Telecom Commission Letter adressed to Distribution List

Ottawa, 26 September 2018

Our reference: 8646-C12-201807611

BY EMAIL

Distribution List

RE: Net Neutrality

As noted by the Commission in Telecom Regulatory Policy 2017-104Footnote1, net neutrality is the concept that all traffic on the Internet should be given equal treatment by Internet providers, with little to no manipulation, discrimination or preference given. The Commission has issued three decisions that combine to form the current policy framework for net neutrality in Canada.

The first, Telecom Regulatory Policy 2009-657Footnote2, created a framework against which Internet traffic management practices (ITMPs) may be evaluated for compliance with the Telecommunications Act (the Act). In that decision, the Commission noted that when congestion occurs, an Internet service provider’s (ISP’s) primary response should be to invest in more network capacity. It also established certain requirements concerning the use of ITMPs by ISPs and implemented a framework for assessing whether such ITMPs were in compliance with section 27(2) of the Telecommunications Act (the Act). The frameworkbalances the freedom of Canadians to use the Internet for various purposes with the legitimate interests of ISPs to manage the traffic generated on their networks.

In the second decision, Broadcasting and Telecom Decision 2015-26Footnote3, the Commission directed certain providers to stop exempting their own mobile television services from their customers’ standard monthly data charges.
The third decision, Telecom Regulatory Policy 2017-104, established a framework for differential pricing practices (DPPs) to determine whether an ISP’s specific differential pricing practice is or is not consistent with subsection 27(2) of the Act. DPPsrefer to the zero-rating or discounting of retail Internet data traffic.

As part of its ongoing monitoring and compliance activities, Commission staff is reviewing certain ISPs’ practices that fall within the net neutrality policy framework. With this letter, Commission staff is seeking specific information from a number of ISPs on their Internet traffic management and differential pricing practices.

Internet traffic management practices

The Commission’s ITMP framework distinguishes between economic ITMPs (such as monthly bandwidth capacity limits), which link rates for Internet service to end-user consumption, and technical ITMPs (such as slowing down a user’s traffic), which may be used to manage traffic to prevent or respond to network congestion. In Telecom Regulatory Policy 2009-657, the Commission noted that ISPs are currently disclosing pricing information related to economic ITMPs and expected the continued disclosure of such information.

The Commission has imposed the following requirements regarding ITMPs:

The Commission mandated that disclosures on the websites of ISPs are to be made in a manner consistent with the accessibility determinations outlined in Broadcasting and Telecom Regulatory Policy 2009-430Footnote4, such that the information disclosed is made accessible for persons with disabilities to the point of providing a reasonable accommodation.

In Telecom Decision 2010-445Footnote5, the Commission applied the ITMP policy framework set out in Telecom Regulatory Policy 2009-657 to mobile wireless data services that provide Internet access.

Differential pricing practices

In Telecom Regulatory Policy 2017-104, the Commission established a framework and set out the evaluation criteria it will apply to determine whether an ISP’s specific DPP is or is not consistent with subsection 27(2) of the Act (i.e., whether it unjustly discriminates or gives an undue or unreasonable preference toward any person, including itself, or subjects any person to an undue or unreasonable disadvantage). The following evaluation criteria were set:

Process

The following ISPs, including all their subsidiaries, whether they are providing wireline, fixed wireless, mobile wireless, or satellite Internet services, are requested to provide comprehensive answers to the attached questions by no later than 30 November 2018:

A copy of this letter and all related correspondence will be publicly accessible through the Commission’s website.

Companies that wish to designate information contained in their submissions as confidential must do so in accordance with the Act and with the CRTC Rules of Practice and Procedure: Footnote6

Sincerely,

Original signed by

Michel Murray
Director, Dispute Resolution and Regulatory Implementation
Telecommunications Sector
c.c.: Martin Brazeau, CRTC, martin.brazeau@crtc.gc.ca
Attach. (2)

