxborough Telephone Company Limited, roxboro@ontarioeast.net
Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), lmorin@sarm.ca
Saskatchewan Telecommunications (SaskTel), document.control@sasktel.com
School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta, mmcnally@ualberta.ca
Service Alberta, stephen.bull@gov.ab.ca
Shaw Communications Inc., regulatory@sjrb.ca
Sogetel inc., richard.biron@sogetel.com
Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology Inc. (SWIFT), regulatory@swiftnetwork.ca
SSi Micro Ltd., regulatory@ssimicro.com
Strathcona County (AB) kathi.day@strathcona.ca
Tbaytel, stephen.scofich@tbaytel.com
TCPub Media Inc., caronf@tcpubmedia.com
TekSavvy Solutions Inc., regulatory@teksavvy.ca
Télébec, société en commandite, reglementa@telebec.com
Telesat Canada, cdifrancesco@telesat.com
TELUS Communications Company, regulatory.affairs@telus.com
Tuckersmith Communications Co-operative Limited, rob@tccmail.ca
Union des consommateurs, slambert-racine@uniondesconsommateurs.ca
Ville de Rimouski (district Sainte-Blandine/Mont-Lebel), dave.dumas@ville.rimouski.qc.ca
West Parry Sound SMART Community Inc., lis@smartnow.ca
Wightman Telecom Ltd., rfigliuzzi@wightman.ca
WireIE, george.kaichis@wireie.com
WTC Communications, steve@wtccommunications.ca
Xplornet Communications Inc., cj.prudham@corp.xplornet.com

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