Telecom - Procedural Letter addressed to Stan Thompson (Northwestel Inc. )

Ottawa, 13 April 2021

Our reference: 8622-S93-202008482


Mr. Stan Thompson
Chief Financial Officer & Vice-President
Northwestel Inc.
P.O. Box 2727
Whitehorse, Yukon
Y1A 4Y4

Re: Part 1 application filed by SSi Micro Ltd. to require Northwestel Inc. to provide Third-Party Internet Access (TPIA) – Northwestel’s Procedural Request

Mr. Thompson:

This is in response to your letter, dated 9 April 2021, requesting that Northwestel Inc. (Northwestel) be granted an extension of time to file its responses to a request for information (RFI) issued by Commission staff, dated 25 March 2021.

In its letter, Northwestel stated that Commission staff’s correspondence was directed to the email address of a specific individual, rather than its regulatory email address, and that, as a result, Northwestel did not become aware of the correspondence until being served with responses to the RFI from other parties on 8 April 2021. Given these circumstances, Northwestel requested that the Commission extend the response period by two weeks, to 22 April 2021, and that this extension be accorded to other parties in receipt of the RFI. Northwestel further noted that a response period of two weeks would be consistent with the response period initially granted to other parties.

On 12 April 2021, SSi Micro Ltd. (SSi Micro) filed a reply to Northwestel’s extension request. In its reply, SSi Micro requested that the Commission deny Northwestel’s request. SSi Micro noted that the RFI in question was sent to the person making the present procedural request. SSi Micro submitted that granting Northwestel’s request based on the justification the company provided could set a harmful precedent by encouraging parties to ignore Commission deadlines. Further, SSi Micro indicated that granting the extension request could prejudice other parties, as Northwestel would be provided the opportunity to submit its responses with knowledge of the information provided by other parties.

Commission staff acknowledges the routing of correspondence to an individual, rather than to Northwestel’s regulatory email address, as indicated by Northwestel. However, Commission staff notes that the RFI was placed on the public record of the proceeding via the Commission’s website and sent to Northwestel’s Chief Financial Officer & Vice-President, the very same person who submitted the present procedural request on behalf of Northwestel. As such, Northwestel and other parties are reminded that it is their responsibility to monitor the public record of proceedings on a regular basis, and that any issues related to procedure or other matters should be raised with the Commission at the earliest opportunity.

That said, while Commission staff notes the concerns raised by SSi Micro and the importance of parties respecting deadlines that are set, it also considers that the information requested of Northwestel is necessary for the development of a complete public record of the proceeding. In this regard, Commission staff notes that the information requested of Northwestel is also materially different from that requested of other parties and knowledge of other responses should have little influence on the information Northwestel was requested to provide. Commission staff also considers that the concerns raised by SSi Micro regarding Northwestel’s ability to take into account the responses of other parties are mitigated, in large part, by the subsequent procedure for comment and reply.

In light of the above, Commission staff considers an extension of two weeks is appropriate.

Accordingly, Northwestel and other parties are to file responses to the RFI by 22 April 2021. Parties may file comments strictly limited to the new information provided in response to this RFI by 29 April 2021, and parties may file reply comments with respect to this RFI by 6 May 2021.

Northwestel is reminded to respond to the RFI only and should not view this extension as an opportunity to comment on information provided by other parties in response to the RFI. All parties will have the opportunity to file comments on the information provided in response to the RFI as part of the subsequent comment period.

A copy of this letter will be placed on the public record of the proceeding.

Yours sincerely,

Original signed by

Lisanne Legros
Director, Telecommunications Networks Policy
Telecommunications Sector

cc:       Marianne Blais, CRTC, (819) 997-4836,
Nicolas Gatto, CRTC, (873) 353-9280,
Simon Wozny, CRTC, (873) 455-4630,
Andrew MacKenzie, CRTC, (819) 997-4836,
SSi Micro Ltd.,
Iristel Inc.,
Public Interest Advocacy Centre,
Competitive Network Operators of Canada,
TekSavvy Solutions Inc.,

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