Telecom Procedural Letter Addressed to Distribution List
Ottawa, 29 March 2018
Our reference: 8662-C210-201800871
Re: City of Hamilton, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the City of Calgary - Application to review and vary Telecom Decision 2017-388
This letter addresses the request for information and documents in respect to Table 1 (Paragraph 44) of Bell Canada’s intervention filed on 14 March 2018.
By separate letters dated 21 March 2018, the City of Hamilton (Hamilton), the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the City of Calgary (collectively, the Applicants) requested that Bell Canada produce, by 26 March 2018, documents and other related information in respect to Table 1 (Paragraph 44) of Bell Canada’s intervention filed on 14 March 2018, and that they have until 10 days following Bell Canada providing the requested information to file their reply.
The Applicants submitted that Bell Canada has made serious allegations against the Applicants in respect to requests for information or “markups”. They noted however, that Bell Canada did not provide back-up documentation, support, relevant appendices or any other information to establish a linkage between its Table 1 and clause 13(b) of the Municipal Access Agreement (MAA). The Applicants stated that for example, Bell Canada has not delineated between “mark-ups” and locate requests as the two were vastly different and have different implications for the MAA. The Applicants argued that without this information, they could provide no meaningful response to the Commission in respect to these allegations. The Applicants submitted that the Commission would greatly benefit from full disclosure of the information or documents used by Bell Canada to compile its Table 1, thereby enabling the Applicants to provide a detailed response to further assist the Commission with its deliberations.
By Commission staff letter dated 22 March 2018, Bell Canada was requested to file a response to the Applicants’ request for documents and other related information, by 26 March 2018. In addition, the date for the filing of the Applicants’ reply was suspended, pending a resolution of the procedural request for information.
By letter dated 22 March 2018, Bell Canada filed its response to the Applicants’ request. Bell Canada noted that all of the data set out in Table 1 and Figure 1 of its Intervention (Paragraph 44) relates to mark-ups requested from Bell Canada by Hamilton. Bell Canada stated that Hamilton has full knowledge concerning why and on what basis it requested these mark-ups, and is thus fully able to prepare any response it feels is necessary to the information presented in association with Table 1 and Figure 1.
With respect to information filed in confidence with the Commission, Bell Canada noted that the only information redacted from disclosure in Table 1 and Figure 1 concerned Bell Canada's direct costs of providing the mark-ups requested by Hamilton. Bell Canada submitted that this information was appropriately filed in confidence and should not be disclosed on the public record. Bell Canada submitted that its costs of providing mark-ups represent financial information that is consistently treated as confidential - as evidenced by the fact that this information was not shared with the other carriers supporting the jointly-filed Intervention - and the Commission has consistently determined that company-specific cost inputs are appropriately treated as confidential in nature. Bell Canada further submitted that the public interest in this information was insufficient to warrant its disclosure despite its confidential nature, as Hamilton was fully positioned to make comments concerning the mark-ups it has requested from Bell Canada without knowledge of the specific costs Bell Canada incurred to respond to its requests.
For these reasons, Bell Canada submitted that the Applicants' requests for disclosure and additional information should be rejected and consequently, the Applicants' extension request was not required and should also be dismissed.
Commission staff notes that 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 of Procedure). In evaluating a request, an assessment is made as to whether the information falls into a category of information that can be designated as confidential pursuant to section 39 of the Act. An assessment is then made as to 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 disclosure of the information for the purpose of obtaining a fuller record. The factors considered are discussed in more detail in Procedure 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.
Commission staff considers that all of the data set out in Table 1 and Figure 1 of Bell Canada’s Intervention dated 14 March 2018 relates to mark-ups requested from Bell Canada by Hamilton. Hamilton should have copies of its requests for mark-ups and the responses provided to Hamilton by Bell Canada in association with Table 1 and Figure 1.
Commission staff notes that the only information marked as confidential in Table 1 and Figure 1 concerns Bell Canada's direct costs of providing the mark-ups requested by Hamilton. Hamilton is able to submit its reply comments concerning the mark-ups it has requested from Bell Canada without knowledge of the specific costs Bell Canada incurred to respond to its requests. Accordingly Commission staff considers that the specific direct harm that could result from the disclosure of this information would outweigh the public interest in its disclosure.
Having regard to all of the considerations set out above and to the parties’ submissions, Bell Canada is not required to disclose to the Applicants the documents and other related information in respect to Table 1 (Paragraph 44) of Bell Canada’s intervention filed on 14 March 2018, including information for which Bell Canada has claimed confidentiality.
As noted above, the date for the Applicants’ reply was suspended pending a resolution of the procedural request for information. In view of the foregoing, the Applicants are to file their reply to the interventions filed in this proceeding by 11 April 2018, serving a copy on Bell Canada and all parties to this proceeding.
Original signed by
Director, Dispute Resolution and Regulatory Implementation
c. c.: Jesslyn Mullaney, CRTC, 819-953-5255, firstname.lastname@example.org
City of Hamilton, email@example.com
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities, firstname.lastname@example.org
City of Calgary, email@example.com;
Bell Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Cogeco Connexion Inc., email@example.com
Quebecor Media Inc., firstname.lastname@example.org
Rogers Communications, email@example.com,
Shaw Communications Inc., firstname.lastname@example.org;
TELUS Communications Company, email@example.com;
City of Gatineau, firstname.lastname@example.org
City of Montreal, email@example.com
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