ARCHIVED - Transcript, Hearing April 20, 2016

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Volume: 8
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Date: April 20, 2016
© Copyright Reserved

Attendees and Location

Held at:

Outaouais Room
Conference Centre
140 Promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Québec



Gatineau, Québec

--- Upon resuming on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at 9:00 a.m.

9926 THE CHAIRPERSON: À l'ordre, s'il vous plait. Order, please.

9927 Madame la secrétaire.

9928 THE SECRETARY: Thank you. Good morning.

9929 We will now hear the presentation of Roslyn Layton. Ms. Layton is appearing by Skype.

9930 Ms. Layton, you can hear us well?

9931 MS. LAYTON: Yes, thank you.

9932 THE SECRETARY: Perfect. You may begin your presentation. You have 10 minutes. Thank you.


9933 MS. LAYTON: Yes, good morning, and thank you for the opportunity to present today.

9934 My name is Roslyn Layton, and I'm a PhD fellow at the Centre for Communication Media and Information Technologies in the Department of Electronic Systems at Aalborg University in Copenhagen, Denmark.

9935 I'm honoured to share my thoughts on the important topic of basic services in Canada, and I want to commend the CRTC on its inclusive process to solicit feedback from a diverse group of stakeholders.

9936 THE SECRETARY: Ms. Layton?

9937 MS. LAYTON: Yes?

9938 THE SECRETARY: Can you please talk slower for the interpretation? Thank you.

9939 MS. LAYTON: Of course.

9940 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.

9941 MS. LAYTON: So thank you, CRTC, for this process that you have used to solicit the diverse group of stakeholders and all of their views and your effort to commission a report about how Canadians use the internet.

9942 My comments today offer a critical academic view of the debate and assumption of basic services policies. My goal is to offer creative, out-of-the-box thinking to achieve policy goals in a more effective and perhaps unorthodox way.

9943 These points have been published in a peer review academic journal as well as in a magazine for ICOM, the leading professional association for regulators.

9944 I speak on this topic at various conferences and events in a pro-bono basis to fulfil my academic requirements at the university.

9945 Some telecom policy can benefit users tremendously, while bad ideas can be terribly costly. Exhibit A is the Universal Services Fund and lifeline programs in the United States where tens of billions of dollars in waste, fraud, and abuse have been noted.

9946 However, when done right, telecom policy can help lift the poorest and least fortunate among us to an improved quality of life. Few, if any, technologies or industries have the potential to create so much good for so many.

9947 But resources are limited and as such, policy-makers need the courage and fortitude to test their assumptions.

9948 Simply copy pasting ideas from the past will not necessarily solve today's problems. My purpose is to provide inspiration and I represent myself and do not speak on behalf of any other party.

9949 First, we need to start with a discussion of a popular service. In recent years, as more and more users access Facebook with mobile devices, the company has re-engineered its mobile platform, decreasing average monthly data use from 14 megabits down to one.

9950 Not only does this lower the long-term operating costs for Facebook, it improves the user experience and it takes less data from their subscription. Better service design also improves the throughput on the network.

9951 The point of this story is that when it comes to basic services, we tend to think very much about the broadband network or whatever telecom network's there, but we really should be focusing on the third-party services and how to optimize them.

9952 In my remarks today, I will address two of the assumptions of basic service policy and some of the shortcomings and these premises are that high speeds are needed for essential services and applications and that people in remote areas are somehow limited in their participation on the internet because of only having a single provider.

9953 To craft the best policy, I suggest to the CRTC that they should focus on the specific applications that belong in what I call a "basic services bundle".

9954 Your March 30 report indicates what those services could be, for example, mailing, reading news online, medical information, banking, and government websites.

9955 Rural residents also mention the importance of voice, social media, education, employment, and shopping.

9956 Thus, ensuring that the basic bundle is available on all networks, ideally with an optimal service design along with the appropriate network management, is a defendable basic service policy.

9957 Operators could then offer packages, market and disclosed as for basic services, ideally at a competitive price.

9958 Importantly, entertainment and other discretionary services are not appropriate for the basic services bundle, and those should be priced and managed flexibly.

9959 So the first faulty premise that I want to address is that essential applications and services need high speeds.

9960 Now, if we look back in the past in the basic -- the history of basic service and universal service, the finding of policy was relatively easy because there was just one network and one service to provision, voice over the copper wire.

9961 But today there are near infinite number of services, many networks, so the notion of (inaudible) and what held true for the telephone service onto every other network is not tenable.

9962 Given the inherent technical and economic differences between networks, it makes far more sense to focus on the services that run across them. After all, people don’t adopt networks, they adopt services. Demand for broadband is not for the network itself, but for the services it delivers, also called derived demand.

9963 Of the essential services Canadian mentioned in the CRTC report, none of them require high speed broadband connections. Moreover, the CRTC report said at least 7 in 10 Canadians are satisfied with the reliability and speed of their home internet service, and only 1 in 5 or fewer are dissatisfied.

9964 In addition, this proceeding has noted the deaf and blind communities' need for prioritization and quality of service, which are not related to speed.

9965 As such, the focus on the network speed as a measure of basic service is somewhat off the mark. The speed that a user experiences is not a function of the network so much as it is of the user's device and the user's application.

9966 Building new wire-line networks is the most expensive, cumbersome solution to improve basic service. The same objectives could be achieved across a range of solutions, such as compression technologies, local storage, deployment of wireless networks, and upgrade of service software protocols. Moreover, it is far more cost-effective to focus on service design and delivery, and far more flexible.

9967 I submit that the call to high speed is an implicit appeal to inherently emotional issues. It creates a sense that the only way to support quality digital services is to support extensive regulatory intervention with subsidies, obligations, and mandated contribution programs.

9968 At best, this represents a misunderstanding of basic services' actual requirements, and may also represent a desire, on the part of broadband advocates to assert an idealized view. While laudable, it doesn’t synch with the way that people use their services in practice.

9969 At worst, it's a deliberate tactic used as an emotional appeal to advocate for a preferred policy that is otherwise not supportable by the technical requirements.

9970 Moreover, a misguided focus on speed does not address the key reason why people don’t adopt the internet in the first place. As studies from Pew and the Centre for the Digital Future attest, that low adoption of the internet is not related to cost dispute at all but rather concerns about usability, relevance, and online harms.

9971 If Canadians find no reason today to adopt the internet, offering them a higher speed connection is not an incentive to start.

9972 The second faulty premise I will address is that people in remote areas have limited participation in the internet because of their location or the presence of only a single provider.

9973 It's a fact of the matter that being in a remote location would actually increase the likelihood of adoption, and there is no more relevant case for Canada than Greenland, where digital health and education services have had near-universal adoption for almost a decade. It is the user-friendly design of the service which drives its adoption, in spite of the prevailing speed of only one megabit per second.

9974 If you have been to Greenland, you will know that there's no calling 9-1-1 and waiting for an ambulance. As such, digital health is extremely important, therefore, telling Greenland the monopoly provider prioritizes network for medical services.

9975 I suggest that Canadian providers be allowed the full leeway to manage the network in a socially responsible fashion.

9976 What is basic and essential should be prioritized and delivered most cost effectively. Thereafter, discretionary services can be offered with flexible management and pricing.

9977 Similar limitations such as low bandwidth environments can actually drive innovation, as my colleagues in India are working on videoconferencing solutions on just one megabit environments.

9978 In conclusion, I want to thank you for the opportunity to share these points. I hope you will see the merit of the view that the focus on service delivery and design is a more cost-effective way to create universal service. Network metric requirements, while appearing authoritative, are, I submit, inferior to creating the social value to which the CRTC is so committed.

9979 I opened my remarks with a story about Facebook. Now, let me give you one more quick example. There is an emerging model of basic service now enjoyed by 25 million new internet users around the world; it’s called Free Basics. It’s a platform optimized for future phones and low-bandwidth environments to deliver essential services for messaging, news, health, and weather.

9980 In barely one year, the program has grown across 37 countries with no cost to public coffers. I’m hard-pressed to find a similar regulator-produced basic service policy which delivers so much adoption so quickly at so little cost.

9981 The point of this example is simply to demonstrate that with no regulatory requirements at all telecom operators and service providers can work together to participate in the important project of digital adoption and universal service. If the goal is to maximize the social value of basic service policy, there is no reason why the relevant application providers should not be part of the solution.

9982 The example should be a source of inspiration for Canadian innovators to make their own optimized platforms with Canadian apps, services, and devices to be marketed and bundled in a compelling way. This could also address price concerns by offering cost-optimized bundles for basic service; such a bundling is win-win.

9983 Canadian users, especially the 13 percent who have not adopted the internet, would have an incentive to try. Canadian app providers and device-makers could strengthen their audience through complementary network effects and Canadian broadband providers would have additional means to conduct price and service competition.

9984 Good telecom policy is rarely simple. As such, the CRTC should resist the pressure to make binary interpretations of the world where critical views can ultimately deliver better social outcomes.

9985 Thank you very much for this opportunity to present and I look forward to your questions.

9986 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Dr. Layton.

9987 Commissioner from Alberta and Northwest Territory, Dr. Linda Vennard, will ask you questions first. Thank you.

9988 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Good morning. I’m not sure what time it is there but good afternoon, good evening, whatever time is there.

9989 MS. LAYTON: Three o’clock.

9990 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Three o’clock. Good afternoon. It’s morning here in Canada.

9991 I’m also an academic and I would -- I read your paper with great interest and would really like to have an academic discussion with you. And I’m looking forward to that one of these days. But right now I’m mindful of the fact that we are looking at regulation here. So I’m going to converse with you on a little but different level.

9992 Having said that, I would like to just get your thoughts on one sort of basic thing. We’ve been thinking about how to look at policy. We’ve been thinking about how to frame something like a strategy; we’ve been thinking about how to frame something like a basic service objective. And your own thinking actually lines up very, very closely with the way I think about things and that is that you -- you sort of outline this in the paper that you provided -- that you asked to provide.

9993 And we basically are moving into an area where we started off with a set -- in terms of a society, we started off with a set of social commitments of some kind and then we move in to using technology to leverage and support our social commitments. And now we seem to have gone around a corner where the technology itself is the social commitment. Do you have thoughts on that?

9994 MS. LAYTON: I think that’s a very compelling idea. I understand that evolution that you’re talking about.

9995 What I would -- and I’m glad that there’s an opportunity, maybe, to exchange it on an academic level. I’m happy to send you some academic references that discuss this sort of, what you might call, a synthesis or some kind of evolution.

9996 I understand the technology being a social commitment. What I would also say is though, from a regulatory perspective -- as you have said, this is important to this discussion -- but I’ll give you the example of the regulations in Denmark. There was actually a process here that dismantled much of the Telecom Regulatory Authority, and replaced the employees across four government agencies on the idea that the expertise of the regulators was better deployed in the various public sector functions.

9997 So they had a notion that of course the technology is important but the expertise was needed to help, for example, the hospital, the education deployment, transportation -- intelligent transportation, smart cities, and what have you.

9998 So I would certainly agree the importance of the technology but it also is that the technology is not an end in itself; it is the enablement of the technology for some kind of a social outcome or some social value. So my only academic critique of that is to say yes, while I agree with the technology, we all have to bring it back to what is the social value to be delivered and the outcome.

9999 So I think then when you look at an everyday-basic service policy, you know, yes, you can create a fee requirement and deliver it to the speed but does that really mean that you are delivering the social value? So you know, I think maybe there’s an additional place to take the discussion.

10000 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah, I agree with you and I think that that’s the thing that we’re all wrestling with is that idea of the -- you know, what comes first? It seems like sometimes we prioritize the technology and we forefront it and -- but it has become -- in terms of what we’re dealing with here in our Commission, it has become the social commitment.

10001 And within that social commitment is embodied the responsibilities that we have for our society. For example, a really good example of that would be towards the disabled community and so on. So that technology, that broadband, actually embodies what our social commitments are at this time. And I think that we’re just -- we’re not there yet but I think we’re concept -- in terms of just conceptualizing what it is that we’re doing and the broad sort of framework that we’re looking at.

10002 I think it’s a rather provocative idea and it’s definitely one that I picked up the underpinnings for in your paper as well. So that’s something that you might want to actually give a little bit of thought to as well because I certainly saw that all through your -- the paper that I read.

10003 Now, if we start from the point where we say the technology -- the communication technology is actually the social commitment -- and in fact it is the social commitment that we’re -- I mean a social obligation that we’re dealing with here on the commission. Then we would probably benefit from a set of principles that might guide us towards our regulation in terms of the way we think about how we should even regulate something like this.

10004 And of course the starting place for this is needs versus wants or speed; there’s all these other different sorts of things. So perhaps I can just ask you to give us your thoughts on the difference between the needs and the wants. What do you think the needs are and what should be the wants?

10005 And of course you’ve alluded to that when you talked about basic services should be for -- think of basic services in one way and then discretionary services which people can purchase as they can any other product if they want. So what are your thoughts on needs and wants?

10006 MS. LAYTON: Certainly. Well, first of all, as I mentioned in my remarks, I wanted to applaud the CRTC to have -- to do the report. I think that that was a very important first step. What’s (inaudible) to me as I’m sure it was to you, that it is a case, you know, certainly what maybe of value. But this also says to me that it does require really examining all the (inaudible).

10007 I think that in many respects this idea about technology that we sort of get caught up in sort of managing to the network but not really understanding what’s the value that’s running across. And I think as your hearing has demonstrated, for example, the needs of the deaf and blind community are not the same as -- there are many communities who have different needs.

10008 So often the important thing is the flexibility that operators will need to have to deliver the kinds of quality of service for different kinds of services and that whatever regulations are there that they don’t constrain the ability to deliver those services. So in theory you could have unlimited kind of wants; if your network was (inaudible) managed, it could in fact do that.

10009 I think that to the most degree you can improve the design of the application, the more (inaudible) that you’ll have on a network, the more capacity you can get from your network. So I mean, for example, if we went back 150 years and you said, “Well, as the Horse and Buggy Commission, we need to make sure that there are lots of those” and had only managed those, we wouldn’t have imagined that something else might come about.

10010 But my point is to say that human needs may be delivered in a variety of ways and so what we might be able to pin down today whether the wants or whether the needs. That may shift over time very quickly as we find different ways to address that.

10011 So what I would get -- what I would come back -- my sense is that it would be important to have done the surveys that you did to understand that there’s a lot more that the service providers can do, that is to say the application provider. They have incentives to improve the design of their service.

10012 What I can say from -- what I know from my colleagues in the engineering section where we work with compression technology, that most providers of video, maybe less than 20 percent, actually do the appropriate video compression so that the networks that we have today could actually be utilized much better and have much better throughput if the application providers did a better job.

10013 So, you know, I would say you could actually address a lot more needs -- a lot more of these things by having a better design of the application; you could use the network better. And it theoretically could allow many more possibilities. That can exist without regulatory requirements.

10014 We have already seen, and therefore I want to use the example of the Free Basics and Facebook. Facebook is just an open platform and people said, “Well, let’s try it.” And the key thing about that platform is that the applications continue to be -- how would you say -- simplified to deliver the key services that people need. So lots of superfluous things are going away, and they really focus on what the end users want. And it ends up making them much better services being adopted by more.

10015 So I’m (inaudible) to exactly answer your question other than to say there’s a lot of input that need to be part of this question. And that I was talking against boiling things down and saying, well, if we have this XYZ speed requirement which (inaudible) because in reality there’s, you know, a lot more going on. And you should also involve a lot more of the parts of the ecosystem to contribute to making a better utilization of the network.

