Telecom Commission letter addressed to the Distribution List
Ottawa, 31 August 2020
Our reference: 1011-NOC2019-0406
RE: Requests for information with respect to Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-406, Call for comments regarding potential barriers to the deployment of broadband-capable networks in underserved areas in Canada, as modified by Telecom Notice of Consultation 2019-406-1 and 2019-406-2
Dear Madam, Sir,
On 10 December 2019, the Commission issued Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-406, Call for comments regarding potential barriers to the deployment of broadband-capable networks in underserved areas in Canada (TNC 2019-406), inviting interested persons to identify potential barriers and/or regulatory solutions to building new facilities or interconnecting to existing facilities in order to extend broadband-capable networks more efficiently into underserved areas in Canada.
Commission staff has reviewed the interventions, the replies to interventions and the proposed requests for information submitted by the parties to the proceeding, and considers that additional information is required in regards to TNC 2019-406. Parties are therefore required to provide comprehensive answers, including any supporting information, to the attached requests for information.
Pursuant to subsection 37(2) of the Telecommunications Act, the Commission may require a person other than a Canadian carrier that is in possession of information that the Commission considers necessary for the administration of the Act, to submit the information to the Commission.
As set out in Procedures for filing confidential information and requesting its disclosure in Commission proceedings Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin 2010-961, 23 December 2010, parties may designate certain information as confidential. Parties must provide an abridged version of the document involved, accompanied by a note explaining how the information removed is confidential.
Responses to the requests for information are to be filed with the Commission, and served on all other parties, by 12 October 2020.
Original signed by
c.c. Parties to proceeding Telecom Notice of Consultation 2019-406 (see Distribution List in Appendix)
Danny Moreau, CRTC, email@example.com
Requests for information
A. Efficient and Affordable Access to Existing Transport Services
Certain parties to the proceeding have claimed that there is a severe supply shortage for transport services in Canada. In the Notice of Consultation to this proceeding, the Commission described transport services as services that provide interconnection in order to connect an access network to other access networks and/or the Internet. Furthermore, when the Commission set-out the Universal Service Objective (USO) for broadband high-speed Internet access services in Telecom Regulatory Policy 2016-496, it recognized connectivity to the Internet as a key requirement in order to meet the USO.
Currently, transport services are largely forborne and are obtained by Telecommunications Service Providers (TSPs) on a negotiated basis. In order to assist the Commission better understand the relevant transport services being offered to TSPs, on a negotiated basis, for the provision of USO level access, all TSPs are invited to answer the following:
- Identify each high-speed transport service currently leased that provides connectivity to a Canadian Internet exchange point (IXP) for the provision of USO level fixed Internet high-speed access services (50 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 10 Mbps upload).
- In order to understand the extent to which mandated transport services may be required as an input for the purpose of a) initiating the build out of access networks to areas where USO level fixed high-speed Internet services are currently not available to all end-users, but where transport facilities are available; and b) connecting to existing transport facilities to extend transport infrastructure to provide USO level fixed high-speed Internet services to end-users where such services are currently not available:
- Provide views, with rationale, on the specific transport services needed separately for each purpose identified above, and the extent to which the transport services will support USO level fixed high-speed Internet access services in the downstream market.
At paragraph 15 of its 7 May 2020 Intervention, TekSavvy submitted that amongst the barriers to broadband deployment “Cost is undoubtedly the most significant hurdle. The added cost of including a transport component to FTTP builds is prohibitive – even in urban scenarios or rural cases that are relatively close to existing transport routes”. All parties to this proceeding are invited to address the following:
- Provide details of transport and access projects that were considered, over the last two years, for areas where end-users currently lack USO level fixed broadband Internet access services but were determined to be economically non-viable if transport had to be self-supplied.
- Identify the available transport alternatives that would make these projects viable, as well as the rates and terms of these transport alternatives; and
- Indicate whether these projects would serve end-users that are located in a 25 populated square kilometer hexagons with currently no availability of USO level service.
