Telecom Commission Letter adressed to Distribution List

Ottawa, 4 March 2019

Our reference: 1011-NOC2018-0422

BY EMAIL

Distribution List

RE: Proceeding to establish a mandatory code for Internet services – Request for Information by 21 March 2019

Madame, Sir,

This letter sets out the questions for parties to this proceeding to answer by 21 March 2019.

Context

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

In paragraph 51 of that Notice, the Commission stated that “The Commission may request information, in the form of interrogatories, from any party to the proceeding. Responses to questions from the Commission must be filed by 21 March 2019.”

This letter sets out questions for parties to this proceeding to answer by that date.

Procedures for filing

As set out in Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin 2010-961, Procedures for filing confidential information and requesting its disclosure in Commission proceedings, parties may designate certain information as confidential. Parties must provide an abridged version of the document involved, accompanied by a detailed rationale to explain why the disclosure of the information is not in the public interest. All submissions are to be made in accordance with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Rules of Practice and Procedure, SOR/2010-277.

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

Yours sincerely,

(Original signed by)

Nanao Kachi
Director, Social and Consumer Policy
CRTC

Distribution list
bell.regulatory@bell.ca
carl.macquarrie@corp.xplornet.com
christopher.hickey@distributel.ca
daniel.stern@telus.com
document.control@sasktel.com
kim.barrington@rci.rogers.com
leonard.eichel@cogeco.com
regulatory@primustel.ca
regulatory@sjrb.ca
regulatory.matters@corp.eastlink.ca
regulatory@teksavvy.ca
patrick.desy@quebecor.com
abeaulieu-laporte@uniondesconsommateurs.ca
eric@rothschildco.com
cedwards@ccsaonline.ca
ffolino@cad.ca
francois.bureau@mcc.gouv.qc.ca
geoff.white@ccts-cprts.ca
info@canwisp.ca
philippe.poirier@fadoq.ca
jonathan.holmes@itpa.ca
mlorch@scfp.ca
matthew.boswell@canada.ca
regulatory@cnoc.ca
steve.sorochan@gov.yk.ca

Appendix 1 - Questions for all parties

  1. Given the importance of ensuring consumers understand time-limited promotional offers and pricing, comment on whether the following should be key contract terms for retail Internet contracts:
    • details of any applicable promotion(s),
    • the promotion(s) expiry date(s),
    • the total monthly rate, including and excluding any applicable promotions, and
    • the contract expiry date or minimum contract period, distinct from promotions.
  2. Some ISPs have argued that retail small businessFootnote1 Internet contracts are distinct from individual consumer contracts and that the Internet Code, in whole or part, should not apply to small business customers. Provide your view, with supporting rationale, on whether
    1. any sections of the Code should not apply to small businesses or should be modified to apply to small businesses, and
    2. the impact on small businesses and other stakeholders if the Internet Code did not apply to them or if the Code only applied to them in part.
  3. To the extent your intervention addressed provincial consumer protection laws/regulations, provide further and detailed explanation as to any potential or actual overlap, conflict or inconsistency between the provisions of the Proposed Code and provincial consumer protection laws/regulations. Provide examples and note the relevant provisions of the enactments.

Appendix 2: Question for Bell companies only

In the Notice, the Commission stated that it “is of the preliminary view that it may also be appropriate for the principles set out in the Internet Code to apply to customers of Northwestel’s rate regulated Internet services, which may require adjusting Northwestel’s tariff at a later date.”

In its initial submission, Bell on behalf of its affiliates, including Northwestel, stated that “We generally support the adoption of the Internet Code to enhance the transparency of Internet contracts and to help consumers better understand their rights and responsibilities and enable them to participate in the competitive market for Internet services in a fully informed manner.”  However, Bell did not specifically address the question of the application of the Code’s principles to Northwestel.

  1. Comment specifically on
    1. the application of the proposed Code to Northwestel, and
    2. whether Northwestel would be prepared to update its tariff pages to reflect the Code following this proceeding, and if so, during what timeframe.

Appendix 3: Questions for Telus only

In its initial abridged submission, Telus states that “TELUS estimates it would take approximately eighteen months to implement.” Certain of the proposed provisions in the Internet Code Working Document are already in force (e.g. the 30-Day Cancellation policy) or already imposed as expectations in Telecom Regulatory Policy 2016-496.

  1. Which provisions specifically does Telus consider that it would require 18 months to implement? Provide detailed supporting rationale.
  2. Are there any proposed provisions in the Working Document that Telus considers that it could implement sooner than 18 months following publication of the final Code? If so, list which ones.