10016 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: But don’t you think that there needs to be a standardization and an obligation that people have a certain speed and a certain quality of service on a network in order to get up to that service level?

10017 MS. LAYTON: Well ---

10018 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: You know, that’s one of the basic things that we have to look at here is ---

10019 MS. LAYTON: Sure.

10020 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: You know, because if we sort of take it apart and we say we have to look at the network, we have to look at the broadband network or the cable network or whatever, the entire network. And that has to be, you know, equal for everybody in order to get up to the level of the services and the discretionary services and thinking that might go on in that level.

10021 MS. LAYTON: Right. Well, I certainly appreciate -- I appreciate where you’re coming from. I recognize you have this important social goal which you want to deliver. When I read the statistics about Canada I had a sense that there’s actually quite a bit of satisfaction of users from their speed.

10022 So what I would weigh though -- well, my view -- is that I would say that in terms of the social value, to -- at the cost of making everything equal for everyone you may actually make a greater value by let’s say focusing on those who are hurting the most, for example.


10024 MS. LAYTON: And I think this is the question right now they’re addressing in the U.S. with Lifeline Program. They submit that Lifeline, giving a $10 subsidy to let’s say 40 million households, or it could be a $30 subsidy to two million households. There’s a huge difference there. And in fact, the latter option would be better to address fewer households with more money but they’re taking the former option.

10025 So what I would say is I don’t necessarily think it’s important that everyone has to be -- that this service has to improve everything equally across the board. I think the idea would be to focus on those who need the most help because in many respects Canada is so far ahead of countries around the world that I think you do tend to look at everything from the winner’s position where you’ve accomplished so much.

10026 And I would say that, you know, the improvements to be made are quite marginal, you know, especially when you look at the perspectives of some of the other countries who have nowhere near the success and accomplishment that Canada has made.

10027 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: In your submission, and also in your paper, you are quite critical of classifying or defining something like streaming video and so on as a basic service. It seems that you consider it to be entertainment. And would you say that that should not be part of the basic service, the capacity for that? Or how would you fit that into the mix that we’re dealing with here?

10028 MS. LAYTON: Sure. Well, entertainment is a very challenging issue because in fact it has many substitutes. You know, maybe one person wants to read a book, another person wants to watch a movie, someone wants to play checkers. You know, there are many -- so entertainment is really hard to define.

10029 However, there are things like applying for a job where we don’t have another option than to use the internet. So the use of an IM (inaudible) entertainment is in the sense that it’s not essential. It’s highly elastic, it’s highly differentiated to people.

10030 However, the things like emailing, getting news, applying for a job, government, those are things where the internet is the only option and those have to be -- those would definitely be something one would classify as essential.

10031 So I think this is a challenge where, in my opinion, the CRTC needs to make a decision. It’s hard to make decisions. There are probably some companies who are not happy about that.

10032 On the other hand, this is also an innovator’s opportunity. There are kinds of contents that are essential for Canadians, the Canadian citizens (inaudible) their taxes and so on, and there could be a case that those things could be important. And also, it could be a reason to say could the video platforms be improved so that they could be delivered more efficiently?

10033 So, you know, what I would say is I could see arguments for socially beneficial entertainment. This could be (inaudible) that we know that’s valuable for all Canadians. It’s something very different than what Hollywood might consider Canadians should see. So I believe that there’s a distinction.


10035 There’s also a space there where -- and you mentioned innovation yourself -- where innovation operates too. So even though something might not be absolutely essential to a person’s health or their banking or whatever, if you look at -- and staff cleverly pointed this out to me -- that when it comes to things like streaming video and so on where, you know, we’re able to have this conversation with you because of that.

10036 So in a sense through your paper you’re sort of critical of the very thing that is enabling us to have this conversation with you, and expand our views, and search out different ways to think about things.

10037 So when it comes to innovation if there isn’t room to innovate -- in the same way, I mean, we talk about innovation as sort of like the optimization that you mentioned with engineers. They design to the constraints.

10038 And innovation in some ways I think is exactly the same thing, where if you constrain then different things will happen, but yet on the other hand you can constrain too far too.

10039 And that’s one of the things that we’re dealing with here too is that we want to be able to look into the future. We want to be able to prepare our country for the future, not just right now and what’s the minimum now, what’s the ceiling now sort of thing. Where we’re trying to establish a floor, if you will.

10040 So what would you say about when it comes to innovation? If we constrain things too tightly and we define basic services too tightly then where do we go with it?

10041 MS. LAYTON: Right. Well, so as we know, (inaudible) can also be a constraint. There are many constraints then. Maybe perhaps it’s a -- (inaudible) is a question of constraint optimization about so many things that we’ve been looking at.

10042 One of the things to keep in mind would be (inaudible), and I believe I discuss this in the paper, this position that what we’ve seen is the existing networks we have continued to accommodate more throughput because of the various technologies that they employ.

10043 And I think certainly from the broadband providers’ perspective, the ability that they can squeeze more throughput out of the network is so much better for them if they can offer more services, sell more subscriptions, and so on. So it’s absolutely in their interest as well.

10044 But what I would say is, in my estimation, that to date the application providers have not done enough. We have essentially had a sort of regime that people indiscriminately put their content on the internet and expect it all to be delivered and so on.

10045 And I believe that the application providers bear more responsibility than they have in the past and that they should do a better job in design; they should pay more for the delivery, and so on. We have seen this in the broadcast industry where they have done much more to lower the cost to the end user.

10046 So I think that it’s not right and it’s not fair that it should be the sole responsibility of the broadband provider and then the cost goes on to the consumer. I think that the application providers also need to be a part of the equation.

10047 But the other thing I would say is -- and one of the challenges if you look at basic service policies around the world, you know, I have colleagues who study these in different countries but the focus is very much on the telephone network. But the way that we have been delivering connectivity has been through mobiles, where we haven’t had basic service requirements at all in many places.

10048 So the real question is, what is -- is the innovation, is it of the market forces that are allowing the competition and the dynamism prefers to serve the market needs, or is it the, you know, the regulatory policy that enforces it?

10049 Now I’m sure we can have a lot of discussion about that, but what I would say is that it’s not clear to me that the essential services the Canadians want -- need more than five megabytes. But I think that that’s a defendable level. If you look at other countries, in Denmark there’s only a one megabyte universal service requirement.

10050 So I think that that’s a defendable number. I don’t think that it needs to be higher than that, but it’s also an opportunity for the innovation to come from the application level.

10051 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: So in your view, even though you don’t necessarily think that the thing to focus on would be speed, but we need to consider in a very real sense some of these numbers, do you think five and one is something that would be adequate for a basic service for people?

10052 MS. LAYTON: I didn’t get the last part.

10053 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Do you think that five and one would be something that’s adequate for a basic service objective? The speed?

10054 MS. LAYTON: Yes.


10056 MS. LAYTON: Absolutely.

10057 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: What other dimensions of the network should go into our thinking? Quality of service, you mentioned jitter, you mentioned latency, packet loss I believe also came into your discussion in your paper. How -- what else do you think is important when we’re looking at that?

10058 MS. LAYTON: Well, what I would say, you know, I -- because I think -- and as your proceedings have demonstrated, there are very diverse group of different needs among the various communities. What I’m concerned about is too much constraint on the operators being able to deliver the requested prioritizations that the users want, the different levels of, you know -- and even what they left. With more internet things you will have many devices that won’t need to have, you know, that won’t need to have, you know, the -- their requirements are much less.

10059 So I would say this is very important to me is that the other -- the basic service should be very crisply circumscribed. And that only those things that we know today are essential should be part of it. Precisely because so many of the other services, we don’t know what the business case is, we don’t know if they’re going to be used, and we’re not even sure what kinds of dimensions will be necessary. I wish we all had a crystal ball and we knew in the future what that would be, but we don’t today.

10060 So I mean, I think you do have good evidence that there are a set of things that are extremely valuable for Canadians that should be accessible by all. But we don’t -- it’s very difficult to say what is important for internet and what for every deal and so on. I think that you should leave those things alone and let them evolve. And if it’s that time that it becomes important, then take it up.

10061 But it seems that what you could -- what is defendable and what would be the, you know, what is a modest and I would say a realistic way to deliver the same for all Canadians would be a five one.

10062 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: And do you think we should have other quality of service metrics that we should consider as well when it would come to our formal definition?

10063 MS. LAYTON: In that case I think that -- in that example I think maybe the better approach is to allow whatever the specific -- whatever the -- rather than generalize it around a feed, let’s say it’s a someone and they need a certain kind of package. The lesser operator sell that package with all of this associated requirements. And then regulate to that requirement for that package, not for everything across the board. And so that you can allow those offer to exist and it doesn’t -- so that what they, you know, the -- the problem is, you put everything in a bundle, it’s not allowing so that the video component will tend to overshadow the other things, that they don’t get the kind of service level they need.

10064 What I would say is to allow the various offers to take place and then regulate them as they’re disclosed. If you need to have, you know, a symmetrical prioritized service, this is the package to buy, I want these features, and then regulate from that contract, rather than impose something from the very beginning.

10065 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: So and that would be at the service level then? The network would be -- because you tend to be -- through your -- our discussion and also your paper you tend to divide those two things up into sort of the delivery and then the service level and the discretionary basic -- there seems to be different divisions that are going on there.

10066 So you think that that’s something that should be dealt with depending on what the needs of the user are in that community?

10067 MS. LAYTON: Absolutely. I think there should be more flexibility for the user to, you know, to get the specialized service that’s needed. And then that can be, you know, provided on that individual situation rather than to assume that one standard will take care of everything.

10068 I recognize the beauty of having one standard that fits it all, but in practice, I know that that doesn’t work, that there has to be more flexibility.

10069 Now granted, network for the future will become better and better at doing that. As we’re moving from 4G to 5G, we’re getting more flexibility. That will become easier on its own. So I don’t think that the regulatory requirement will do that better than the network dynamics in any case.

10070 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. I just have one or two shorter questions for you.

10071 In your research, have you been able to ascertain whether residential and small enterprises have similar needs in terms of quality of service or are there different needs? And in part I think you’ve addressed that.

10072 MS. LAYTON: Well, so the -- so looking at the example of Greenland, which I think is definitely a special case when you’ve got 55,000 people in this extremely remote environment. So there, I mean, I would say it’s a very out of the box way to solve the issues but it’s relevant for the people there. And this was something architected, you know, going back to 2008 and before.

10073 So if we truly understand the application design can take the form that it needs, are there -- are issues around the changing of devices and the configuration. If you just had assumed five -- you know, five megabytes service, it wouldn’t address the needs in case of Greenland because they have work stations that are set up with the spirometers and ECGs and what have you. So there’s a lot of things required on the device in that particular case.

10074 So that’s what I’m trying to say is depending upon the community and their particular needs, they may find a way to solve the problem accessibly and that just simply saying a speed number or a latency number may not address what they need.

10075 So there -- as I said again, the flexibility is important.

10076 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. So I have just one more comment that I’d like you to comment on. And of course, I can’t leave you without going back to the beginning of where we started where I suggested that perhaps the technology itself is the social commitment that we’re making.

10077 Throughout your paper and your submission, a few times, you know, I certainly picked up that you seem to suggest that the technology is sort of taking over. It’s sometimes being putting the cart before the horse or any other -- of these other clichés.

10078 So I’d like to just hear your comment on one thing. And of course, you’ll recognize who this is too. I’m wondering, has the servant become the master?

10079 MS. LAYTON: Well, I mean, what we could -- I hope maybe we could have another chance to talk because we have a number of classes on social constructions of technology and, you know, the various philosophers and how -- I mean, what I would say is I can find examples of every one of these different interpretations of is technology in charge and who’s not in charge and so on.

10080 And so I would say, you know, all of these things going on at the same time, the -- I would say what does it mean for regulators? I think the important thing for regulators is because you have such an important role, there’s a tendency I think to overthink the role and say oh, we must do everything in the most magnificent, beautiful way, as opposed to doing something at a modest level that is justified by the technical requirements, that’s justified by what the needs and evidence say.

10081 It may not be, you know, the headline in the New York Times, but it’s meaningful for what, you know, for the everyday user. And so I submit that that is a far more noble and important way to deliver the regulatory and social commitment. Not by, you know, reinventing the internet but by, you know, ensuring that the basic needs are addressed for all Canadians.

10082 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Well, those are all my questions and comments and it was nice talking with you this morning.

10083 MS. LAYTON: Same here. Thank you.


10085 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Dr. Layton. Those are our questions and thanks again for having participated in the hearing. And as you know, there’s a further -- at least one further phase in the proceeding so you might want to participate in that as well. Thank you.

10086 MS. LAYTON: Thank you.

10087 THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.

10088 Madame la secrétaire?

10089 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Je demanderais maintenant au maire de Saint-André-d’Argenteuil de s’approcher.

10090 S'il vous plaît vous présenter et présenter votre collègue, et vous avez 10 minutes.


10091 LE PRÉSIDENT: Bienvenue, mais faut pousser le petit bouton aussi pour qu’on puisse bien vous entendre. Merci.

10092 M. JETTÉ: Excellent. Alors, bonjour, Mesdames et Messieurs les commissaires. Je suis André Jetté. Je suis maire de Saint-André-d'Argenteuil. J’ai à mes côtés monsieur Marc Bertrand, conseiller du district 5 de Saint-André-d'Argenteuil aussi.

10093 J’aimerais pour commencer vous remercier de nous recevoir, nous entendre, nous écouter. J’aimerais aussi me présenter.

10094 Je suis maire de Saint-André-d'Argenteuil depuis 2009, réélu en 2013. Je suis un spécialiste -- à l’origine, je suis un spécialiste en matériaux composites de chez Bell Hélicoptères. J’ai aussi fabriqué une petite PME chez moi et, comme je disais, je suis maire de Saint-André depuis 2009 et 2013.

10095 On représente -- je représente et Monsieur Bertrand aussi représente 3,300 citoyens, petite municipalité. Donc je passe la parole à Monsieur Bertrand s’il veut se présenter à son tour.

10096 M. BERTRAND: Bonjour. Vous m’entendez, oui? Oui, c’est beau.

10097 Donc je suis Marc Bertrand. Je suis conseiller depuis à peine six mois. J’ai été à Postes Canada pendant 35 ans, le responsable des services de sécurité pour le Québec.

10098 Je demeure à Saint-André ça fait 28 ans maintenant dans un secteur agricole. Donc les gens que je représente moi c'est surtout au niveau agriculture, des fermes assez importantes maintenant aujourd’hui. Donc c'est à ce niveau-là plus précisément que je vais parler un petit peu plus tard là des problèmes qu’on a avec internet.

10099 M. JETTÉ: Donc j’aimerais vous apporter à la première page. J'aimerais vous démontrer géographiquement où est situé Saint-André-d'Argenteuil.

10100 Si vous regardez comme il faut, on est à 50 kilomètres de Montréal, 30 kilomètres de Saint-Jérôme, 110 kilomètres d’Ottawa. C'est à quelques kilomètres aussi de l’aéroport de Mirabel.

10101 C'est principalement le but de notre présentation aujourd’hui, la localisation, la desserte de câblodistribution, et ainsi que la desserte de l’internet.

10102 Comme je disais tantôt, on a une population de 3,300 citoyens. C’est constitué de deux milieux urbains, de Saint-André-Est et de Carillon. Je pense que peut-être plusieurs parmi d’entre vous connaissent Carillon, le barrage de Carillon hydroélectrique. C'est la localité de Saint-André-d'Argenteuil.

10103 On a 73 pour cent de notre territoire qui est en milieu agricole. On a deux zones industrielles. On a un musée, barrage hydroélectrique, l’écluse -- la deuxième plus haute écluse au Canada, l’école primaire, CPE. C'est un lieu de villégiature qui fonctionne aussi beaucoup avec le touriste.

10104 Je sais pas si vous avez eu connaissance, la Maison Mélaric dernièrement qu’on a entendu parler dans les journaux et tout ça, c'est situé à Saint-André.

10105 Y a une compagnie aussi FRE qui a fabriqué le bras canadien qui est sur la station spatiale qui est à Saint-André-d'Argenteuil.

10106 C'est un lieu historique puis c'est la place où la bataille de Dollard des Ormeaux s’est faite. C'est aussi le lieu de naissance du premier Premier ministre né au Canada, monsieur John Abbott. C'est aussi la place où la première femme médecin du Canada -- au Canada, madame Maude Abbott, ont grandi. Ils sont nés à Saint-André-d'Argenteuil qui dans ce temps-là se nommait Saint-André-Est.

10107 Donc comme je disais, je suis ici pour deux raisons: la télévision et l’internet haute vitesse.

10108 Je vais commencer par la télévision. Les câblodistributeurs et satellites, on est desservi par Rogers, Bell, Xplornet, etcetera, tous sauf Vidéotron.

10109 J’ai fait une vérification en 2010 chez Vidéotron pourquoi ils ne desservaient pas Saint-André-d'Argenteuil. Selon l’information que j’ai eue en 2010-2011, ce serait un territoire protégé par Rogers dont Vidéotron ne peut se prévaloir à cause d’ententes entre les deux distributeurs.

10110 Je mentionne aussi qu’on pourrait -- on pourrait quasiment dire que c'est proche d'un monopole ou du moins un monopole qui semble être déguisé pour notre petite municipalité.

10111 Vidéotron dessert les villes limitrophes, jusqu’aux limites de Saint-André-d'Argenteuil. Du côté est, toujours si je me réfère à la mappe, la deuxième mappe, Saint-Placide. Saint-Placide est desservi par Vidéotron complètement à l'est. Du coté nord-est, Mirabel. La ville de Mirabel, l’aéroport de Mirabel sont tous desservis par Vidéotron aussi. Côté nord-ouest, la ville de Lachute desservie aussi par Vidéotron à l’exception de Saint-André-d'Argenteuil qui n'est pas desservi par Vidéotron.

10112 Les exemples de désavantages, un des principals désavantages c'est la TV communautaire, TVC d’Argenteuil. C'est une télé communautaire qui traite des sujets locaux qui ne sont pas distribués à Saint-André, qui sont pas -- on n’est pas au courant de ce qui se fait parce que c'est un -- c'est une branche de Vidéotron qui appartient à Vidéotron et qui n'est pas diffusée par les autres diffuseurs.

10113 On a la TV d’Argenteuil disponible sur internet mais je vais continuer ma présentation sur l’internet.

10114 Donc l’internet haute vitesse. Plusieurs distributeurs ne se rendent pas à Saint-André-d'Argenteuil à cause de notre situation géographique. Le service est limité par le filage actuel desservi par les grands de la télécommunication. Le besoin est très présent pour les nombreux agriculteurs qui utilisent actuellement des systèmes automatisés pour la traite dans leur ferme laitière et qui demandent de plus en plus des communications internet haute vitesse efficaces avec leurs fournisseurs.

10115 Posséder l’internet haute vitesse en terre agricole à Saint-André-d'Argenteuil, il en coûte plusieurs centaines de dollars par mois, incluant une fiabilité très douteuse. Cela est contreproductif avec le résultat que nos agriculteurs sont limités s’ils sont comparés avec d’autres, avec les autres qui sont en compétition commerciale directe avec eux.

10116 Un agriculteur de Saint-André-d'Argenteuil qui partage les limites de terre avec ses voisins, comme j’ai expliqué tantôt, soit ceux de Lachute, Mirabel et Saint-Placide, doit débourser plusieurs milliers de dollars parce qu’il possède une adresse à Saint-André-d'Argenteuil.

10117 Peut-être, Monsieur Bertrand, vous pouvez nous expliquer vos expériences, Monsieur Bertrand qui reste en milieu agricole.

10118 M. BERTRAND: Oui. Je reste en milieu agricole puis je suis à la limite est de la municipalité. Donc à peine un kilomètre de chez moi, l’internet haute vitesse est disponible à un coût très, très raisonnable. Le voisin au coin de la rue par Vidéotron ça leur coûte je pense 79$ par mois pour la télé, le téléphone et l’internet haute vitesse, une très bonne haute vitesse-là, fiable, ce qu’on n’a pas à un kilomètre de là.

10119 C'est incroyable de penser ça aujourd’hui que là où on est, on n’est pas entre les montagnes dans le grand nord-là. On est à peine à 15 minutes de Laval, 20 minutes de Laval, à une demi-heure de Montréal. Donc c'est impensable aujourd’hui là de voir ça.

10120 Puis je pense que c'est -- comme Monsieur Jetté le disait, c'est probablement entre les fournisseurs, les distributeurs qu’il y a des secteurs où ils sont entendus où on peut pas avoir le service. Ou, en tout cas, je comprends que s’ils développent une rue d’un demi kilomètre où il y a 200 maisons c'est payant, mais nous sur sept kilomètres, il peut avoir peut-être 25 maisons-là. C'est moins payant. Donc je pense qu’il devrait avoir une obligation de leur part de desservir toute la population quand on est quand même assez près des grands centres-là comme ça.

10121 M. JETTÉ: Merci. Un peu comme le notait Monsieur Bertrand, c'est un des problèmes importants qu’on a chez nous. Ça ne permet pas à nos citoyens corporatifs d’être compétitifs.

10122 C'est la même chose pour les citoyens qui sont dans les milieux urbains. Y a deux milieux urbains, soit celui de Saint-André-Est et celui de Carillon. C'est la même chose pour eux autres. Les commerçants, notre école publique, les CPE, tout fonctionne avec l’internet et l’internet dont on dispose n’est pas à jour, mais vraiment pas.

10123 Comme je le mentionne, le citoyen qui demeure en milieu urbain à Saint-André-d'Argenteuil peut posséder une connexion haute vitesse qui date d’environ cinq ans de 3 à 5 mégaoctets par seconde, mais celle-ci ne se compare en rien avec les hautes vitesses actuelles qui se situent entre 10 à 20 mégaoctets seconde.

10124 Cela représente -- cela restreint nos commerçants en milieux urbains, mais ils sont eux aussi désavantagés, si comparé à nos voisins des autres municipalités mentionnées précédemment.

10125 En résumé, nous sommes en 2016, la câblodistribution et l’internet haute vitesse devrait être disponible en périphérie des grands centres, comme Montréal, dans un rayon de 100 km autour de ceux-ci.

10126 Selon moi aucune raison ne justifie que Saint-André-d‘Argenteuil soit pénalisé par un semblant de monopole, par la distance ou par la situation géographique de son territoire.

10127 La technologie est disponible en 2016 pour distribuer efficacement les communautés comme la nôtre dans un rayon de moins de 100 km de Montréal. La seule limitation qui nous pénalise est l'intervention humaine.

10128 Pourquoi Vidéotron se permet de respecter des ententes commerciales entre d’autres distributeurs tandis qu’il pénalise plusieurs citoyens, commerçants et agriculteurs qui sont eux aussi en compétition commercial.

10129 Faut-il revoir qui est le plus pénalisé; les grandes entreprises ou nos commerçants et agriculteurs locaux de Saint-André-d‘Argenteuil.

10130 Tantôt j’écoutais parce que j’entendais « need compared to a wish ». Bien not even one of the other, it’s a requirements for us.

10131 Je pense que le rôle de cette commission du CRTC devrait exiger que des inégalités existantes comme celle-ci soient éliminées.

10132 J’aimerais vous remercier de nous avoir écoutés, nous avoir reçus et de nous permettre de nous exprimer.

10133 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci bien pour votre présentation, Monsieur le maire, Monsieur le conseiller.

10134 En préambule je vais vous dire que on -- vous pouvez tenir pour acquis qu’on a déjà constaté que le besoin est évitable et puis on vous entend sur ce côté-là.

10135 Et le bût de notre audience maintenant c’est de se focaliser sur comment trouver des solutions pour les situations comme dans votre territoire, pour paner aux lacunes.

10136 Nous allons entendre Vidéotron plus tard dans l’audience, donc je ne suis pas au courant de l’entente qu’il y aurait ou qu’il n’y aurait pas entre eux et puis Vidéotron, donc on aura la chance de leur poser la question à ce moment-là, donc je ne peux pas faire de commentaire ou poser des questions sur ça.

10137 J’imagine que vous vous n’avez pas une copie de cette entente?

10138 M. JETTÉ: J’ai absolument rien d’écrit.

10139 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.

10140 M. JETTÉ: Ça été seulement une rencontre qui s’est tenue à Montréal en 2010-2011.

10141 Je suis allez voir Vidéotron pour leur demander pourquoi. J’ai fait un peu de représentation avec un des -- un de nos citoyens qui s’appelle Monsieur Gilbert Auzon(phon.), qui a des -- quelques connaissances avec Vidéotron, donc -- mais sans résultats obtenus.

10142 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci -- oui.

10143 M. JETTÉ: Vidéotron aussi possède une tour de télécommunication sur -- à Saint-André-d‘Argenteuil, qui dessert le téléphone cellulaire, mais ne dessert pas la câblodistribution.

10144 LE PRÉSIDENT: D’accord.

10145 Et juste pour être clair, quand vous demandez meilleur connectivité on parle du côté filaire?

10146 M. JETTÉ: Ça -- oui, exactement côté filaire.

10147 LE PRÉSIDENT: Parce que si il y a une tour de Vidéotron il y aurait quand même une certaine connectivité, mais je crois que vous -- bien peut-être est-ce que vous trouvez que le sans-fil mobile fourni le genre de connectivité que les citoyens puis les gens d’affaire recherche dans votre communauté?

10148 M. JETTÉ: J’ai utilisé les deux. J’ai utilisé un service TELUS et l’an passé j’ai utilisé Vidéotron.

10149 Les problèmes qu’on avait au départ, TELUS et Bell Canada dans le temps, à l’école ça ne fonctionnait pas. Je parle d’il y a quatre, cinq ans.

10150 À la maison il fallait être placé face au soleil, derrière la lune et en tout cas c’était important d’être bien positionné pour pouvoir avoir une réception.

10151 Tous ces problèmes -- ces problèmes là ce sont réglés à travers le temps. Je suis passé à Vidéotron. J’ai reconnu un peu des problèmes semblables à ça, qui parfois ne fonctionnaient pas sur le chemin à telle place, proche du parc, proche de l’hôtel-de-ville, proche de l’école.

10152 Donc je suis revenu à TELUS qui eux autres le problème n’est plus présent.

10153 LE PRÉSIDENT: O.k.

10154 M. JETTÉ: Donc le service ---

10155 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais le mobile vous -- est-ce que le mobile vous fournis une solution à votre avis, fiable?

10156 M. JETTÉ: Pas du tout, pas du tout.

10157 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, donc c’est pour ça qu’on regarde dans votre -- si je comprends bien votre position, c’est plus une solution filaire.

10158 M. JETTÉ: Exacte, exacte.

10159 Je ne suis pas sûr si le -- Bell a peut-être même déjà passé le fil -- l’optique, la fibre optique. Je pense que c’est déjà passé. C’est juste une question d’utilisation ou de connexion ou -- mais je pense c’est déjà passé dans le village.

10160 LE PRÉSIDENT: On a mis une carte en ligne qui démontre le déploiement de -- des diverses solutions de large bande.

10161 M. JETTÉ: M’hm.

10162 LE PRÉSIDENT: Peut-être vous pourriez le consulter pour voir quelle est la situation exacte dans votre communauté.

10163 M. JETTÉ: O.k.

10164 LE PRÉSIDENT: Après votre comparution ce matin, mais je comprends votre frustration parce que ce qui est arrivé, il semble que pour bien des places au Canada, lorsqu’il y avait un plan d’affaire qui était logique et commerciale il y a eu un déploiement.

10165 Puis là on est rendu au point, puis on peut avoir un débat sur combien de place sont encore mal desservies, mais on constate qu’il y a des endroits qui sont mal desservis et on tente de voir comment on peut palier à l’écart de gens et d’entreprises qui sont mal desservies.

10166 Il y a plusieurs solutions, puis je voulais vous entendre et savoir si vous avez exploré certains de ces solutions-là.

10167 Premièrement, oui je comprends que vous -- le service mobile ne -- à votre avis ne rencontre pas vos besoins. Il y a des compagnies comme -- tel que Xplornet qui offrent des services.

10168 Qu’est-ce que vos commettants vous disent de ce service-là? Est-ce que c’est une solution qui est intéressante ou non pour atteindre les objectifs auxquels vous faites mention?

10169 M. JETTÉ: Vous parlez de connectivité internet actuellement?

10170 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.

10171 M. JETTÉ: Donc ---

10172 LE PRÉSIDENT: Bien l’audience est à – je sais que vous avez mentionné la câblodistribution mais --

10173 M. JETTÉ: M’hm.

10174 LE PRÉSIDENT: -- l’instance porte vraiment --

10175 M. JETTÉ: Plus sur l’internet.

10176 LE PRÉSIDENT: -- sur les télécommunications.

10177 M. JETTÉ: O.k.

10178 LE PRÉSIDENT: Bon évidemment lorsqu’on a des câbles -- connexions câblées.

10179 M. JETTÉ: M’hm.

10180 LE PRÉSIDENT: Comme Vidéotron ou Rogers, évidemment le service internet peut être livré aussi, donc il y a un chevauchement.

10181 C’est moins le cas pour la télévision satellitaire de Shaw ou de Bell, mais l’instance porte sur les télécommunications, donc mes questions vont porter sur les télécommunications.

10182 M. JETTÉ: Excellent, excellent.

10183 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.

10184 M. JETTÉ: Il y a des secteurs chez nous, c’est sûr que dans le -- les milieux -- le milieu urbain de Saint-André Est, qui est vraiment la place plus central, le Centreville --

10185 LE PRÉSIDENT: M’hm.

10186 M. JETTÉ: -- oui c’est très bien desservi.

10187 À partir du moment ou est-ce qu’on se déplace vers les terres ou vers l’Île-aux-chats, par exemple, un petit secteur très touristique, très, très beau, là les services ne sont plus du tous les mêmes.

10188 On parle d’un service qui date de 10 ans là. Je vous jure c’est vraiment -- c’est archaïque à des places.

10189 LE PRÉSIDENT: D’accord. Mais Xplornet offre ---

10190 M. JETTÉ: La même chose avec Xplornet.

10191 LE PRÉSIDENT: Vous trouvez que -- parce que -- ils offrent un service qui donne accès, un service de large bande.

10192 M. JETTÉ: M’hm.

10193 LE PRÉSIDENT: Est-ce que vous êtes au courant de -- des résidents ou des entreprises dans votre secteur qui utilisent les services d’Xplornet.

10194 M. JETTÉ: Pas personnellement. J’ai -- je siège aussi -- un maire siège aussi au Conseil des maires de la MRC d’Argenteuil.

10195 On a été une des MRCs les plus agressives, si je pourrais utiliser ce mot-là, pour essayer d’avoir l’internet à haute vitesse. Pas seulement pour Saint-André mais pour tout la région d’Argenteuil au complet.

10196 Trois subventions ont été promises, deux par le Parti Libéral, une par le Parti Québécois. Il n’y a jamais eu de subventions données, des subventions de 600 million, 500 million, pour essayer de développer des systèmes importants chez nous et ça n’a jamais donné naissance à quelque chose.

10197 LE PRÉSIDENT: Ça c’est en vertu du programme Québécois, je pense les villes et villages ---

10198 M. JETTÉ: Villes et villages branchés, ces choses-là dans -- de ce temps-là. Même ---

10199 LE PRÉSIDENT: Vous aviez fait des demandes?

10200 M. JETTÉ: Oui. Il y a un monsieur qui s’est occupé -- qui travaille à l’MRC qui vraiment travaillait pour développer la connectivité chez nous, internet, dans les régions plus au nord.

10201 Je parle de Harrington, je parle de Wentworth, Mille-Isles, n’incluant pas Saint-André-d‘Argenteuil, parce que dans -- bien oui par la -- par ricochet, mais ce que je veux dire c’est les gens, Saint-André-d‘Argenteuil c’est reconnu comme étant couvert.

10202 Couvert ça veut dire que tu peux avoir un service. T’as pas le service d’aujourd’hui, mais t’as le service d’il y a 10 ans environ.

10203 Oui, c’est couvert, oui, ça fonctionne ---

10204 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et donc c’était pour ça que les subventions avaient été refusées?

10205 M. JETTÉ: Non, non, non, non, non, ça toujours été des promesses électorales ---

10206 LE PRÉSIDENT: Ah bon.

10207 M. JETTÉ: --- qui ont jamais été réalisées.

10208 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc c'est plutôt au niveau -- donc vous aviez -- est-ce que vous aviez fait des demandes?

10209 M. JETTÉ: Tout à fait, tout -- pas la municipalité, mais la MRC d’Argenteuil ---

10210 LE PRÉSIDENT: La MRC avait fait des demandes?

10211 M. JETTÉ: À trois reprises, même au mois de mars encore y a eu des représentations au Gouvernement du Québec toujours pour le même dossier dans Argenteuil, le dossier d’internet haute vitesse.

10212 LE PRÉSIDENT: Puis vous avez pas reçu de retour de courrier?

10213 M. JETTÉ: Pas de quatrième promesse encore, on a pas rien reçu encore.

10214 LE PRÉSIDENT: Pas encore. Mais à votre avis votre demande est complète par rapport à cette demande-là en vertu du régime provincial?

10215 M. JETTÉ: Exact, tout à fait, tout à fait. Et y a plusieurs, plusieurs démarches qui ont été faites, c'est très bien documenté chez nous. J’ai pas la -- moi la -- je peux me procurer la documentation, j'étais ici principalement pour la Municipalité de ---

10216 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.

10217 M. JETTÉ: --- Saint-André-d'Argenteuil.

10218 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais je comprends bien ce que vous me dites même en vertu de ça, même si vous aviez un succès avec cette subvention-là, ça ne couvre pas l’étendue du problème?

10219 M. JETTÉ: Pas chez nous, pas à Saint-André-d'Argenteuil.

10220 LE PRÉSIDENT: O.k. Parce qu’on présume que vous êtes desservis?

10221 M. JETTÉ: Exact.

10222 LE PRÉSIDENT: Est-ce que vous avez eu la chance de prendre connaissance du programme fédéral « Un Canada branché », qui crée un mécanisme de subvention semblable à celui au Québec pour assurer le déploiement à des normes plus comme cinq et un ---

10223 M. JETTÉ: M'hm.

10224 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- pour -- pour les communautés mal desservies?

10225 M. JETTÉ: On a -- pas personnellement la municipalité parce que comme vous pouvez comprendre, une municipalité de 300 -- 3,300 personnes j’ai pas personne en télécommunication mis à part le maire qui s’en occupe. La télécommunication ça été la MRC qui s’en est occupée. Je présume que oui, on fait plusieurs recherches dans ce sens-là, de vérifier tous les programmes disponibles autant au fédéral qu’au provincial.

10226 LE PRÉSIDENT: D'accord.

10227 M. JETTÉ: Mais c'est une présom -- tsé, je présume là, je peux pas vous affirmer ---

10228 LE PRÉSIDENT: D'accord.

10229 M. JETTÉ: --- que ---

10230 LE PRÉSIDENT: Écoutez là, c'est pas une critique là, c’est ---

10231 M. JETTÉ: Non, non, non.

10232 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- on ---

10233 M. JETTÉ: Je comprends.

10234 LE PRÉSIDENT: J’ai dit plus tôt cette semaine qu’on va vouloir regarder vers une stratégie d’ensemble pour le Canada, et puis j’ai constaté qu’effectivement souvent dans les petites municipalités y a un manque de capacités et de ressources ---

10235 M. JETTÉ: Tout à fait.

10236 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- pour traiter, c'est pas une critique c'est une réalité.

10237 M. JETTÉ: Tout à fait.

10238 LE PRÉSIDENT: Même au niveau des fédérations des municipalités ---

10239 M. JETTÉ: M'hm.

10240 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- c'est fort complexe pour ces regroupements-là, et donc ---

10241 M. JETTÉ: Un des problèmes qui a été reconnu c'est l’évolution de la technologie. Exemple, les tours sont installées pour desservir le nord de la MRC exemple, ben le temps pratiquement d’installer les tours la technologie a évoluée de -- dans deux, trois ans là ça tout changé, c'est passé date.

10242 Bon, fait que -- on a même discuté d’offrir un service nous-même à la MRC, internet comme plusieurs MRC le font comme dans Gaspésie pis ces choses-là, y vont avoir un service eux autres mêmes d’internet qui vont desservir leur population. Pourquoi on a pas été là c'est exprès pour ça, c'est à cause -- tu peux investir pis investir, c'est quasiment sans limites de mises de fonds parce que y faut toujours renouveler et passer à la nouvelle technologie dans les -- dans les cinq ans. Donc c'est pour ça qu’on a pas été investir dans cette idée-là.

10243 LE PRÉSIDENT: D'accord. J’ai mentionné que le Conseil va peut-être vouloir se pencher sur la nécessité d’une stratégie pour l'avenir de la large bande. Pis lorsqu’on parle d’une stratégie on fait ça en six étapes normalement ---

10244 M. JETTÉ: O.k.

10245 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- quand on fait de la stratégie en politique publique. On commence par faire un constat de la situation ---

10246 M. JETTÉ: M'hm.

10247 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- les faiblesses, les forces, les risques, les opportunités. Et donc vous nous avez déjà fait part de -- y a des forces dans votre communauté, mais y a une faiblesse par rapport à la connectivité. La deuxième étape c'est d’établir des objectifs que nous voulons atteindre ---

10248 M. JETTÉ: O.k.

10249 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- comme pays par rapport aux résultats en termes de connectivité. La troisième étape c'est une analyse de l’écart entre l'étape 1 ---

10250 M. JETTÉ: M'hm.

10251 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- la contestation de l’état actuel et l’état voulu, le « end state » ---

10252 M. JETTÉ: M'hm.

10253 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- comme on dit parfois. Basé sur cet écart-là, on fait ensuite une évaluation de plan d’action qui pourrait être des actions du CRTC parce qu’on a une part du -- des solutions, mais on est pas les seuls.

10254 M. JETTÉ: M'hm.

10255 LE PRÉSIDENT: ¬Y a des gouvernements, y a les citoyens, y a les municipalités, y a des institutions, y a des leaders dans la société et y a l’entreprise privée. Mais y pourrait avoir un plan d’action assez -- avec plusieurs tranches. Et une fois qu’on commence à mettre un plan comme ça en marche, faut faire l’évaluation du progrès périodiquement pour s’assurer que le plan d’action continue d’aller vers les objectifs voulus ---

10256 M. JETTÉ: M'hm.

10257 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- et peut-être qu’y a un ajustement du tir qu’on doit faire dans ce contexte-là et qui est donc la sixième étape, le rajustement là des -- du plan d’action pour atteindre les objectifs. Bon, théorie assez -- assez -- c'est assez commun de voir les enjeux de politique publique sous ces angles-là.

10258 Puis je sais que vous avez peut-être pas réfléchi aux problèmes du Canada dans son ensemble, mais vous avez parlé du constat de la situation actuelle dans votre localité, je me demandais si vous aviez des recommandations à nous faire par rapport aux objectifs que nous devrions atteindre avec une stratégie globale?

10259 M. JETTÉ: Ben, moi je suis convaincu que aujourd'hui en 2016 ça devrait être disponible à travers le Canada, mais à travers toutes les populations du Canada. Je sais pas si on a les moyens de ça par exemple, ça je suis peut-être pas convaincu, par contre les technologies évoluent. Je pense que c'est possible de rejoindre à peu près tout le monde sur la planète, on est un pays quand même assez riche. Je pense que -- pis c'est important, c'est important parce que c'est une porte ouverte sur le monde au complet. C'est prouvé à travers les grandes villes, les populations qui sont en effervescence qui utilisent l’internet où à des places où il était interdit de l’utiliser, de filmer ou des choses comme ça, le Canada est un pays libre et qu’on peut -- donc on peut s’exprimer et j’entendais Facebook tantôt, mais tsé, ça peut être de différentes façons.

10260 LE PRÉSIDENT: M'hm.

10261 M. JETTÉ: Donc oui, je trouve très important que ce soit distribué à travers le Canada pis partout au Canada, partout au Canada.

10262 LE PRÉSIDENT: Pis à votre avis, sur le plan temporel, on devrait faire ça comment vite?

10263 M. JETTÉ: Le plus tôt possible, le plus tôt possible je pense. C'est sûr que ça moins d’impact que les pipelines ou tsé des grands enjeux énergétiques ou les GES ---

10264 LE PRÉSIDENT: Pourquoi vous dites ça?

10265 M. JETTÉ: Ben je pense que si on peut rejoindre tout le monde de façon à -- ben ce que je veux dire c'est que ça -- c'est pas tout le monde qui sont -- qui vont avoir les yeux rivés sur le CRTC pour savoir si y vont venir à bout de distribuer à travers le Canada au complet l’internet. Je pense que les gens vont plus se préoccuper des gaz à effet de serre et du pipeline de -- TransCanada pipeline qui tsé -- bon, je c'est une préoccupation plus comme ça. Pis j’enlève rien de crédit au CRTC ou j’enlève rien au crédit non plus, tsé je fais juste penser à l’opinion publique.

10266 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, on a quand même au-delà de 30,000 personnes qui ont rempli un ---

10267 M. JETTÉ: Oui.

10268 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- formulaire en ligne et au-delà de 22,000-23,000 personnes qui avaient déposé des -- c'est pas petit.

10269 M. JETTÉ: Ben je suis -- ben moi je suis dans -- j’ai pas pris connaissance de ces chiffres là, mais je suis très heureux que ça soit fait.

10270 LE PRÉSIDENT: M'hm.

10271 M. JETTÉ: Moi je trouve ça tellement important et j’aimerais moi comme dans ma communauté, je le suggère à mon conseil. Nous on devrait filmer nos séances et les produire à notre -- sur notre site internet pis les montrer à nos citoyens qui ne peuvent pas être présents parce que y ont deux, trois enfants parce que -- pis si on a pas l’internet disponible -- je pense juste à mon conseiller à côté, moi je reçois des documents à la maison de deux, trois megs de grosseur et mon conseiller me dit, « Je peux pas les recevoir chez moi ça là là, je vais en avoir pour 25 à 30 minutes à downloader. »

10272 LE PRÉSIDENT: M'hm.

10273 M. JETTÉ: Y a une grosse lacune, y a une grosse lacune. Pourquoi on est ici principalement c'est la situation géographique à laquelle je veux vous apporter. Tsé on est pas au Nunavut ou on est pas ailleurs là, on est à 50 kilomètres de Montréal pis on est mal desservi. Moi ça me dépasse, sérieusement ça me dépasse. Tsé je pourrais dire ---

10274 LE PRÉSIDENT: Ça dépasse vos collègues à Prévost aussi.

10275 M. JETTÉ: Pardon?

10276 LE PRÉSIDENT: Ça dépasse vos collègues à Prévost qui ont comparu la semaine passée aussi.

10277 M. JETTÉ: Ah oui?

10278 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.

10279 M. JETTÉ: O.k., y ont le même problème?

10280 LE PRÉSIDENT: Cinquante (50) kilomètres de Montréal, oui.

10281 M. JETTÉ: Le maire était ici?

10282 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.

10283 M. JETTÉ: Ah, o.k., un monsieur je connais bien. Donc -- ben effectivement, tsé des choses comme ça je trouve ça l’a -- on est pas -- on est tout près de Montréal, on est tout près des centres. Saint-André-d'Argenteuil c'est une municipalité historique qui s’est passé plein de choses qu’on ne devrait pas négliger, selon moi je trouve que c’est un petit peu négligé.

10284 J’ai des cultivateurs qui sont là qui utilisent, comme je disais tantôt, des technologies d’aujourd’hui là.

10285 Et puis ils ne peuvent pas communiquer ou ils ne peuvent pas downloader un document de plusieurs mégabits, mégaoctets, parce qu’il y en a pour une demi-heure, trois-quarts d’heure-là ou parce que il a excédé sa capacité pendant le mois et il devra attendre au 1ier du mois prochain pour ne pas excéder sa capacité et payer des frais de 2-300$ si il veut avoir la documentation là.

10286 Vous comprenez? C’est tellement pratique aujourd’hui que moi je suis complètement d’accord à dire oui, puis ça presse que ce soit à travers le Canada au complet, le coût va être assez énorme mais ---

10287 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je vais revenir au coût dans un moment, mais nous avons entendu -- je ne sais pas si vous avez un point de vue sur ça, que on devrait surtout pour -- dans le domaine d’agriculture, ne pas se concentrer uniquement sur la vitesse de téléchargement, mais aussi regarder la vitesse de téléversement, parce que les entreprises ont peut-être besoin de plus de capacité.

10288 Est-ce que vous avez un point de vue sur ça?

10289 M. JETTÉ: Pas personnellement. Je ne sais pas si Monsieur Bertrand -- oui?

10290 M. BERTRAND: Je peux en parler un petit peu.

10291 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, je vous en prie.

10292 M. BERTRAND: J’ai un exemple, actuellement il y a une ferme qui sont en train de bâtir une nouvelle étable pour la traite des vaches et c’est un nouveau système robotisé qui vient d’Allemagne, donc la compagnie vient l’installer et tout ça.

10293 Et évidemment ils ont besoin d’un lien haute vitesse pour ça et puis, comme vous dites, ce n’est pas juste du download, c’est du upload aussi.

10294 Parce que de là-bas ils ont les configurations à faire sur ces équipements-là, puis ça part de l’Allemagne.

10295 Donc c’est important pour eux d’être capable de mettre au point cette installation-là qui va coûter plusieurs millions-là.

10296 Tu sais c’est -- on ne parle plus de petite fermettes comme à l’époque-là. C’est des grosses fermes. C’est méga ---

10297 LE PRÉSIDENT: C’est des entreprises.

10298 M. BERTRAND: Voilà. Absolument. Les industries mêmes-là, bon.

10299 Fait que c’est -- je pense qu’à ce niveau-là aussitôt qu’on sort des centres urbains on s’en va un petit peu -- à l’extérieur, il y a des méga-fermes comme ça, puis qu’on n’a pas -- si ils se permettent d’avoir la haute vitesse fiable-là bien ça va coûter une fortune.

10300 Moi-même chez moi ça me coûtait prêt de 400$ par mois un moment donné avec un module cellulaire avec Bell, tu sais?

10301 Puis je ne suis pas quelqu’un qui a une grosse, grosse utilisation de ça là. Aussitôt qu’on dépasse des capacités là c’est très, très coûteux. Fait que c’est de ce côté-là que pour les fermes-là c’est important d’avoir ce lien là.

10302 LE PRÉSIDENT: Pour remplir l’écart entre l’état voulu et la situation actuel, vous avez mentionné que ça va coûter des sous.

10303 Vous êtes des gens qui sont élus, donc proches de la population.

10304 M. JETTÉ: M’hm.

10305 LE PRÉSIDENT: Que ça vienne d’un programme provincial, ou d’un programme fédéral, ou même des sommes investies par la municipalité, ou encore par des contributions de la part des compagnies téléphones qui vont refiler ça -- c’est le cas de le dire, refiler ça à leur -- à leur abonnés, en bout de ligne il y a rien qu’une personne qui paye; soit l’abonné ou le citoyen en tant que contribuable.

10306 M. JETTÉ: M’hm.

10307 LE PRÉSIDENT: À votre avis, quel est l’ouverture, parce que vous êtes proche du terrain, de votre population de contribuer d’une façon quelconque à améliorer la situation qui pourrait coûter plus globalement, mais peut-être moins lorsqu’on y songe, répartie par des individus qui chacun met de l’argent dans le but national d’étendre l’internet partout?

10308 M. JETTÉ: Je comprends. Je comprends votre principe, puis moi aussi j’ai le même principe.

10309 Quand on demande une subvention en municipalité de -- on en a reçu une dernièrement pour une patinoire extérieure.

10310 La façon que je vois une subvention moi, c’est l’argent qu’on a reçu du Québec on l’a payé en taxe-là.

10311 À quelque part, c’est juste qu’il est réparti sur 8 million de population au lieu de 3,300 personnes à Saint-André-d’Argenteuil, à quelque part on paye pour pareil.

10312 La même chose si c’est une subvention du fédéral c’est répartie sur 35 million de personnes. Donc oui je suis d’accord à dire oui c’est le même -- la même personne qui va payer pour.

10313 Par contre, il faudrait que ce soit égal à tous. Ce que je veux dire par là c’est que je compare le citoyen de Mirabel, qui va payer 80$ par mois pour un service internet haute vitesse. Je compare mon citoyen de Saint-André-d’Argenteuil que ça va lui coûter 400$ par mois pour le même service.

10314 Quand on parle des fournisseurs de services, si on paie tous le même pris j’ai aucun problème avec ça. On paiera tous le même prix. Ça serait excellent. À partir du moment c’est une inégalité comme celle-là là je ne suis pas d’accord.

10315 Si on a à investir beaucoup de sous du Gouvernement Fédéral là-dedans, oui je -- moi je suis partant avec l’idée, puis qu’on oblige ces gens-là à -- dans un même territoire ou à 10 kilomètres de ronds que bon regarde il faut que tu desserts la même qualité à la même vitesse, au même prix, c’est le bût important de ça, je trouve.

10316 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc vous pensez que dans la mesure qu’un service équitable est le résultat voulu un peu partout au pays, que les électeurs dans votre municipalité seraient prêts à vous appuyer pour -- même si la conséquence serait des dollars de plus?

10317 M. JETTÉ: Tout à fait. Tout à fait. Ça je suis convaincu de ça.

10318 C’est un dossier auquel depuis 2009 qu’on entend parler. Depuis 2009 tout le monde veut avoir -- parce qu’en 2009 Saint-André n’était pas desservi. Il y avait l’hôtel de ville, l’école et ça s’arrêtait là là.

10319 L’étendue elle s’est fait. On a dû -- on nous a -- depuis 2009 on nous demande toujours des démarches, puis encore aujourd’hui « où est-ce qu’on en est rendu dans le dossier internet »?

10320 Encore aujourd’hui, donc oui les gens sont prêts. Oui les gens, je pense, en tout cas c’est mon impression, oui les gens seraient prêts à -- si il y a un coût plus élevé, oui. Tout à fait, tout à fait.

10321 LE PRÉSIDENT: On a parlé tout à l’heure de la capacité des plus petites municipalités de naviguer dans des eaux complexes.

10322 M. JETTÉ: M’hm.

10323 LE PRÉSIDENT: Dans un plan d’action ou une stratégie plus globale, on -- parfois le Conseil est aussi préoccupé.

10324 Je dis ce n’est pas nécessairement le Conseil qui va trouver -- ou qui va exécuter la solution, mais pourrait identifier des pistes de solution globalement.

10325 À votre avis est-ce que les citoyens et les entreprises sont bien outillés pour eux-mêmes faire des choix éclairés par rapport aux services de télécommunications internet?

10326 M. JETTÉ: Je pense que oui. Je pense que oui les gens commencent à être vraiment aux aguets de ce qui se fait, de ce qui se donne comme service.

10327 Il y a je vous dirais il y a 10 ans ce n’était pas évident pour tous là de reconnaitre vraiment -- ou il y a cinq ans, reconnaitre vraiment c’était quoi le nombre d’octets seconde qu’on reçoit, puis bon ce n’était pas clair pour tout le monde.

10328 Aujourd’hui il y a une grande évolution. Je pense que tout le monde comprend très bien ce que ça fait, ce que ça change et oui ils sont –- le monde se tiennent très au courant.

10329 LE PRÉSIDENT: O.k. Mais ils veulent -- ils veulent des résultats plus concrets en terme de disponibilité?

10330 M. JETTÉ: Tout à fait.

10331 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et de la connectivité.

10332 M. JETTÉ: Tout à fait.

10333 LE PRÉSIDENT: C’est très bien. Ça c’est mes questions. Je vais me tourner vers mes collègues pour voir s’ils ont d’autres questions.

10334 Il ne semble pas, donc je vous remercie beaucoup pour votre comparution et votre participation à l’audience. Comme j’ai mentionné à d’autres personnes, il y a d’autres phases donc vous pouvez aussi y participer, donc on vous invite et -- on vous convie de le faire.

10335 M. JETTÉ: Merci beaucoup.

10336 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci bien, Monsieur le Maire.

10337 M. JETTÉ: Merci.

10338 LE PRÉSIDENT: Monsieur le conseiller.

10339 M. JETTÉ: Merci.

10340 LE PRÉSIDENT: Madame la secrétaire?

10341 LA SECRÉTAIRE: J’inviterais maintenant le Député de Montmagny-L’Islet-Kamouraska-Rivière du Loup à s’approcher.



10342 M. GÉNÉREUX: Monsieur le président, Mesdames, Messieurs les Commissaires, bon matin. Comme vous avez déjà reçu de ma part, de mon bureau, 42 résolutions, j’aimerais si c’est possible déposer auprès du Greffier et du Comité 62 des résolutions. Je ne sais pas si je vais le faire physiquement.

10343 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, je pense qu’on -- Madame la secrétaire va les prendre-là. Je pense qu’ils étaient possiblement déjà au dossier public mais ---

10344 M. GÉNÉREUX: Oui, c’est ça mais il en manquait 20 dans le dossier.

10345 LE PRÉSIDENT: Ah, bon.

10346 M. GÉNÉREUX: Donc je n’ai pas pris de chance, pour apporter la balance.

10347 LE PRÉSIDENT: D’accord. Puis on sait que les municipalités ne parlent que par résolution, donc c’est bien important de les entendre par résolution.


10348 M. GÉNÉREUX: Bien je pense que c’est important.

10349 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.

10350 M. GÉNÉREUX: Alors encore une fois merci de me recevoir ce matin. Donc ces résolutions représentent 58 municipalités et 4 MRCs de mon comté, donc plus de 78,000 électeurs et 90,000 résidents.

10351 La situation du réseau de téléphonie sans fil sur le territoire est préoccupante pour la sécurité des citoyens et je souhaite, par ma présence, vous en faire part.

10352 J’espère que suite à cette réflexion, des pistes de solutions seront trouvées afin que les services de téléphonie sans fil, tout comme les services de téléphonie résidentiel, soient reconnus essentiel et que les citoyens des régions aient accès eux-mêmes aux mêmes services que ceux des grands centres à un prix comparable.

10353 En tant que député d’un vaste territoire qui va du littoral du St-Laurent jusqu’à la frontière Nord des États-Unis, je remarque que lors de mes nombreux déplacements entre la Colline et la circonscription, les difficultés vécues par de nombreux citoyens et les différences importantes entre la qualité des connections.

10354 Le service cellulaire, si pratique, rapide et efficace en zone urbaine, n’est pas adapté du tout aux réalités régionales ou rurales.

10355 Le service est instable et parfois même carrément déficient alors que mon comté n’est localisé qu’à 100 kilomètres de Québec. J'étais content d’entendre Monsieur le maire de Saint-André-d'Argenteuil qui est à 50 kilomètres de Montréal.

10356 Donc notre région, comme toutes les autres au Canada, a besoin de la technologie pour continuer son développement, particulièrement son développement économique. Et malheureusement force est d’admettre qu’elle accuse un retard évident. La couverture est inappropriée sur une importante partie du territoire et vous avez une carte sur laquelle on a encerclé notre circonscription et dans laquelle on voit bien évidemment qu’il y a pas beaucoup d'antennes.

10357 La concurrence entre les entreprises est féroce et leur force s’appuie principalement sur leur capacité à communiquer. Ce sont les travailleurs, jeunes et moins jeunes, qui confèrent la vitalité d'un milieu et d’une communauté. Ici, la capacité de rétention s'atrophie.

10358 Malheureusement, je constate que l'on perd présentement du terrain sur des régions parfois limitrophes à la nôtre.

10359 Je me réjouis que Girardville ait, depuis le 2 février dernier de cette année, accès à la téléphonie cellulaire. Toutefois, je déplore que le maire Michel Perreault ait eu à se battre pendant une décennie pour que les citoyens et les entrepreneurs locaux qui perdent des contrats aient finalement accès au service.

10360 Ces propos ont été relatés dans un entretien avec le journaliste Louis Potvin du journal Le Quotidien. L'Agence interrégionale du développement des technologies de l'information et des communications a participé financièrement au projet de Girardville évalué à 300,000$, tout comme le Gouvernement du Québec, la municipalité et la MRC de Maria-Chapdelaine.

10361 Bell mobilité a investi la même somme pour les équipements installés sur la tour. Toutefois, selon l’article, AIDE-TIC qui est l’organisme entend déployer un réseau d'au moins 15 tours à travers la région pour desservir les secteurs qui ne le sont toujours pas au coût de 6$ millions.

10362 Je me réjouis également que Saint-Léonard-d'Aston ont une antenne de relais qui a été installée en décembre dernier après des années d’attente.

10363 Selon les propos du maire Daniel Coutu que la journaliste Joanie Mailhot a recueillis dans le Courrier de la Rive Sud de juillet 2015, l’installation de l'antenne a réglé la problématique de la téléphonie cellulaire. Elle a aussi solutionné l’accès à internet haute vitesse et amélioré la réception des systèmes de communication des pompiers. De plus, la compagnie a érigé la tour et paie une redevance sur le terrain de la municipalité qu'elle occupe.

10364 Là mon discours va changer un petit peu. Mon mémoire est modifié un peu parce que j’ai enlevé des éléments parce qu’inévitablement je vais manquer de temps.

10365 Donc la dualité et la diversité du service entre les grands centres et les régions, encore une fois.

10366 Le CRTC a été confronté et a dû prendre position par rapport à la réglementation vis-à-vis la télévision il y a 30 ans. À l’époque, il avait été décidé qu'un contenu informatif et publicitaire régional soit obligatoire.

10367 Maintenant, depuis que les Canadiens délaissent les médias traditionnels pour le numérique, Netflix, Illico,, etcetera, aucune réglementation n'astreint à un contenu local et régional. Et que dire des hebdomadaires régionaux qui ont fermé les uns après les autres dans l'est du Québec pour céder leur place à des versions numériques ou encore les contenus provenant des grands centres tels La Presse+, etcetera.

10368 Les payeurs de taxes en région se doivent d'avoir un accès à du contenu régional à leur image. Ils se doivent d'avoir accès à un service qui est essentiel pour trouver un emploi, le réseautage en ligne étant de plus en plus fréquent, pour obtenir de l’information universitaire ou continue sans discrimination par rapport au lieu de résidence, pour se renseigner sur des programmes gouvernementaux ou mettre la main sur des formulaires.

10369 Après l’ère industrielle, il y a l’ère numérique et c'est maintenant.

10370 Comment pouvons-nous nous permettre de se fier à l'objectif fixé en 2014 dans le cadre du programme « Un Canada branché » à l'effet que 5 mégabits soit suffisantes pour l'ensemble du Canada en 2017?

10371 Notre économie est une économie du savoir. Elle est valorisée par nos PME et nos institutions scolaires du Bas-Saint-Laurent qui se démarquent par leur division de recherche et développement, ainsi que leurs innovations principalement dans le domaine de l'agroalimentaire.

10372 Alors que de plus en plus de données sont traitées en infonuagique, alors que les fermes sont informatisées avec robot de traite, gestion de l'approvisionnement à distance, GPS et domotique, le minimum de 5 mégabits est impensable.

10373 L'objectif d'Xplornet de 25 mégabits d'ici 2020, selon les audiences du 13 avril dernier, est-il louable?

10374 J’ai des exemples. Je vais passer par-dessus puis je vais -- en tout cas, je vais passer par-dessus deux pour parler d'un exemple qui est très, très clair dans mon comté.

10375 Robin Caron de Saint-Marcel-de-l’Islet est entrepreneur, propriétaire d’une carrière de gravier et membre du comité pour un service cellulaire équitable de l'Islet. Ce dernier paie pour des frais de 911 sur son cellulaire comme tous les abonnés, mais ne dispose pas du service en tout temps comme plusieurs d'entre nous.

10376 Non seulement est-il floué parce qu’il paie pour un service que son fournisseur ne s'assure pas de lui garantir, mais sa sécurité et celle des siens est en danger en cas d'accident.

10377 De plus, l'entreprise de Monsieur Caron est responsable d'acquitter des contrats de déneigement pour le ministère du Transport. Selon les termes du contrat, il doit être joignable 24 heures sur 24 et sept jours par semaine, sans quoi il pourrait être mis à l'amende, ce qui compromet à la viabilité de ses activités professionnelles.

10378 Pour remplir ses obligations, il est contraint, comme les premiers répondants, de défrayer un service d’un système d'ondes courtes, dans ce cas, un montant d'environ 300$ et ce en plus des frais du cellulaire régulier.

10379 Il doit par exemple se rendre à l’église de sa municipalité tout en haut de la côte pour faire des appels avec son téléphone portable, ce qui augmente son temps de déplacement et réduit par le fait même son efficacité et sa productivité.

10380 En parallèle, Monsieur Caron est vice­ président de l’Association nationale des camionneurs artisans et il y a consensus entre les membres de la région 03 qui est la région de Québec particulièrement. Les communications sont difficiles, les amplificateurs d'ondes n'ont qu'une portée limitée.