Distribution list

Bell Canada, bell.regulatory@bell.ca
Bragg Communications Incorporated, carrying on business as Eastlink, Regulatory.Matters@corp.eastlink.ca 
Cogeco Connexion Inc., telecom.regulatory@cogeco.com  
Rogers Communications Canada Inc., rwi_gr@rci.rogers.com
Saskatchewan Telecommunications, document.control@sasktel.com 
Shaw Communications Inc., Regulatory@sjrb.ca  
TekSavvy Solutions Inc., akaplanmyrth@teksavvy.ca  
TELUS Communications Inc., regulatory.affairs@telus.com
Vidéotron Ltd., dennis.beland@quebecor.com
Xplornet Communications Inc., xplornet.legal@corp.xplornet.com

  1. Internet traffic management practices – retail services
    1. Fill in Table 1 from the attached Appendix 1, providing information on all customer and application-specific ITMPs employed by the company that may impact a retail customer’s wireline and/or wireless Internet service. For each practice, provide a detailed description, along with an explanation as to why it is needed, any effect on the customer’s Internet service including speeds, and its type (i.e. economic or technical as described in Appendix 1).  The detailed description should cover i) who is affected, ii) when the ITMP will be applied, and iii) what type of Internet traffic is subject to the practice (e.g. application, class of application, protocol).
  2. Disclosure of Internet traffic management practices – retail services
    1. Fill in Table 2 from the attached Appendix 2 by providing the following information for each economic and technical ITMP listed in the response to question 1 above:
      1. Explain how the company meets the disclosure requirements described in Appendix 2;
      2. Explain how the company meets its obligations to make the disclosed information accessible for persons with disabilities; and
      3. Provide the location of the disclosed information on the company’s website.
  3. Differential pricing practices
    1. Fill in Table 3 from the attached Appendix 3 by providing the following information for each DPP employed by the company:
      1. Provide a detailed description of the practice; and
      2. Explain how the practice is consistent with subsection 27(2) of the Act, with specific reference to the evaluation criteria set out in Telecom Regulatory Policy 2017-104 as described in Appendix 3.
Table 1 – Internet traffic management practices – retail services – wireline and wireless
Retail service practice Name Description(note 1) Type of interface/technology(note 2) Region(note 3) Why it is needed Effect on Internet service Type of practice(note 4)
Practice #1
Practice #2
Add rows as appropriate

note 1:
The detailed description should cover:
- who is affected;
- when the practice will be applied; and
- what type of Internet traffic is subject to it (e.g. application, class of application, protocol).

note 2:
The information provided should indicate the service technology or interface on which the practice is being employed (eg. wireline, fixed wireless, mobile wireless, or satellite)

note 3:
The information provided should indicate in which operating region(s) the practice is being employed.

note 4:
Economic ITMPs link rates for Internet service to end-user consumption. For example, they include monthly bandwidth capacity limits, where users who exceed a predefined threshold must pay additional money for bandwidth consumed, and time-of-day pricing for bandwidth consumed; and
Technical ITMPs manage traffic for the purpose of preventing or responding to network congestion. For example, they include slowing down a user’s traffic, prioritizing traffic, and detecting heavy users in order to limit their bandwidth.

Table 2 – Technical Internet traffic management practices disclosure – retail services
Name How is the disclosure requirement being met(note 1) How is information accessible for persons with disabilities(note 2) Location of online disclosure
Practice #1
Practice #2
Add rows as appropriate

note 1:
The information provided should explain how the company meets the disclosure requirements as described in paragraph 60 of Telecom Regulatory Policy 2009-657:

note 2:
Pursuant to paragraph 67 of Telecom Regulatory Policy 2009-657, ITPM disclosures on the websites of ISPs are to be made in a manner consistent with the accessibility determinations outlined in Broadcasting and Telecom Regulatory Policy 2009-430, such that the information disclosed is made accessible for persons with disabilities to the point of providing a reasonable accommodation. The information provided should explain how the company meets its obligations to make the disclosed information accessible for persons with disabilities.

Table 3 – Differential pricing practices
Name Description How the practice is consistent with subsection 27(2) of the Act, with specific reference to the Telecom Regulatory Policy 2017-104 evaluation criteria(note 1)
Practice #1
Practice #2
Add rows as appropriate

note 1:
In Telecom Regulatory Policy 2017-104, the Commission set the following evaluation criteria it will apply to determine whether an ISP’s specific DPP is or is not consistent with subsection 27(2) of the Act:

Date modified: