Telecom Commission Letter addressed to Mr. Philippe Gauvin (Bell Canada)
Ottawa, 7 April 2020
Our reference: 8662-M59-201911363
BY E-MAILMr. Philippe Gauvin
Assistant General Counsel
160 Elgin St.
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 2C4
RE: Internet Code implementation – Bell MTS’s Part 1 application for an extension of time for certain rules
This letter sets out the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s determinations on Bell MTS’s Part 1 application seeking an extension of time to implement certain requirements of the Internet Code (the Code), set out in The Internet Code, Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2019-269, 31 July 2019 (the Internet Code Policy).
In its application, filed on 30 October 2019, Bell MTS stated that it was unable to comply with the rules set out in the following sections of the Code by the 31 January 2020 deadline:
- B.1., 2., 3., and 5. (Contracts and related documents),
- C.1. (Critical Information Summary [CIS]),
- D.2.i.(c) (Changes to contracts and related documents – Changes to key contract terms and conditions after the commitment period), and
- I.1.i.a. and iii. (Disconnection – When disconnection may occur).
For this reason, the company requested an extension to 30 April 2021 to implement these rules. Bell MTS stated that it would implement them on a rolling basis to benefit customers as soon as possible and that all other Code rules would be implemented by the 31 January 2020 deadline.
The application was posted to the Commission’s website on 6 November 2019. No interventions were filed.
Pursuant to the Internet Code Policy, an Internet service provider (ISP) may submit a Part 1 application to seek an extension of the deadline to implement certain rules of the Code. To obtain an extension, the ISP must demonstrate that it faces unique barriers that would make implementing the specific rule(s) of the Code technically impossible or financially unreasonable. Bell MTS submitted that it faces unique barriers making implementation of the affected rules by 31 January 2020 both technically impossible and financially unreasonable, due to technical issues with migrating existing customers from legacy to new systems.
- For rules B.1., 2., 3., and 5., C.1., and D.2.i.(c), Bell MTS submitted that it cannot implement these rules on time because the core system components that enable it to send Code=compliant contracts and the CIS do not currently exist in certain legacy and end-of-life systems. It is in the process of transitioning to new systems, and its objective is to create these components in its new systems only.
- For rules I.1.i.a. and iii., Bell MTS submitted that it currently disconnects Internet service customers outside operating hours, at 5:30 a.m., since its legacy and end-of-life systems do not have the capacity to handle disconnections during operating hours. It would implement these rules in its new systems.
The Commission finds that Bell MTS’s application meets the test for an extension set out in the Internet Code Policy, since it effectively demonstrates that the company faces unique barriers (i.e. the transition to new systems) that would make implementing rules B.1., 2., 3., and 5., C.1., D.2.i.(c), and I.1.i.a. and iii. of the Code (hereafter, the affected rules) before 30 April 2021 technically impossible and financially unreasonable. Specifically, Bell MTS has demonstrated that it would be technically impossible to advance the implementation date of the new systems, or the affected rules, without accepting an unreasonable degree of risk for the new systems, and ultimately, customers. Bell MTS has also demonstrated that it would be financially unreasonable to implement the affected rules in the legacy and end-of-life systems and then again in the new systems. In addition, the Commission considers that the impact on customers from the extension should be minimal, since Bell MTS offers only indeterminate, unlimited use Internet service contracts. Thus, customers (i) can cancel services at any time without being subject to early cancellation fees, (ii) are not subject to overage fees, and (iii) do not require usage notifications. Customers will also continue to receive written contracts in the existing format following the installation of Internet service.
Accordingly, the Commission approves Bell MTS’s request to extend the implementation deadline from 31 January 2020 to 30 April 2021 for the affected rules. The Commission notes Bell MTS’s commitment to implement the affected rules on a rolling basis, and encourages Bell MTS to further accelerate the implementation of its new systems in order to comply with the affected rules as soon as possible.
The Commission reminds Bell MTS of the following:
- It remains obligated to meet all other Code rules as of 31 January 2020.
- It remains obligated to submit its annual Code compliance report, due by 31 August each year. The Commission will take its determinations in this decision into consideration when assessing the company’s overall compliance with implementing the Code. When assessing the company’s 2020 compliance report, the Commission will assess Bell MTS’s compliance with all other Code rules.
- The Commission for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services (CCTS) will address complaints regarding all Code rules, including those at issue in the present letter, in a manner consistent with the Code for all customers, including Bell MTS’s customers. Therefore, despite the Commission’s approval of the extension, for complaints that the CCTS receives regarding the affected rules, the CCTS will continue to interpret and resolve matters in a manner consistent with the Code.
Given the duration of the extension, to ensure that Bell MTS’s customers are aware of the delay and can seek recourse where appropriate, the Commission directs Bell MTS to do the following:
- Notify, in a timely manner, all of its retail residential Internet service customers directly, through their preferred method of communication, as well as through the company’s website, of the expected delay in implementing the affected rules. The notification must explain how customers may be affected by the delay and include a reminder to customers that should they have a complaint, they should first contact Bell MTS directly, and if they are not satisfied with how Bell MTS has addressed their complaint, they have the right to escalate the complaint to the CCTS.
- File a report to the Commission on how it is meeting its customer notification requirements set out above. This report will be due within 30 days of the date of this decision. As part of this submission, Bell MTS is to provide the Commission with a copy of the text sent to customers to notify them of the implementation delay and their right to escalate complaints to the CCTS.
- File monthly reports updating the Commission on the status of its system upgrades in meeting the affected rules. These reports must address any complaints received about the affected rules until they have been fully implemented. Reports will be due each month, starting 30 days after the date of this decision. Once all aspects of the Code are implemented in full, Bell MTS must provide written confirmation of this in its final monthly report.
The Commission intends to monitor consumer complaints to the CCTS for any systemic issues arising from the delay in implementing the Code.
Original signed by
C.C: Nanao Kachi, CRTC, 819-997-4700, Nanao.Kachi@crtc.gc.ca;
Tara Levine, CRTC, 819-997-4478, Tara.Levine@crtc.gc.ca;
Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services,
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
- Date modified: