Telecom Commission Letter addressed to the Distribution List

Ottawa, 4 November 2019

Our reference: 1011-NOC2019-0057

BY EMAIL

RE:  Review of mobile wireless services, Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-57 – Disclosure of information designated as confidential

Dear Madams, Sirs:

This letter addresses requests for disclosure of information designated as confidential in the proceeding initiated by Review of mobile wireless services, Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-57.

On 5 April 2019, Commission staff issued a letter, as amended by a Commission letter of 24 May 2019, which addressed requests for information (RFIs) to parties. On 10 July 2019, Bell Mobility Inc. (Bell Mobility), the Canadian Network Operators Consortium, Cogeco Communications Inc, on behalf of its subsidiary Cogeco Connexion Inc. (Cogeco), and EMF-OFF! filed submissions requesting disclosure of certain information that parties had filed and for which confidentiality had been claimed.

The following parties responded to the requests for disclosure: Bell Mobility, Bragg Communications, carrying on business as Eastlink (Eastlink), Quebecor Media inc, on behalf of Videotron Ltd. (Quebecor), Rogers Communications Canada Inc. (Rogers), Saskatchewan Telecommunications (SaskTel), Shaw Communications Inc. (Shaw), TbayTel, and TELUS Communications Inc. (TELUS).

On 16 August 2019, Commission staff issued a letter directing Bell Mobility, Eastlink, Quebecor, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, and TELUS to disclose on the public record certain information that those parties had filed in confidence. In addition to considering requests for public disclosure made by parties, Commission staff expressed the view that it would be in the public interest for the carriers to publicly disclose additional information that was filed in confidence. The Commission subsequently received responses from these parties in which they objected to the disclosure of certain confidential information requested by Commission staff.

Requests for disclosure of information designated as confidential are addressed in light of sections 38 and 39 of the Telecommunications Act (the Act) and sections 30 and following of the CRTC Rules of Practice and Procedure (the Rules of Procedure). In evaluating a request, 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 Act. An assessment is then made as to whether there is any specific direct harm 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 information could be reasonably aggregated and the competitive sensitivity of the information itself. The factors considered are discussed in more detail in Procedures for filing confidential information and requesting its disclosure in Commission proceedings, Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-961, 23 December 2010, as amended by Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-961-1, 26 October 2012.

The Commission has reviewed the requests for disclosure filed by parties, the requests for disclosure made by Commission staff, and parties’ responses to these requests and, with respect to the specific information in respect of which parties have contested disclosure, considers that disclosure of certain information is appropriate and in the public interest.

More specifically, with respect to the information requested in RFI #204 issued by the CRTC on 5 April 2019,, the Commission notes that most parties have disclosed this information on the record of the current proceeding, including information with respect to sharing arrangements with other parties. Further, the information requested is generally made publically available via Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s Spectrum Management System website and thus that disclosure of this information on the public record of the present proceeding would not give rise to any specific direct harm for the entities involved.

With regards to the information requested in RFI #211 issued by the CRTC on 5 April 2019, which related to overage charges, disclosure is in the public interest as this will better allow parties to meaningfully comment on wireless pricing and profitability matters.  The charging of overage fees is a common practice among wireless service providers and therefore disclosure of this information would not likely harm parties by providing competitors with a meaningful opportunity to tailor a business strategy against a particular company. 

However, given its relative size and the fact that its wireless operations cover a relatively small geographic market, public disclosure of the information submitted by Eastlink would better provide competitors with insight into the strength of that company’s operations and the commercial potential for entry into, or expansion of operations within, that market.  Given Eastlink’s portion of the broader Canadian wireless market, the Commission considers that the absence of this information from the public record would not prevent parties from conducting meaningful analyses of the overall market.

With regards to parts i) and ii) of RFI #212, issued by the CRTC on 5 April 2019, the Commission is of the view that the responsive information submitted in confidence provides insight into both wireless service marketing and consumer behavior.  Access to this information would enable parties to provide more meaningful submissions as to what, if any, regulatory measures are required to protect and promote the interests of users.  At the same time, unlike the highly disaggregated information in part iii) of this RFI, release of the information in parts i) and ii) would not likely provide competitors with new information about consumers’ data consumption that they could use to devise a differentiation strategy to target a specific company.  However, for the same reasons already set out above, this conclusion does not apply to Eastlink.

Having regard to the considerations set out above, parties are to file with the Commission all information as set out in Attachment 1 by 12 November 2019.
Yours sincerely,

Original signed by

Claude Doucet
Secretary General

Distribution list: parties to Telecom proceeding 2019-57

Attachment (1)


DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION DESIGNATED AS CONFIDENTIAL

(CRTC)5April2019-204
TELUS is to disclose all information for which confidentiality has been claimed

(CRTC)5April2019-211

Bell Mobility, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, TELUS, and Quebecor are to disclose all information for which confidentiality has been claimed

(CRTC)5April2019-212 i) and ii)

Bell Mobility, Rogers, SaskTel, TELUS, and Quebecor are to disclose all information for which confidentiality has been claimed

 

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