- If the answer is no, specify whether these end-users are located in rural areas. (In the Notice of Consultation to this proceeding, rural areas were defined as having a population of less than 1,000 or a density of 400 or fewer people per square kilometre)
Some incumbent telephone companies, including Bell Canada and its affiliates, as well as some cable carriers, including Cogeco Communications Inc., and Rogers Communications Canada Inc., submitted that the current regulatory requirement to offer wholesale HSA services is discouraging investment and acts as a disincentive to build transport and access infrastructure in less populated areas as they would be required to offer wholesale HSA services over that infrastructure. Incumbent telephone companies and cable carriers are to answer the following:
- With respect to transport and access projects that, once completed, would come under the wholesale HSA regulatory mandate:
- Identify each transport and access infrastructure project that has been initiated over the last two years, without public funding, in underserved areas (which, for the purpose of this question is defined as a populated 25 kilometer square hexagons with no availability of USO level fixed high-speed Internet access services); and
- Identify each transport and access infrastructure project that were contemplated over the last two years, without public funding, for underserved areas, but were not initiated or not completed as they were deemed to be non-viable due to the wholesale HSA regulatory mandate.
B. Access to Dark Fibre
Access to dark (or unlit) fiber could, in some regions, help accelerate the deployment of broadband-capable networks. First Mile Connectivity Consortium indicated, as part of its 23 April 2020 submission, that in some cases, owners of dark fibre refuse to allow third-parties to access that fibre. All parties to the proceeding that own dark fibre in Canada, including the Canadian Electricity Association, on behalf of all of its members, are to answer the following:
(Note that pursuant to section 37(2) of the Telecommunications Act, the Commission may require that a person other than a Canadian carrier submit information to the Commission that it considers necessary for the administration of that Act, and in such form and manner as the Commission specifies):
- To the extent that you own dark fibre in Canada, provide the following information:
- Terms under which your dark fibre is currently available to third-parties for the purpose of providing USO level fixed high-speed Internet services (50 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 10 Mbps upload); and
- If your dark fibre is not currently available to third-parties for the purpose of providing USO level fixed high-speed Internet services, indicate the terms under which you may consider making your dark fibre available for third-party access for that purpose.
C. Rights of Way
While several municipalities, communities and their respective representatives have demonstrated the importance of having broadband Internet services available in their region, some service providers, including Xplornet Communications Inc. (Xplornet), have indicated that efficient access to rights of way is key to the deployment of broadband-capable networks in rural regions. All parties to the proceeding are invited to address the following:
- Describe situations where you have experienced delays and costs associated with negotiating rights of way to install infrastructure to provision fixed high-speed Internet access services of at least USO level (50 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 10 Mbps upload) in areas where such services were not available.
- Provide views, with rationale, on the role you would like the Commission to play in order to prevent situations where access to rights of way becomes the reason for USO level fixed high-speed Internet access services projects being delayed or not built.
D. Infrastructures Database
Some parties, including Cybera Inc, and TekSavvy, noted as part of their interventions that not knowing where existing communications infrastructures are located constitutes a barrier to the efficient deployment of broadband-capable networks, and therefore, access to up-to-date, detailed and accurate information on the presence of the key components of broadband-capable networks is needed for potential service providers. NOWLC-Net Cooperative made reference to jurisdictions that maintain maps and databases with information on facilities that can be used for the deployment of telecommunications projects. In France, that information is publically available, while in Germany it can be accessed by request if the requesting party is involved in an expansion project which will create facilities that can be used for telecom purposes. All parties to the proceeding are invited to comment on the following:
- Provide views, with rationale, on:
- Whether the Commission should create, with the information it already collects on fibre and support structures, a database and/or maps, as suggested by some parties to the proceeding;
- The appropriate level of information from the database/maps that should be made publicly available; and
- The level of information that should only be provided, by the Commission, to service providers that submit to the Commission a valid broadband-capable network expansion plan.
- Date modified: