Telecom Order CRTC 2018-353
Ottawa, 5 September 2018
Public record: Tariff Notices 7558 and 7558A
Bell Canada – Withdrawal of optional features associated with Single Number Reach service
- The Commission received an application from Bell Canada, dated 9 April 2018 and amended on 20 June 2018, in which the company proposed revisions to its General Tariff item 2185 – Single Number Reach. Specifically, the company proposed to provide Single Number Reach service through a new platform, and withdraw certain optional features associated with this service.
- Bell Canada noted that the Commission previously approved its October 2016 application to destandardize this service, thus it would not be available to new customers.Footnote 1 In that application, the company noted that Single Number Reach was provisioned on a platform that would no longer be manufacturer supported beginning in early 2017 and, as a result, it expected that reliable operation of the platform and procurement of associated spare components for repair purposes would become increasingly difficult after that. In this regard, the company noted that the number of customers using this service had declined by about 20% since October 2016.
- However, Bell Canada is now proposing to continue providing Single Number Reach service through a new platform. Under the company’s proposal, only existing customers would initially be able to use the service, and it would be necessary to maintain the destandardized treatment for Single Number Reach service until such time as the new platform can accommodate new customers. Bell Canada submitted that the new platform would not support a number of existing optional features, and, as such, proposed that they be withdrawn from Single Number Reach service.Footnote 2
- Under the company’s proposal, the new platform for Single Number Reach service would permit requests from existing customers for additional lines to be processed, and would support two new features and enhancements to two existing features, as set out below: Footnote 3
- Detailed Call Reporting, a new feature, would provide the customer's designated administrator with access to a system portal to view call log details which may be used to analyze call volumes and patterns over time using third-party applications. Call reports may be viewed and downloaded in different formats;
- Call Waiting, another new feature, would allow customers on an active call to be notified of a waiting call and forward that waiting call to another number;
- the existing Find Me Follow Me feature would be enhanced by increasing the number of telephone numbers that the service will search to up to five numbers sequentially or ten numbers simultaneously; and
- the existing On-the-Fly Conferencing feature would now allow subscribers to add up to five additional parties to the call, instead of the previous three additional parties.
- Bell Canada provided a copy of the notice letters it sent to Single Number Reach customers regarding the withdrawal of the optional features set out in the Appendix of this order. The company originally proposed an effective date of 8 June 2018 for the withdrawal of the optional features and the introduction of the new and revised features. However, the company subsequently amended its proposed effective date to 20 September 2018 as a result of unforeseen technical issues with the new Single Number Reach platform that will prevent it from moving all existing customers to the new platform until mid-September 2018. As part of its amended application, Bell Canada indicated that it would begin migrating its Single Number Reach customers from the existing platform to the new platform in a staged process beginning on 20 September 2018, with an expected completion date of the migration of 5 November 2018. It further proposed to inform all Single Number Reach customers by letter of the timing change and to advise each customer of their target migration date in a second letter to be mailed by 17 September 2018.
- In support of its proposal to continue to provide Single Number Reach service on a new platform, Bell Canada provided a cost study and the results of the associated price floor test.
- The Commission received comments from three Single Number Reach customers. One couple questioned whether they would continue to have the ability to transfer calls between numbers, whether their phone number would become redundant, and why the Single Number Reach product was nearing the end of its lifecycle. Another customer indicated that the service was indispensable to her role as a physician without a permanent office location who relies on the service, and requested the Commission help to ensure that the Single Number Reach service was not cancelled. The last customer indicated that the fax feature allowed reception of faxes no matter his location and, as a lawyer, he received timely notices of the faxes; as such, this customer requested that the Commission require Bell Canada to retain the fax feature.
- In reply, Bell Canada stated that it had received several email inquiries and letters from customers asking for confirmation that they may retain their existing service, or requesting clarification of its proposals. Bell Canada indicated that it had responded to each such customer to confirm that they may continue to receive their existing service.
- With respect to the request made by one of its customers that the fax-related features should be maintained, as these features were needed by the customer working in the legal profession, Bell Canada noted that there were services that could meet this customer’s needs such as its Business Internet Fax service, or a business line combined with a customer-provided fax machine, which are readily available from various retailers.
- Further, Bell Canada reiterated that Single Number Reach service is provisioned on a platform that is no longer supported by its manufacturer and, as a result, reliable operation of that platform and procurement of associated spare components for repair purposes is becoming increasingly difficult. It submitted that it is not possible to continue to maintain Single Number Reach service on the current platform indefinitely, as it expects that the platform will no longer be viable within the next 18 to 24 months. As such, it had no choice but to either replace the current Single Number Reach platform with a new one as proposed in its application or, alternatively, withdraw Single Number Reach service altogether. Accordingly, Bell Canada argued that the customer's request should be denied.
Commission’s analysis and determinations
- The Commission considers that the first two customers’ concerns, based on ensuring that the Single Number Reach service is not cancelled, are addressed by the company’s proposal to continue providing Single Number Reach service through a new platform.
- With regard to the third customer’s comment that the fax feature should be retained, the Commission is satisfied with Bell Canada’s comments that there are other services available to meet the customer’s needs.
- Bell Canada’s application meets the requirements set out in Telecom Information Bulletin 2010-455-1, in which the Commission set out its procedures for dealing with applications to destandardize and/or withdraw tariffed services.Footnote 4 In particular, Bell Canada’s withdrawal application (i) was filed at least 60 calendar days before the proposed effective date; and (ii) included a description of the service, the proposed effective date and rationale behind the withdrawal, the number of customers affected, and a copy of the notice to affected customers indicating how they can participate in the Commission’s process.
- In light of the above, Bell Canada’s proposal to withdraw a number of optional features associated with Single Number Reach service, and to replace the current Single Number Reach platform with a new one, is reasonable. Accordingly, the Commission approves Bell Canada’s application, effective 20 September 2018. Bell Canada is to issue revised tariff pagesFootnote 5 within 10 days of the date of this order.
- Various companies – Approval of tariff applications, Telecom Order CRTC 2016-495, 21 December 2016
- Approval processes for tariff applications and intercarrier agreements, Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-455-1, 19 February 2016
- Mandatory customer contract renewal notification and requirements for service destandardization/withdrawal, Telecom Decision CRTC 2008-22, 6 March 2008
Appendix to Telecom Order CRTC 2018-353
Single Number Reach – Proposed optional features to be withdrawn
Fax store and forward
Out of hours greeting
Notification of almost full mailbox
Call screening with intercept
On/off switch for fax
Wake up calls
Voice activated dialing
External message waiting indicator
Private code screening/do not disturb
Fax option for automatic print
Uploading a greeting (this feature will only be available with auto-attendant)
Long distance warning for non-local calls
Receiving a forwarded call on SNR
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