10381 Je réitère que la téléphonie sans fil cellulaire est devenue, au fil des années, un service essentiel à la sécurité des familles et des travailleurs ou travailleuses et/ou au développement économique des organisations et entreprises du territoire.

10382 Qui plus est, la couverture du service 911 défrayée par les usagers est lacunaire sur notre territoire et peut même mettre en danger la vie d'un travailleur forestier ou encore d'un chasseur, à moins qu'il ne détienne un appareil satellite qui est présentement vendu à des coûts prohibitifs.

10383 J'exige donc que les fournisseurs garantissent le service 911 et que le territoire soit couvert à 100 pour cent.

10384 Je suis conscient que le coût des infrastructures, incluant les tours et les connexions à la base, est élevé pour les fournisseurs de service. Toutefois, je suis aussi conscient qu'il y a une fâcheuse iniquité -- inégalité entre les résidents des grands centres et les résidents qui résident en région considérée rurale comme la nôtre.

10385 En fait, il arrive que dès qu'on s'éloigne d'aussi peu que d'une dizaine de kilomètres de l'autoroute 20, comme à Saint-Cyrille-de-Lessard par exemple, le signal soit intermittent et même inexistant. Je l’ai expérimenté à plusieurs reprises durant la dernière campagne électorale, soyez-en sûrs.

10386 Même chose pour les routes 204, 283 et 285 qui sont dans mon comté.

10387 Les coûts et les services doivent être similaires pour les gens habitant en région urbaine et en région rurale. Cette problématique ne peut pas rester sans réponse. Je considère inadmissible que les citoyens de zones non urbaines aient à payer pour le même service, voire un service moindre, pour un prix plus élevé. Le coût se doit d’être abordable pour tous et sans discrimination.

10388 Je ne peux pas rester les bras croisés après avoir entendu les membres du comité pour un service cellulaire équitable de l’Islet, ainsi que de nombreux citoyens me raconter leurs déboires.

10389 L’ensemble des villes et des municipalités de la circonscription sont étroitement liées par leurs économies, leurs organismes et leurs populations solidairement constituées en MRC. Nul doute, la problématique est d'ordre régional.

10390 J’ai donc proposé que nous rencontrions tous ensemble le président et premier dirigeant de l'Association des télécommunications sans fil, Bernard Lord, le 26 avril prochain à La Pocatière. Les députés fédéraux de ma circonscription et deux de mes homologues de l'est du Québec y participeront également.

10391 J’ai aussi pris position et j'ai entamé des démarches à l'effet que le ministre de l'Innovation, des Sciences et du Développement économique, l'honorable Navdeep Bains, fasse un suivi pressant sur cet enjeu qui concerne le développement de tout l'est du Québec.

10392 La semaine dernière, j'ai entamé des discussions avec des fournisseurs de service pour comprendre leur situation et défendre auprès d'eux les utilisateurs de ma circonscription.

10393 Par le biais de cette audience, le CRTC démontre sa volonté d’être à l’écoute des citoyens et je vous en remercie.

10394 Les résultats de votre sondage permettant de visualiser les habitudes de consommation changent et que la région est bien mal desservie. Vous êtes à même de constater que les citoyens délaissent les lignes résidentielles. Plus d'un ménage canadien sur cinq a la téléphonie cellulaire comme seule forme de service téléphonique.

10395 En 2013, 20,4 pour cent des ménages déclaraient utiliser exclusivement un téléphone cellulaire, ce qui représentait une augmentation de 15,7 enregistrés en 2012.

10396 En 2013, 83 pour cent des ménages canadiens disposaient d'un téléphone cellulaire actif, comparativement à 78 en 2010.

10397 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je vais vous inviter d’aller un petit peu moins vite pour qu’on puisse bien vous entendre par l’interprétation. Prenez un verre d’eau.

10398 M. GÉNÉREUX: Oui. C'est ça. J’ai l’impression que je vais manquer de temps.

10399 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais inquiétez-vous pas pour ça. On va faire l’ajustement. Ça sert à rien d’aller trop vite pour qu’on ne puisse pas entendre vos propos qui, de toute évidence, sont importants parce que vous vous êtes présenté.

10400 Donc allez-y.

10401 M. GÉNÉREUX: Je vous remercie.

10402 Donc internet est un des principaux outils dont les citoyens font usage pour se renseigner et communiquer.

10403 Monsieur le président, nous sommes indéniablement à l’ère du numérique. Reculons il y a seulement 10 ans, Facebook venait de naître. Nous sommes maintenant plus de 1.5 milliard de personnes inscrites dans cette application, dont moi-même évidemment.

10404 II y a neuf ans, Twitter venait au monde et maintenant, ce sont plus de 332 millions de personnes qui y sont inscrites également.

10405 Il y a quatre ans à peine, Snapchat a vu le jour et quatre ans plus tard, plus de deux milliards de photos et de vidéos sont échangées par jour. Imaginons-nous dans 10 ans.

10406 Le 1er mai 1997, il y a près de 20 ans, une antenne de 25 mètres a été installée à Saint-Pamphile. Si à l’époque nous avions eu de la vision, nous aurions construit à ce moment une tour probablement de 50 mètres et permettant ainsi la diffusion sur un rayon beaucoup plus grand qu'actuellement.

10407 Pour ma part, je m'engage à militer pour que mes citoyens puissent sur l'ensemble du territoire profiter de tous les avantages et de tous les outils de la téléphonie cellulaire. Ainsi, je crois qu'il faut agir vite et maintenant pour permettre à l’ensemble de la population canadienne d'avoir un service de qualité, équitable et abordable.

10408 Voici donc quelques recommandations dont je vous suggère l’application et qui, si elles ne s'appliquent pas directement au CRTC, soient transmises aux autorités compétentes. Reconnaitre la téléphonie cellulaire et internet large bande comme des services essentiels. Accroître le financement ciblé par l’entremise d'un programme similaire à « Un Canada branché/Canada Numérique 150 », en appui aux fonds provinciaux et municipaux pour régler les lacunes en région rurale, celle-là elle est très importante. Valoriser un partenariat avec DEC Canada. Aider les municipalités à s'organiser en coopératives comme L'Agence interrégionale de développement des technologies de l'information et des communications à La Baie au Saguenay. Encourager la construction d'infrastructures complémentaires, tours et satellites dans les territoires moins rentables par des subventions sous le couvert du développement des régions. Celle-là aussi elle est importante parce que le couvert des régions -- quand je dis « le couvert des régions » c'est le chapeau dans lequel les régions sont souvent soumises en termes de développement ou en termes de subvention gouvernementale. Revoir le rôle du gouvernement fédéral qui peut et doit être prépondérant dans la coordination des sources de financement, ça aussi c'est important. Tenir compte de la capacité de payer des usagers et du coût moyen de la vie pour offrir le service à un coût raisonnable pour les usagers des grands centres et des régions. Permettre l'amortissement accéléré des équipements d’infrastructures pour les entreprises de télécommunications pour faciliter les investissements plus rapides de l'industrie. Garantir le service 911 à tous les usagers en tout temps et à n’importe où sur le territoire. Hausser la barre de service à 25 mégabits pour tout le Canada d'ici 2020.

10409 Je remercie les membres du Comité pour un service cellulaire équitable de l'Islet, ainsi que tous ceux et celles qui, de près ou de loin, ont contribué à la rédaction de ce mémoire.

10410 En conclusion, le CRTC a l'obligation d'exercer son devoir pour élaborer et faire cheminer des pistes de solution auprès de l'industrie. Déjà en 2014 l'accessibilité à tous les canadiens et canadiennes au service internet haute vitesse aux prix les plus abordables qui soient et à une diversité de fournisseurs de services cellulaires étaient dans la mire du programme « Un Canada branché/Canada numérique 150 ». J'ai donc de grandes attentes sur la finalité du processus d'audience actuel.

10411 Je vous remercie de votre écoute et je suis disposé à répondre à vos questions, mesdames et messieurs.

10412 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup, Monsieur le député. Et comme j’ai dit à votre collègue le député de Mégantic-L’Érable, on est bien heureux de vous recevoir aux audiences du CRTC ---

10413 M. GÉNÉREUX: Y m’a dit ça ce matin, oui.

10414 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- dans -- que ça soit ici ou -- pour cette audience ici ou une autre parce que malheureusement ce qui arrive c'est -- pour une raison que je m’explique mal, vous et vos collègues de l’autre côté de la rivière décident d’étudier les enjeux après qu’on a déjà pris nos décisions. Et puis il me semble ça serait plus efficace que vous veniez nous faire part de votre point de vue avant, comme ça on pourra les tenir en ligne de compte lorsqu’on prend nos décisions. Et je dois vous féliciter aussi pour la qualité de votre -- votre mémoire, vous avez adressé tout à fait les enjeux que nous voulions discuter lors de cette instance ci, et vos recommandations en particulier sont fort utiles.

10415 Par rapport au réseau mobile ---

10416 M. GÉNÉREUX: Oui.

10417 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- parce qu’on parle ici de -- des services de télécommunications en général puis qu’est-ce qui est de base, mais je veux bien comprendre -- pis j’ai posé la même question avec votre collègue -- par rapport au réseau mobile, est-ce que votre préoccupation elle est clairement par rapport à la sécurité publique ---

10418 M. GÉNÉREUX: Tout à fait.

10419 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- que ça soit sur les routes ou dans les chantiers? Je crois -- nous avons entendu aussi que ça peut aider au développement économique parce qu’évidemment une région qui est mal desservie en mobilité -- en téléphonie ---

10420 M. GÉNÉREUX: Pas ça peut, Monsieur le président, ça aide énormément. Je suis entrepreneur moi-même ---

10421 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.

10422 M. GÉNÉREUX: --- j’ai quatre entreprises, donc inévitablement -- pis je connais énormément d’entrepreneurs pour avoir été dans les chambres de commerces et présent sur tout le territoire, le développement économique de façon intrinsèque est intimement lié à la capacité de communiquer. Ça c'est clair, net et précis. Et pis j’entendais Monsieur le maire tantôt qui parlait des fermes, les fermes d’aujourd'hui ne sont pas les fermes d'hier là, on s’entend, les communications sont rendues des communications quotidiennes à la minute, à la seconde, c'est des choses qui sont en temps réel, absolu.

10423 LE PRÉSIDENT: D'accord.

10424 M. GÉNÉREUX: Donc inévitablement c'est extrêmement important pour le développement économique.

10425 LE PRÉSIDENT: Pis pour attirer évidemment des gens à votre région pour y habiter?

10426 M. GÉNÉREUX: Absolument, c'est un -- c'est un élément de rétention. Par exemple dans les régions dont nous sommes, souvent les personnes prennent une retraite bien méritée de plus en plus jeunes ou en tout ça autour de 50-60 ans et ils reviennent travailler en région en tant que travailleurs autonomes et consultants, mais encore là ils doivent travailler à partir de la maison. Et encore une fois quand -- pis c'est devenu un choix -- c'est devenu un élément de choix de l’endroit où on va aller s’installer par rapport au fait que les communications sont disponibles et elles sont bien implantées. Mais si les technologies sont pas implantées les gens vont aller ailleurs.

10427 LE PRÉSIDENT: D'accord. Mes questions -- encore j’ai d’autres questions, mais ---

10428 M. GÉNÉREUX: Oui.

10429 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- ici on parle vraiment des services mobiles.

10430 M. GÉNÉREUX: Oui.

10431 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc je comprends là que votre réponse est par rapport aux services mobiles. Et j’imagine aussi pour le tourisme? C'est une belle région, les gens vont passer leur ---

10432 M. GÉNÉREUX: C'est donc ---

10433 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- vous perdez des fois du tourisme parce que vous êtes moins branché au -- à la téléphonie mobile?

10434 M. GÉNÉREUX: C'est la même chose, Monsieur le président, encore une fois on est sur les tablettes, d’ailleurs je pense que tous les consommateurs du tourisme aujourd'hui font une préparation au préalable de leur voyage, et encore une fois quand ils arrivent dans une région X pour s’assurer d’aller visiter l'ensemble des éléments qui sont disponibles dans cette région-là, encore faut-il qu’ils aient accès. Si on laisse l’autoroute 20 quelque peu et on rentre dans les terres parce qu’il y a des choses absolument extraordinaires à aller voir aussi dans les terres sur nos territoires comme ailleurs, on perd les connections, on est pu en mesure de communiquer d’aucune façon dans beaucoup de cas là.

10435 Et pour avoir expérimenté durant la dernière campagne -- comme je vous l’ai expliqué, j’ai fait 18,000 kilomètres en 75 jours, je peux vous dire une chose c'est que dans plusieurs des cas j’étais en communication avec des gens, j’étais au téléphone de façon quotidienne et régulière et souvent le cas je perdais ma ligne pis je devais faire comme l'entrepreneur de Saint-Cyrille, monter en haut de la côte dans le village pour être capable de pouvoir reprendre la ligne et continuer ma conversation.

10436 LE PRÉSIDENT: Encore une fois, par rapport au réseau mobile, qu’en est-il de l’accès au service de large bande ---

10437 M. GÉNÉREUX: M'hm.

10438 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- est-ce que vous pensez -- parce que là nous on a une préoccupation plus large ---

10439 M. GÉNÉREUX: Oui.

10440 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- est-ce que à votre avis étant donné les contraintes technologiques et d’abordabilité, est-ce que vous voyez les services à large bande -- pardon, les services mobiles comme étant un vecteur approprié pour desservir la population au point de vue de la large bande?

10441 M. GÉNÉREUX: Écoutez, quand on -- quand on a la -- je faisais un peu tantôt des analogies avec Facebook et -- toutes ces applications internet, ces applications-là se retrouvent sur nos téléphones intelligents et la quantité de téléphones intelligents sur le marché est de plus en plus grande, et inévitablement elle va continuer d’augmenter. Dans mon esprit il est clair que les moyens de communications de demain sont un outil qu’on traine dans notre poche, c'est pu un ordinateur, ça sera même pu une tablette éventuellement, ça va littéralement être juste le téléphone, mais il faut faire la différence je pense pis elle est très importante entre la -- le principe et les outils.

10442 Pour moi le principe de l’équitabilité, le principe de la -- de « affordable » ---

10443 LE PRÉSIDENT: Abordabilité.

10444 M. GÉNÉREUX: --- oui, c'est ça, d’avoir ça à un prix normal, un prix -- pis d’avoir un service équitable, pour moi c'est des principes fondamen -- fondateurs. Inévitablement on doit s’assurer -- un canadien c'est un canadien, c'est un canadien, et on peut pas penser que parce que moi on est dans ma région, on est dans les montagnes, on est dans des situations géographiques qui sont un peu plus difficiles de communications, qu’on ne puisse pas avoir le même accès ou le même service que quand je suis à Québec ou quand je suis à Montréal ou à Ottawa.

10445 C'est -- moi je -- pour moi ça fait pas de sens, y faut absolument que ce principe fédérateur là soit absolument résolu de façon à ce que tout le monde comprenne que le service essentiel que devient la téléphonie cellulaire -- parce que même les compagnies elles-mêmes dirigent leur clientèle vers le téléphone cellulaire au lieu d’avoir une téléphonie -- un téléphone ligne dure à la maison. C'est des services qu’ils offrent maintenant en disant, « Ben, vous aurez pu besoin de votre service à la maison. » Si c'est le cas, dans une région comme chez nous les gens peuvent pas adhérer à ça là d’aucune façon là. Mais la -- rapportons nous dans 10 ans, dans 15 ans, inévitablement les téléphones vont peut-être être intégrés dans nos lunettes là, ce qui est probablement même déjà le cas. Donc ça sera -- on s’en va vers un monde ou la nano-technologie va faire en sorte qu’on va porter sur nous nos téléphones, c'est pas -- c'est pas dans nos poches qu’on va l’avoir, on va l’avoir sur le corps.

