Telecom Commission Letter Addressed to David Watt (Rogers Communications Inc.)

Ottawa, 20 November 2018

Our reference: 8620-P8-201800756


David Watt
Senior Vice President, Regulatory
Rogers Communications Inc.
350 Bloor Street East, 6th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M4W 0A1

Re: Application by Public Interest Advocacy Centre (“PIAC”) and National Pensioners Federation (“NPF”) regarding Rogers’ prepaid services – Request for disclosure of confidential information

Dear Sir:

On 24 July 2018, Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the National Pensioners Federation (together, PIAC-NPF) filed a request for disclosure regarding the information contained in three of the responses that Rogers had designated as confidential.

On 8 August 2018, Commission staff sent a letter suspending the filing of comments on the response to the requests for information (RFI) pending a determination with respect to PIAC-NPF’s request for disclosure.

In Rogers’ 13 August 2018 reply to PIAC-NPF’s request, it disclosed most, but not all, of the information requested (claiming confidentiality with respect to images referred to in its response to question 2(b)(5)). In support of its claim for confidentiality, Rogers had initially stated that

The information for which confidentially is sought is commercially sensitive information regarding Rogers’ customer segments, internal business processes and results which Rogers would never disclose publicly. Public release of this information would enable potential and existing Telecom Service Providers to use the information to advance themselves commercially against Rogers. Rogers submits that any possible public interest in disclosure of this information is greatly outweighed by the specific direct harm that would flow to Rogers.

Then, in its reply to PIAC-NPF, Rogers added that

These options are in some cases the same attractive targeted offers made to the general base of customers in competitive save situations. Broad public disclosure of the details of these offers would cause direct competitive harm to Rogers that would outweigh any public benefit of disclosure.

PIAC-NPF, in their submission, stated that there was no competitive harm with the disclosure, and that any such harm was outweighed by the public interest.

A designation of confidentiality for information submitted with the Commission and requests for disclosure thereof are considered in accordance with section 39 of the Telecommunications Act, sections 30 to 34 of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Rules of Practice and Procedure (Rules of Procedure) and Procedures for filing confidential information and requesting its disclosure in Commission proceeding, Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-961 (Bulletin 2010-961).

In evaluating a designation of confidentiality and requests for disclosure of information designated as confidential, an assessment is made as to whether the information falls into a category of information that can be designated confidential pursuant to section 39 of the Telecommunications Act. The next step in the assessment is to determine whether any specific direct harm is 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: whether disclosure of the information would meaningfully benefit public participation, the degree to which the information had been aggregated, and the competitive sensitivity of the information itself, whether the information is otherwise publicly available, and the importance of the information to the ability of the Commission to obtain a full and complete record.

The Commission considers that the information in question 2(b)(5) more completely describes options available to customers on Rogers’ services in question in this application. Further, this information is made available to the public, albeit some of it to targeted groups.

The Commission finds that the information in question 2(b)(5) is not considered a category of information typically afforded confidential status as set out in the Appendix to Bulletin 2010-961. Rogers has not established the likelihood of any specific, direct harm sufficient to outweigh the public interest that would be served by the disclosure of the information, nor how it would harm the company.

Consequently, Rogers must, by 22 November 2018, disclose on the public record the undisclosed information relevant to question 2(b)(5), including referenced text and images, by submitting a revised abridged and confidential copy of the response to the RFI.

The deadline for parties to comment on responses to the RFI is therefore extended to 27 November 2018, and the deadline for Rogers to file its final reply is extended to 4 December 2018.

A copy of this letter and all related correspondence will be added to the public record of the proceeding.

Yours sincerely,

Claude Doucet
Secretary General

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