Appendix 4 – Questions for ISPs

A. Clarity of offers and clarity prior to finalizing contracts

  1. Describe, in detail, for each of the following sales channels, the actions that you take to ensure that your customers have all the necessary information to make informed choices when comparing offers and reviewing contracts before signing them:
    1. over the phone,
    2. door-to-door sales,
    3. online, and
    4. in-store.
  2. List and describe what contract terms you seek to ensure an individual or small business customer fully understands before finalizing a retail Internet contract with you.
  3. Explain what steps you currently take to remedy a situation if a customer considers that, upon reading the written contract, it does not fully match with the offer made to them.
  4. Some ISPs stated on the record of this proceeding that they offer or are planning to offer pre-sales quotes. Confirm whether you offer, or are planning to offer, pre-sales quotes for retail internet services. Explain your rationale.

B. Differences between your small business and individual consumer contracts

In your responses to the following questions:

  1. Provide the amount (#) and percentage (%) of your retail Internet contracts that are:
    1. individual contracts,
    2. small business contracts, and
    3. other contracts.
  2. Rank the most important differences between the typical small business and Individual consumer internet contracts that you offer.
  3. Describe what relationship, if any, there is between the early cancellation fees that you apply to both your individual and small business contracts and the following:
    1. installation fees,
    2. device or equipment amortization,
    3. contract duration,
    4. managed services, network management services, managed security solutions, remote maintenance or other similar categories of services, and
    5. bundles with other communications services such as TV, VoIP, wireless or traditional telephone services.
  4. Fill out the table below. If specific information is not available, provide estimates.
Table 1: Differences between your small business and individual consumer contracts
Issues Small business contracts Individual contracts
a) Provide the (i) amount (#) and (ii) percentage (%) of your retail Internet contracts that are:
  • fixed-term, and
  • indeterminate.
   
b) What is the maximum contract duration (commitment period) that you offer for your:    
c) Provide the average (or a typical) contract duration that you offer for your:    
d) Provide the maximum timeframe that the following contracts may auto-renew for (e.g. auto-renew on a month-to-month basis, 1-year basis, 5-year basis):    
e) When (how many months in advance) and how do you typically provide notice prior to automatic contract renewal occurring for:    
f) Provide the (i) amount (#) and (ii) percentage (%) of your retail Internet contracts that are subject to an early cancellation fee:    
g) Provide the range ($ minimum and maximum) of early cancellation fees that you apply to:    
h) Provide the average (or a typical) early cancellation fee ($) that you apply to:    
i) Provide the (i) amount (#) and (ii) percentage (%) of your retail internet contracts that are subject to an installation fee:    
j) Provide the range ($ minimum and maximum) of installation fees that you apply to:    
k) Provide the average (or a typical) installation fee ($) that you apply to:    
l) Provide the (i) amount (#) and (ii) percentage (%) of your retail internet contracts that are unlimited:    
m) Provide an overview of your current overage fee policies for:    
n) Provide the (i) amount (#) and (ii) percentage (%) of your retail internet customers that paid overage fees in the past year (calendar or fiscal):    
o) Provide the (i) amount (#) and (ii) percentage (%) of your retail internet contracts that are part of a bundle of communications services:    

C. Cost and time to implement certain proposed provisions in the Internet Code Working Document (Working Document)

The Notice of Consultation sought information on the cost and time required to implement the proposals in the Working Document. The level of detail in responses from ISPs varied.

  1. Provide an estimate of the costs (and estimated time required) to implement the following provisions or options set out in the Working Document, using the table below.
    • Indicate whether you are reporting separately or collectively for all of your relevant brands or affiliates, as applicable.
    • If specific estimates cannot be provided, provide a range.
    • For trial period question, use the following scenarios, based on options in the Working Document.
      • Scenario A: Trial period lasts a minimum of 15 days, with 30 days for customers with disabilities.
      • Scenario B: Trial period lasts a minimum of 30 days, with 45 days for customers with disabilities.
Table 2: Cost and time to implement certain proposed provisions in the Working Document
Provision or Option in Working Document Projected Costs ($) Time to implement (months) Notes (Optional)
Application
Code applies to small businesses -      
Code applies to pre-existing contracts -      
A. Clarity
A.5. Clarity of offers Option 1      
Option 2      
C. Critical Information Summary
C.1. When to provide a CIS Option 1      
Option 2      
E. Bill management
E.3. Data Overage Notification Option 1      
Option 2      
G. Contract cancellation and extension
G.1 Early cancellation fees – General -      
G.2 Trial period/cooling-off Period Scenario A      
Scenario B      
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