10446 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.

10447 M. GÉNÉREUX: Donc inévitablement la transposition ou le relais qui doit se faire entre les communications ou les -- ce qui relait l’information pis les équipements, ils doivent être -- ils doivent être partout sur le territoire et le plus rapidement possible.

10448 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc entre les services de large bande et ---

10449 M. GÉNÉREUX: C'est intimement lié.

10450 LE PRÉSIDENT: C'est intimement -- la mobilité ---

10451 M. GÉNÉREUX: Totalement, totalement.

10452 LE PRÉSIDENT: Bon, vous avez pu constater que on tente peut-être de développer une feuille de route plus large que les simples questions réglementaires.

10453 M. GÉNÉREUX: M'hm.

10454 LE PRÉSIDENT: Dans le cas de cette instance on a une instance qui est très riche en termes de nombre de participants puis la preuve au dossier et puis -- bon, y a ---

10455 M. GÉNÉREUX: Et c'est très bien par ailleurs.

10456 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je suis bien heureux de -- j’espère que vous allez nous appuyer plus tard quand le gens vont critiquer parce que ça arrive aussi.


10457 LE PRÉSIDENT: Qu’en est-il -- vous avez mentionné là que vous pensez qu’un objectif par exemple par rapport à la vitesse de 5 et 1 c'est pas suffisant.

10458 Hier, on a entendu les représentants de Bell et plus tôt on avait entendu les représentants de TELUS, et basé sur leurs analyses, ils étaient de l’avis que des vitesses de 5 et 1 peuvent accommoder la grande majorité des utilisations que peuvent faire les Canadiens sur des services à large bande.

10459 Et maintenant vous dites, vous, vous pensez que ça devrait être plus que 5 et 1. J’aimerais vous entendre pourquoi.

10460 M. GÉNÉREUX: En fait c'est que, bon, juste pour le -- la petite histoire-là, je suis imprimeur. J’ai quatre entreprises à quatre endroits différents, puis j’ai neuf graphistes qui travaillent pour moi.

10461 Juste nous dans notre entreprise, au fil des ans, nous avons dû augmenter notre capacité de traitement des données des documents que nous créons, que ce soit pour les sites web, pour les documents imprimés et tout. La capacité de nos équipements maintenant est à ce point importante parce que les documents que nous on crée sont tellement pesants, on essaye de les réduire en poids, mais quand on vient pour les transmettre, il faut que ces documents-là soient le plus -- le moins pesants possible.

10462 Mais la réalité est à l’effet qu’on introduit maintenant -- puis éventuellement vous allez voir ça dans -- un jour-là, c'est sûr que ça va venir. Les vidéos vont être sur la feuille-là. Je vais vous montrer une feuille puis y va avoir une vidéo qui va rouler dessus là.

10463 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, oui.

10464 M. GÉNÉREUX: Donc c'est des choses inévitablement qui demandent beaucoup de bandes passantes, donc c'est un poids considérable.

10465 L’accumulation de tous ces poids-là, multipliée par le nombre de millions de personnes qui utilisent -- qui utiliseront ces technologies-là éventuellement, vont faire en sorte qu’on n’aura pas assez de bandes passantes qui vont être -- si on se fie à ce qui est actuellement, puis je peux me fier à ce que les gens de l’industrie peuvent dire, y a actuellement une raison économique en arrière de ça.

10466 Je veux dire c'est inévitable là. Je suis un homme d’affaires moi-même. Donc j’irai pas investir dans des affaires qui me rapporteront pas une cenne. C'est ben évident, sauf que la réalité est presqu’en train de nous dépasser.

10467 Dans la mesure où quand on pense que Snapchat existait pas y a quatre ans pis y a deux milliards de vidéos qui sont échangées à chaque jour, calculez ça en nombre d’heures puis en nombre de minutes, puis calculez le, puis comme je vous le répète là, un jour vous aurez une feuille de papier sur laquelle vous allez voir un vidéo apparaître sur la feuille-là. C'est des jours -- c'est des choses qui s’en viennent ça là.

10468 Donc inévitablement, tout le poids de ces éléments-là reconnus les uns avec les autres et accumulés les uns avec les autres va faire en sorte que on va être, d’après moi, à côté de la track.

10469 D’ailleurs, si vous me permettez, hier soir en me préparant, j’ai analysé des -- j’ai tapé simplement « accès internet Europe » et je suis tombé sur un rapport qui donnait que dans certains pays d’Europe, je pense que c'est en Allemagne ou même en Pologne, y avait des vitesses qui étaient autour de 12, 13, 14, 15 actuellement déjà. Donc on est déjà -- on est déjà dans le champ d’une certaine manière au Canada-là. Je veux pas faire de phrase pour passer à télé là, mais je veux dire inévitablement ---

10470 LE PRÉSIDENT: C’est ce qu’on dit ici passer à la télé.


10471 M. GÉNÉREUX: Je sais que je suis déjà à la télé mais ce que je veux dire c'est qu’on est déjà dans une certaine mesure en retard par rapport à ce qui se fait ailleurs dans le monde. Et on comprend que la géographie canadienne et le nombre de personnes en relation par rapport à la géographie est une difficulté à surmonter. Ça c'est tout le monde comprend ça.

10472 Mais en même temps, le maire l’a dit tout à l’heure. Je trouvais que son expression était très intéressante. Le maire de Saint-André-d'Argenteuil disait on est un pays riche. Si on veut devenir riche, si on veut continuer à être riche et à continuer à développer notre économie qui encore une fois est basée sur le savoir beaucoup plus que sur bien d’autres choses, il faut être connecté puis connecté plus vite qu’on l'est habituellement.

10473 LE PRÉSIDENT: Quand je vous ai demandé si 5 et 1 étaient suffisants, vous avez répondu en termes du secteur d’affaires. C'est tout à fait juste que je vous entends là puis j’imagine aussi en termes de téléversement, vos commentaires sont pour le secteur des affaires c'est à la fois pour le téléchargement et le téléversement.

10474 Mais vous avez pas -- je vous ai pas entendu aussi clairement par rapport aux besoins résidentiels.

10475 M. GÉNÉREUX: En fait, moi j’ai des employés actuellement qui travaillent souvent à partir de la maison. Donc je vous parlais tantôt encore une fois d’employés, de gens, c'est déjà le cas pour plusieurs entreprises. Le télétravail est devenu et va devenir quelque chose de beaucoup plus important que qu’est-ce qu’on vit actuellement.

10476 Et encore une fois, le télétravail nécessite souvent d'être capable de uploader et downloader. Excusez les terminologies anglophones mais le téléversement et le ---

10477 LE PRÉSIDENT: Le téléchargement et le téléversement.

10478 M. GÉNÉREUX: Mon épouse est anglophone puis quand on se parle ---

10479 LE PRÉSIDENT: C'est parfois difficile.

10480 M. GÉNÉREUX: Je m’excuse mais ---

10481 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, je vois le problème des fois-là parce qu’on doit vivre dans les deux langues.

10482 M. GÉNÉREUX: Le download et le upload, donc inévitablement ça -- moi je suis convaincu que le 5 et 1 sont des chiffres qui devront être augmentés inévitablement dans le futur. On est mieux de s’y attaquer maintenant que d’attendre d'être rendu puis de frapper le mur. Ça c'est sûr et certain, autant dans le résidentiel que dans le commercial, et même dans le réseau de la santé, c'est inévitable.

10483 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc résidentiel, commercial et institutionnel.

10484 M. GÉNÉREUX: Absolument, mais vous comprendrez qu’au moment où on se parle, ma priorité absolue est de faire en sorte que tout le monde ait un service minimum. Si ce service minimum par les entreprises est à 5 et à 1, écoutez, on va prendre 5 et 1 là. On s’obstinera pas avec eux autres là, c'est clair. On va le prendre le service à 5 et 1, mais inévitablement faut penser à l’avenir.

10485 Quand je vous parlais de la tour qui a été installée à Saint-Pamphile, si cette tour-là avait 50 mètres ou 75 mètres aujourd’hui, je serais peut-être même pas en avant de vous autres parce que les gens de l’Islet se seraient pas plaints de façon factuelle des problématiques en termes de téléphonie cellulaire qu’ils vivent sur leur territoire parce que probablement que l’antenne aurait résolu une partie de leurs problèmes. Je dis bien une partie sans nécessairement tous les régler mais c'est parce qu’il faut penser à qu'est-ce qui va arriver dans 10 ans, dans 15 ans, dans 20 ans. Et c'est inévitable, on va y arriver un jour.

10486 LE PRÉSIDENT: Un peu à l’instar des budgets antérieurs au fédéral, le dernier budget fédéral a préconisé aussi des sommes qu’il faut investir dans le déploiement des réseaux.

10487 Est-ce que vous avez -- voulez-vous vous exprimer sur si ces sommes sont suffisantes?

10488 M. GÉNÉREUX: Écoutez, à la lumière de ce qu’un intervenant m’a dit que j’ai rencontré dernièrement, 500 millions dans la large bande c'est comme une goutte dans l'océan. C'est son expression. C'est pas la mienne.

10489 Cinq cent (500) millions d'argent public c'est beaucoup d’argent. Je pense qu’il faut l’admettre mais faut comprendre que pour la large bande, si je ne m’abuse, notre gouvernement qui a été pendant quelques années au pouvoir a mis des milliards de dollars dans la large bande à travers le Canada. On a amélioré les conditions de beaucoup de monde à travers ça.

10490 Inévitablement, comme dans n’importe enjeu, que ce soit la santé ou dans n’importe quel domaine, on en veut toujours plus et on voudra toujours en avoir plus. C'est tout à fait normal.

10491 La réalité c'est que y a des priorités qui sont établies par les gouvernements en place et actuellement ils ont décidé de mettre 500 millions. À quel endroit va aller ce 500 millions-là, pour moi c'est ça qui est la question importante parce que si elle est investie uniquement dans les grandes villes pour assouvir la soif continue des grandes villes pour les besoins de communications qu’ils ont et avec raison, qu'est-ce qui va rester pour les régions?

10492 Et quand je parlais tantôt dans les recommandations que je vous ai faites à l’effet qu’il doit y avoir un lien entre les différents paliers de gouvernement, que ce soit fédéral, municipal ou provincial, et mêmes des organismes de développement et des entreprises privées, comment il peut y avoir un lien qui est coordonné par le fédéral à l’intérieur des programmes qui sont mis en place pour faciliter ou en tout cas à tout le moins respecter l’ensemble des citoyens sur le territoire.

10493 Ça veut dire que les régions qui sont économiquement moins rentables pour les entreprises devraient avoir un accès -- en tout cas pour ma part, favoriser un accès aux entreprises privées qui voudront bien s’investir dans des projets qui vont faire que nous allons régler cette problématique-là pour les régions du Québec.

10494 Je pense qu’on doit être, encore une fois, traité en priorité dans la mesure où on doit -- on se doit nous aussi et on combat -- j’ai été maire en passant. J’ai été maire pendant quatre ans de la ville La Pocatière. On doit combattre de façon quotidienne pour maintenir nos populations.

10495 Et dans le Bas-Saint-Laurent particulièrement au Québec, on est la population la -- une, sinon la population la plus vieillissante au Canada. Donc on est dans un secteur déjà à risque de perdre des gens qui viendront pas ou qui viendraient pas s’installer chez nous de peur de pas être en -- t’sais je veux dire, faut être en communication avec le reste du monde-là, puis y a des villages dans lesquels c'est pas possible. Et ces villages-là tranquillement sont en train de s’éteindre.

10496 Pourquoi? Ben y a pas personne qui va rester là. Pourquoi ils veulent pas aller rester là? Parce qu’ils ont pas de service à la fois à l’internet. Vous allez me dire c'est pas le seul service qui manque mais à partir du moment où t’es capable de communiquer, t'es capable de faire ben des affaires.

10497 LE PRÉSIDENT: Par rapport vous avez dit là pour vu que les montants sont ciblés aux bonnes choses, est-ce que vous avez des recommandations à faire par rapport à l'argent-là? Je comprends que vous voulez que ce soit plus dans les zones mal desservies que dans les grands centres.

10498 M. GÉNÉREUX: En fait, l'idée c'est que pour l'avoir déjà expérimenté, c'est que le gouvernement fédéral prend des décisions de leur côté. Oui, y a des consultations avec les provinces.

10499 Les municipalités, les MRCs, ne sont pas des providers. Ils ne sont pas des fournisseurs d’argent pour être capable de faire ce genre de projet-là. Ça ne leur appartient pas de faire ça.

10500 Sauf que la réalité, si je prends l’exemple de Girardville, qui est un -- qui est un bel exemple. Qui est un exemple qui pour moi est un exemple de collaboration et de partenariat entre les différents ---

10501 LE PRÉSIDENT: Approchez-vous du micro là pour qu’on vous entende.

10502 M. GÉNÉREUX: Ah, o.k.

10503 Qui est un partenariat entre les différents paliers de gouvernement, et entreprises privées, et organismes, qui a été créé par ailleurs exprès pour ça.

10504 Je trouve ça -- je trouve la formule intéressante, parce qu’elle a plusieurs avantages cette formule-là.

10505 Maintenant est-ce que c’est -- est-ce que c’est possible de la déployer partout sur le territoire? Je ne suis pas certain.

10506 Mais je pense que le fédéral doit -- ou se doit -- parce que le Québec a une politique aussi en terme de technologie et de l’information, qui d’ailleurs va être renouvelée au mois de juin.

10507 Madame Anglade, la Ministre du développement économique, a annoncé qu’elle leur ferait l’annonce au mois de juin, donc c’est une -- il faut qu’il y ait un arrimage très précis dans les sommes qui sont dépensées entre le fédéral, le provincial et -- bien en tout cas.

10508 Par exemple dès que Canada -- dès que Canada, par le réseau des SADC ont contribué pendant de nombreuses années à -- il y avait à l’époque -- comment ça s’appelait les CAQIs(phon.), je pense. Les centres d’aides au -- je ne sais pas trop. En tout cas, début des années quatre-vingt -- 2000-là, whatever, j’ai participé à ça un peu là.

10509 C’était pour faire en sorte que le monde apprennent comment fonctionne internet, imaginez-vous là.

10510 Aille, aujourd’hui on a l’impression que c’est comme dans les années 50 ça là ou même au début du siècle pratiquement, par rapport à aujourd’hui.

10511 LE PRÉSIDENT: M’hm.

10512 M.GÉNÉREUX: Donc on est vraiment dans un autre monde-là, je veux dire -- puis le monde dans lequel on est aujourd’hui je vais revenir dans 15 ans puis on va dire seigneur on avait l’air d’une gang de nouilles-là.

10513 On était –- on était arriéré d’aplomb-là. Je veux dire -- bon il y as-tu quelqu’un qui traduit ce que je dis?

10514 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.


10515 M. GÉNÉREUX: Bon peut-être qu’il va avoir de la difficulté à le dire mais ---

10516 LE PRÉSIDENT: On va voir qu’est-ce que ça donne.


10517 M. GÉNÉREUX: Oui, c’est ça.


10518 M. GÉNÉREUX: Je suis en train d’inventer des mots.

10519 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.

