Telecom Commission Letter addressed to Stephen Schmidt (TELUS)

Ottawa, 22 May 2019

Our reference: 8678-C12-200905557

BY EMAIL

Mr. Stephen Schmidt
Vice-President – Telecom Policy and Chief Regulatory Legal Counsel 
Telecom Policy and Regulatory Affairs
TELUS
Floor 8, 215 Slater Street
Ottawa, ON K1P 0A6
regulatory.affairs@telus.com

Re: Decision 2016-193 and Decision 2017-252 – TELUS Communications Company’s Annual Deferral Account Update Report - 2019 – Request for information

Dear Sir:

The Commission is in receipt of TELUS’ Annual Deferral Account Update Report - 2019 dated 26 March 2019. Commission staff have reviewed the report and acknowledges the successful completion of the W3C upgrade of TELUS’ subscriber webmail portal, as well as the progress made with respect to the two outstanding initiatives, those being the Wireless Device Accessibility Audits of the Company’s wireless handsets and the solutions for wireless platforms initiative proposed and led by the Neil Squire Society (NSS).

In terms of reporting, Commission staff note that the NSS provided a detailed report on the wireless platforms initiative, including information on the allocation and utilization of deferral account funds. However, a review of the information submitted by TELUS concerning the Wireless Device Accessibility Audits of the Company’s wireless handsets has identified gaps pertaining to the allocation and utilization of deferral account funds that do not allow for a comprehensive assessment of the initiative. Therefore, TELUS is asked to file an answer to the questions included below on or before 7 June 2019.

Context

In Telecom Decision 2006-9, the Commission determined that accessibility to telecommunications services for persons with disabilities is an important public policy objective and that using funds from the deferral accounts will help provide telecommunications services to these Canadians. Further to this, the Commission approved in Telecom Decision 2008-1 the use of deferral account funds by incumbent local exchange carriers for certain initiatives to improve access to telecommunications services for persons with disabilities. In Telecom Decision 2016-193 and Telecom Decision 2017-252, the Commission approved further initiatives for the use of deferral account funds by TELUS for this purpose.

More specifically, in Telecom Decision 2017-252, the Commission approved the use of TELUS’ deferral account funds to perform Wireless Device Accessibility Audits, which “[…] would allow for TCC’s device selector tool to remain up-to-date in order to provide customers with disabilities with continued access to current information about the accessibility capabilities of the company’s device inventory. This information will serve to improve access to telecommunications services for persons with disabilities.” Footnote1

In Telecom Decision 2017-252, the Commission directed TELUS to report annually, beginning in 2018 and until the deferral account funds are fully used, on the approved initiatives “[…] with details regarding the initiatives implemented in the previous year and lifecycle matters.” Footnote2

Questions

  1. Confirm the closing balance (on 31 December 2018) for the Wireless Device Accessibility Audits and confirm the cost of each audit. Based on this information, confirm the timeframe by which the deferral account funds allocated for this initiative will be fully utilized.
  2. Confirm where an individual could find the Wireless Device Accessibility Audits reports in order to consult them.
  3. Explain in detail what is meant at paragraph 8 of TELUS’ Annual Deferral Account Update Report – 2019 where it is stated that “TELUS will continue to complete audits as required to cover the range of newly available handsets”. Will TELUS continue to complete Wireless Device Accessibility Audits even after the deferral account funds have been fully utilized?

Procedures for filing

Response to this requests for information must 1) refer to the file number noted above, and 2) be sent to the Secretary General of the Commission via My CRTC Account (at the following link: https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/cover.htm) using GCKey. GCKey allows you to securely access the Government of Canada’s online services and conduct online business.

For further information on how to submit your response, see the CRTC’s web page Submitting applications and other documents to the CRTC using My CRTC Account.

All submissions are to be made in accordance with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Rules of Practice and Procedure, SOR/2010-277. 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.

Should you have any questions, please contact Natalie Riendeau, Senior Policy Analyst, Social and Consumer Policy, at natalie.riendeau@crtc.gc.ca.

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

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