Telecom Procedural Letter addressed to Dennis Béland (Québecor Média) and Philippe Gauvin (Bell Canada)

Ottawa, 26 August 2019

Our reference: 8660-V3-201904516

BY EMAIL

Mr. Dennis Béland
Vice-president, Regulatory Affairs
Telecommunications
Québecor Média
612, rue Saint-Jacques, 15e étage
Montréal, Quebec H3C 4M8
regaffairs@quebecor.com

Mr. Philippe Gauvin
Assistant General Counsel
Bell Canada
160, Elgin Street, 19th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 2C4
bell.regulatory@bell.ca

Re :  Part 1 application filed by Québecor Média inc. on behalf of its subsidiary, Vidéotron Ltd. (collectively, Vidéotron), against Bell Canada on behalf of its subsidiary Bell Mobility Inc. (collectively, Bell), requesting that the Commission order Bell to abstain from suspending wholesale roaming service offered to Vidéotron – Procedural Letter (revised dates)

Dear Sirs:

On 1 August 2019, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) staff sent a letter requesting additional information to Vidéotron and Bell, the parties to the above-mentioned application.

In its letter of response to these RFIs dated 12 August 2019, Vidéotron designated certain information as confidential pursuant to section 39 of the CRTC's Rules of Practice and Procedure (the Rules). Vidéotron had also designated certain information as confidential in its reply to the interventions on the application for final relief dated 15 July 2019.

In its letter of response to the RFIs dated 19 August 2019, Bell included a request for disclosure, pursuant to subsection 33(1) of the Rules, of some of the information designated as confidential by Vidéotron. Bell requests that Vidéotron disclose:

  1. The confidential numbers set out in paragraph 26 of Vidéotron's 15 July 2019 reply; and
  2. The confidential numbers of subscribers (rather than the International Mobile Subscriber Identities (IMSIs)) set out in Vidéotron's 12 August 2019 responses to the Commission's 1 August 2019 requests for information.

In support of its request, Bell argues that the confidentiality provisions set out in Item 100.13 of its CRTC 15011 Tariff  allow it to hold confidential information from a customer on its wholesale roaming service, and that the definitions associated with that item include end-user information. Bell further argues that the public interest militates strongly in favour of Vidéotron disclosing the requested information because, among other things, of the importance of the data to allow Bell to provide informed comments on Vidéotron's compliance with the permanent roaming prohibition clause in its tariff.

In a letter dated 20 August 2019, Vidéotron replied to Bell's disclosure request. Vidéotron indicates that it has no objection to providing Bell with the confidential information in question.

However, Vidéotron also states that it would only disclose the information on the condition that Bell in turn provide certain confidential information.  Vidéotron requests, pursuant to subsection 33(1) of the Rules, the disclosure of the information contained in paragraphs 35, 40, 41 and 42, as well as that contained in footnotes 15, 16 and 18 of Bell's answer to the application for final relief dated July 8, 2019. Staff notes that the information requested relates to the usage thresholds used by Bell to measure roaming by Vidéotron end-users, and the number of IMSIs identified by these measures.

In support of its request, Vidéotron states that access to this information is necessary in order to properly understand and comment on the methodology Bell used to produce the four IMSI lists that were sent to Vidéotron on 8 July 2019.

In a letter dated 22 August 2019, Bell replied to Vidéotron's request. According to Bell, Vidéotron has no need for the information it requests. According to Bell, Vidéotron is not auditing Bell's processes, and does not need the requested information since Vidéotron has already tacitly admitted the validity of Bell's approach by confirming that 6 IMSIs from the first sample of 10 provided by Bell were either at high risk or were actually engaged in permanent roaming.

Subparagraph 39(4)(a) of the Telecommunications Act states that the Commission may require the disclosure of information designated as confidential submitted in the course of proceedings before the Commission if it determines, after considering any representations from interested persons, that the disclosure is in the public interest. Commission staff analyzed the applications using this criterion.

Regarding Bell’s request for Vidéotron to disclose the confidential numbers set out in paragraph 26 of Vidéotron's 15 July 2019 reply and the confidential numbers of subscribers set out in Vidéotron's 12 August 2019 responses to the Commission's 1 August 2019 RFI, staff is of the view that the disclosure of this information to Bell would serve the public interest. Indeed, as the main actor responsible for the application of its tariff, Bell must be able to verify if its wholesale roaming clients, such as Vidéotron, take commercially reasonable steps to limit roaming on the incumbent’s network by their end-users to incidental levels that are within the scope of the service. The information which Bell requests disclosure will enable it to determine the reasonableness of the measures put in place by Vidéotron. The comments that Bell will make in response to this information will assist the Commission in making an informed decision with respect to the final relief requested by Vidéotron. For this reason, Commission staff requires that Vidéotron disclose the requested information to Bell no later than 3 September 2019. The information will remain confidential for other parties as well as the general public.

Regarding Vidéotron’s request for Bell to disclose the confidential information contained in paragraphs 35, 40, 41 and 42, as well as that contained in footnotes 15, 16 and 18 of Bell's answer dated 8 July 2019, staff is of the view that Vidéotron has already addressed the issues potentially raised by the requested information in paragraphs 25 to 29 of its reply dated 15 July 2019. Commission staff is of the view that disclosure of the requested information would serve no useful purpose to allow Vidéotron to provide input that will help the Commission to make an informed decision on the final relief requested by Vidéotron. For this reason, Commission staff dismisses Vidéotron’s request.

In its letter dated 19 August 2019, Bell requested the right to file an additional answer once it obtained disclosure of the requested confidential information. In its letter dated 20 August 2019, Vidéotron requested that it be granted a final right of reply within 5 business days of Bell filing its additional answer or confirmation that it will not file an additional answer.

As a result, staff establishes the following procedures:

This letter will be added to the public file of the above-mentioned process.

Sincerely,

Original signed by

Michel Murray
Director, Dispute Resolution and Regulatory Implementation
Telecommunications Sector

c.c.: Guillaume Castonguay, CRTC,  guillaume.castonguay@crtc.gc.ca

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