Telecom Commission Letter Addressed to John Lawford (Public Interest Advocacy Centre)

Ottawa, 7 December 2018

Our reference: 1011-NOC2018-0422

BY EMAIL

Mr. John Lawford
Executive Director and General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre,
1204-1 Nicholas Street, Ottawa, K1R 7B7
jlawford@piac.ca

RE: Proceeding to establish a mandatory code for Internet services – Procedural Request – Scope of proceeding

Dear Mr. Lawford:

On 9 November 2018, the Commission published the Call for comments – Proceeding to establish a mandatory code for Internet services, Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2018-422 (the Notice).

On 16 November 2018, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) submitted a procedural request in which it asked that the Commission amend the scope of the proceeding to include the following:

PIAC referred to its ongoing research on the regulatory framework for Canada’s internet market, including preliminary research into the most prevalent concerns Canadians have about their internet service. PIAC argued that the scope of the proceeding as set out in the Notice is “too narrow to provide a workable and effective Code or to parallel the Wireless Code.”

PIAC also requested that the Commission indicate that comments are welcome on internet access equipment installation, repairs and replacement; broadband measurement and advertised speeds; false advertising; and quality of service complaints, whether or not the Commission provides a proposed Code provision on these matters.

On 30 November 2018, Rogers filed a response in which it opposed this procedural request.

With respect to PIAC’s arguments that the scope of this proceeding is too narrow to provide an effective Code or a Code similar to the Wireless Code, the Commission finds that PIAC has provided no compelling reason to conclude that the scope of the proceeding is too narrow. The Commission notes that these issues were outside the scope of the Wireless Code proceedings. In particular, device standards and false advertising were specifically excluded from the scope of the Wireless Code, as set out in Review of the Wireless Code, Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2016-293, paragraph 20.

In addition, the issue of broadband measurement is the subject of a separate Commission initiative. In 2015, the Commission launched a broadband measurement project to objectively measure broadband Internet performance, including actual connection speeds, in Canadian homes. The data from this ongoing project will, among other things, provide Canadians with a greater understanding of whether Internet services from participating internet service providers (ISPs) are delivered at the advertised speeds and allow ISPs to improve their networks to better serve existing customers, and promote products to potential new customers. The broadband measurement project is ongoing, and distinct from both the creation of the Internet Code and the activities and mandate of the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services (CCTS), which administers the Commission’s consumer codes.

Finally, with respect to PIAC’s request that the Commission indicate that comments would be welcome on, among other things, installation, repairs, and service outages, the Commission notes that paragraph 3 of the Notice specifically invites comments on these issues. The Commission further notes that the Notice states that the Internet Code should address “other issues that may be appropriate to respond to consumer concerns regarding contracts for Internet services”, excluding issues outside the scope of the proceeding.

In light of the above, the Commission is not convinced that it is appropriate to amend the scope of the proceeding set out in the Notice. Accordingly, PIAC’s request is denied. 

Yours sincerely,

Claude Doucet
Secretary General

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