10520 M. GÉNÉREUX: Mais en tout cas, mettons que c’est des expressions -- des expressions Bas-Laurentiennes; on va appeler ça comme ça.

10521 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et c’est d’ailleurs le charme de votre région.

10522 Par rapport au financement, je marque une des -- je remarque une de vos recommandations c’est d’accroître le financement ciblé.

10523 Vous étiez dans la salle quand j’ai posé la question au Maire Jetté, puis le Conseiller Bertrand, sur -- parce qu’en bout de ligne c’est toujours -- parfois ils portent le chapeau de contribuables, que ça soit au fédéral, au provincial, au municipal.

10524 Parfois ils portent le chapeau des abonnés à des services, mais en bout de ligne c’est toujours le même portefeuille qui paie.

10525 M. GÉNÉREUX: Tout à fait.

10526 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et lorsque vous dites accroître le financement, quel est votre point de vue sur l’élasticité du portefeuille de vos contribuables pour contribuer à cet essor-là qui soit abonné ou contribuable?

10527 M. GÉNÉREUX: Je vais peut-être vous surprendre, mais rester en région coute plus cher que rester en ville.

10528 LE PRÉSIDENT: M’hm.

10529 M. GÉNÉREUX: Donc l’ensemble des services qu’on reçoit de façon quotidienne en région sont souvent -- j’utilisais le mot lacunaire tantôt, c’est -- il y a des lacunes importantes dans plusieurs domaines, donc les gens paient déjà leur juste part, je pense, par le biais de nos taxes et nos impôts.

10530 Et dans des petites municipalités le problématique qu’on vit dans les régions c’est que le -- c’est la loi du nombre essentiellement.

10531 C’est-à-dire que un service d’aqueduc et d’égout dans un village de 1,500 personnes n’a pas la même importance que de sur une ville de 15,000 personnes, de toute évidence, pour servir le nombre de -- parce qu’il y a moins de maisons, parce que si, parce que ça, c’est le même principe avec ça.

10532 Donc moi ce que je vous dis c’est on est des Canadiens au même titre que tous les autres et on -- il devrait y avoir des investissements qui sont ciblés pour faire en sorte qu’une des régions Canadiennes, pas nécessairement la -- pas nécessairement juste la mienne-là, on s’entend, qui sont actuellement moins bien desservies, qu’elles soient ciblées pour être sûr que tous les Canadiens à travers le Canada puissent recevoir les services, si ce n’était que le 5/1 -- le 5/1 dont on parle en upload, download.

10533 C’est le minimum. C’est le minimum. Et on doit s’assurer qu’on l’a sur tout le territoire.

10534 Et je vous répète que Saint-Pamphile il y a une tour, il y a rayon de peut-être 10 kilomètres autours là, tout dépendant des angles dans lesquels tu vas voir -- tu vas voir le téléphone ça fonctionne-là, mais si tu t’éloignes un peu de ça c’est fini, oublie ça.

10535 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.

10536 M. GÉNÉREUX: Tu vas être comme 10 minutes de route, 15 minutes de route t’as plus de cellulaire.

10537 LE PRÉSIDENT: Vous siégez au parlement, donc je veux vous poser la question, pensez-vous que les contribuables Canadiens sont prêts à contribuer financièrement à un tel projet sur le plan national?

10538 Et si oui est-ce que c’est un dollar par mois, deux dollars par mois?

10539 M. GÉNÉREUX: C’est une bonne question. Moi je pense que les gens sont prêts à contribuer. Ça là-dessus je suis d’accord avec le Maire d’Argenteuil, de tout à l’heure. Je pense que -- je vais vous faire une analogie.

10540 Il y a des gens dans mon comté qui sont sur le bien-être social.

10541 LE PRÉSIDENT: M’hm.

10542 M. GÉNÉREUX: Quand vous êtes un père de famille, que vous êtes une mère de famille monoparentale ou en famille et cetera, vous avez des -- vous avez des priorités que vous devez établir.

10543 De toute façon -- de toute évidence il faut qu’on mette un doigt sur sa tête, puis il faut qu’on mange à tous les jours.

10544 Puis je fais -- je fais référence aux gens sur le bien-être social, parce que c’est les gens les plus vulnérables de la société, mais dans l’ensemble de la société c’est comme ça là. Je ne veux pas les catégoriser.

10545 Mais ce que je veux dire c’est qu’à partir du moment où t’as un budget mensuel à dépenser et que ta priorité numéro un ce n’est pas de manger puis de te nourrir, mais c’est d’avoir un cellulaire ça vous donne un peu l’idée de où sont rendus les gens et les consommateurs.

10546 La réalité c’est que les applications qu’on a dans nos téléphones nous permettent pas encore de manger, puis de se loger là, mais ils contrôlent le chauffage dans la maison.

10547 Écoute la -- il y a des limites là. Je n’ai pas besoin de faire une exactitude de tout ce que c’est possible de faire, mais les applications -- la création multiples des applications pour les téléphones intelligents sont rendus à un niveau tellement avancés, puis on a rien vu encore là, que on est capable de gérer à partir de notre propre téléphone notre propre vie.

10548 Et si tu veux gérer ta vie à partir de la maison où t’es là, où tu demeures, où l’endroit où tu es enraciné, où tu es né puis tu veux mourir, bien faut être capable de communiquer là.

10549 Tu sais je reviens toujours à ça. Il faut être capable de communiquer partout où est-ce qu’on est.

10550 Puis les gens de Saint-Pamphile, de l’Islet, de Saint-Cyrille, de Rivière du loup, de n’importe où ou on a le droit -- on a le droit, c’est un droit fondamental que d’avoir la capacité de communiquer au Canada.

10551 Et je ne peux pas -- peux pas m’empêcher de penser, que ça soit une piastre ou deux piastre par mois, ou par je ne sais pas quoi, qui serait impliqué, il y en a déjà eu des piastres puis des deux piastres d’impliqués pour bien des affaires-là.

10552 Regarde, sincèrement je ne pense pas que c’est -- ce n’est pas ça qui va arrêter le monde d’avoir un téléphone cellulaire puis de l’utiliser.

10553 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je vous entends.

10554 M. GÉNÉREUX: De toute évidence.

10555 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup, Monsieur le Député.

10556 M. GÉNÉREUX: C’est moi qui vous remercie.

10557 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je crois que c’est nos questions. Questions? Pas de question? Pas de question? Ni du contentieux?

10558 Bon, merci beaucoup d’avoir fait le trajet de ce côté si de la rivière pour participer.

10559 M. GÉNÉREUX: Tellement long.

10560 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et -- bien ce n’est pas si loin que ça et donc j’espère que vous avez l’occasion de revenir pour d’autres instances.

10561 M. GÉNÉREUX: Je -- ça me fera plaisir de revenir, parce que je pense que c’est important qu’une institution comme la vôtre soit -- puis qui était politique et indépendante elle puisse faire les recommandations dans la vie de tous les jours des Canadiens.

10562 Vous êtes un organisme important, je pense, et je ne sais pas si vous vous souvenez, mais je suis venu l’année passée ou il y a deux ans, je pense. Concernant le -- la télévision en région, en fait les programmes qui existaient et qui n’existent plus concernant la télévision en région.

10563 Puis si vous me permettez un aparté, je continue à croire de plus en plus que c’est extrêmement important et que les programmes devraient exister pour pouvoir aider nos régions à continuer à subsister et à se développer.

10564 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui. On est en délibéré, justement, sur un enjeu très proche de cette question-là.

10565 M. GÉNÉREUX: Je vous souhaite une bonne réflexion en pensant -- en espérant que vous allez penser à nous autres.

10566 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup, Monsieur Député.

10567 M. GÉNÉREUX: Merci.

10568 LE PRÉSIDENT: Madame la secrétaire? Je crois que -- ah, bien non c’est vrai. On devrait prendre une pause. J’avais un peu trop d’enthousiasme. Donc on va prendre une pause jusqu’à 11h15. Merci.

--- Upon recessing at 10:58 p.m.

--- Upon resuming at 11:16 p.m.

10569 LE PRÉSIDENT: À l’ordre, s’il vous plait. Order, please. Madame la secrétaire, s’il vous plait?

10570 THE SECRETARY: Thank you. We will now hear the presentation of Axia Netmedia Corp. Please introduce yourself and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.

10571 THE CHAIRPERSON: If you press the little button the mic light will come on and we will hear you better.


10572 MR. PRICE: All right. Thank you.

10573 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

10574 MR. PRICE: I’m Art Price, Chairman and CEO of Axia Netmedia and we’ve made a submission which I’m sure people have had a chance to look at.

10575 I thought given the Chairman’s comments about the purpose of the hearing that I would take a bit of a shot in the opening remarks at the bigger policy questions and invite any questions, of course.

10576 So if your core question is does Canada have a national broadband strategy, I would say -- the purpose of a national broadband strategy is to enable Canada to compete in the global marketplace and against that test Canada has no broadband strategy.

10577 Not to worry too much, other countries do not. Example, the United States has no coherent national broadband strategy. Neither does the United Kingdom.

10578 On the other hand some do, but they failed at execution. That would be Australia.

10579 They would say they have a major broadband strategy, but it’s a mess and it’s failing. Yet others have efficient high performing compelling broadband strategies. Two examples of that would be Singapore and France.

10580 I’ve personally been in sessions like this in France, Spain, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada and the United States, and I thought it might be useful to just kind of reflect on what is actually working and not working from a policy point of view around the world where essentially we’re talking about developed competing economies as opposed to underdeveloped economies.

10581 So what do we need? We need a ubiquitous digital connectivity that is fit for a purpose and does not rely on ongoing subsidies from government. That’s a core tenant to a competing framework.

10582 What are the fundamentals of winning strategies? Well, first of all, it’s customer focused, focused solely and put at the top of the list the customer and subordinating the historical industry to that objective.

10583 Around the world the industry is a legacy industry and frankly it needs transformation in order to allow a companied infrastructure to compete, so winning policies put the end user ahead of the industry.

10584 Secondly, to set up a regulatory framework for a new sector, which in our paper we call new basic infrastructure. It’s fibre as infrastructure in its own right. And make it viable from a framework point of view to new kind of capital called infrastructure capital. That creates new players. And so the policy framework is not reliant on legacy, telco and cableco discretionary cash flow and the regulatory parties negotiating subsidies in order for them to invest their money. So that’s the second tenant of the real winning policy frameworks.

10585 The third is they don’t mix social needs agenda with the private sector focus. So the government has a job of providing support on a social support basis but the winning policy frameworks put that in the social support category not in the network broadband basic infrastructure category. They don’t funnel it through the private sector network investor.

10586 When Axia considers investing in another country our first question is is the digital connectivity a priority at the national leadership and if it’s not we pass; our second question is does the leadership agree that the countries and users interests are more important than the historical telco, cableco interest, if they don’t agree with that we pass, because both those things pull you back into a history.

10587 This is because digital connectivity and web service debate. And what I mean by web services is everything digital that travels over a network, so a video is web service, a telephone call is web service, all of them that travel over a digital network we call web services. That concept of ubiquitous digital connectivity and web service availability is not an incremental decision from the old it’s a transformational change to the industry and the marketplace.

10588 So the regulator and the government must be committed to the end users lasting interest. The Government of Alberta took some of the challenge -- of this challenge 10, 12 years ago and used this approach to partner with Axia and the result of that is on your CRTC map where Alberta clearly leads the rest of the country in terms of digital connectivity all using this same basic new approach.

10589 So in this approach, a bit about the question about roles. So what is the role of the CRTC in this context? It would start by strategically unbundling web services, cloud, telephone, TV, radio from the new fibre and wireless infrastructure. Secondly, it would create the new sector alternative in both fibre and wireless infrastructure and in web services to different sectors.

10590 What’s the new sector? It’s the guys that bring new capital, not historical cash flow, and justify their investments based on a standalone investment criteria.

10591 The result is making the telco and cableco’s compete with the new sectors. The new sector doesn’t replace them they just compete with it. Give the customer choice. Let the new basic infrastructure be sponsored grassroots up from the municipal or provincial level.

10592 What would be the role of the industry sectors? So there’s the wireless sector. Compete from a level playing field using access to new infrastructure, fibre and towers. Fulfil obligations on coverage and broadband performance or lose their licence.

10593 The new infrastructure sector would create these open access fibre grids and towers deployed within the infrastructure framework and meeting private sector economic discipline.

10594 And on social access and affordability, the government would fund that direct to the customer, whether that’s provincial, federal, or municipal, as opposed to trying to indirectly fund it through the facilities themselves.

10595 What about rural remote versus metro? See how far the private sector infrastructure plus wireless new ecosystem can go without financial support, than consider whether financial support is necessary to extend that infrastructure further.

10596 This kind of framework basically pulls you into two fundamental decisions. The first is do you separate web services, which is all digital services, from the network transport or not, and if you do you get to go it on one path and if you don’t you’re kind of in the historical path. The second is set the framework so that new outside telco, cableco capital outside that historical sector is a player or not. And then -- and so the question is do you rely on cableco, telco cash flow prioritization or not.

10597 After those two decisions a lot becomes quite clear. The focus would be on fibre and wireless. Copper would not get any funding. Under this kind of framework the old telco copper is over and done. Everybody in the industry knows that, even the telco’s know that because they put in fibre to replace the copper. It’s just where they have to or where they want to as opposed to whether the copper is good enough.

10598 You would develop new regulatory recognition of this fibre infrastructure sector. It would be -- have to be private. It would have to be open and equal access. It would have to stay out of the web services sector. And it would be viable for private sector infrastructure capital, and you would see how far it can go without any financial support.

10599 A third point is looking at 5-1 -- five down one up. In this policy framework I would say it’s old copper centric and the old copper is over. So it should not be a core tenant of a broadband strategy it is a tenant of a social support strategy.

10600 So I pull the two apart and say 5-1 is not a broadband strategy because if we had 5-1 in Canada and that was our broadband strategy we’d be hopelessly behind and non-competitive almost every industry, so it can't be a broadband strategy; it has to be a social support strategy.

10601 The CRTC map, Alberta stands out, actually, and the government applied these new principles. It's what actually does in France, Singapore, around the world, and we look at it bringing new infrastructure capital to the table as opposed to old Telcom capital.

10602 So with those remarks, Mr. Chairman, I welcome your questions.

10603 THE CHAIRMAN: Well, thank you very much for as well following the hearing and adapting your comments to where we're at in that hearing. That's very much appreciated.

10604 So I'll put you in the hands of Commissioner MacDonald, who will start us off.

10605 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Good morning, and thank you for being here. I think it's important that you're here because we really do want to draw on some of your experience, not just in Alberta but also around the world.

10606 And as I understand your proposal, it's similar to what you're doing in Alberta right now, so I just want to make sure I have a correct understanding.

10607 So your end clients that you have today would be predominately public sector large enterprise or other carriers that you provide services to? You're not currently providing any residential services to individuals?

10608 MR. PRICE: We actually have two segments to the business. We look at the fibre infrastructure business as two pieces. The piece between the communities, we call that a community interconnect grid. Some people call it backhaul or IX. That, we've called the Alberta SuperNet and is partnership with the Government of Alberta.

10609 So that grid is the grid that extends to the schools or the hospitals within the community and is available to everybody else at a point of presence in every community.

10610 That's one grid, and that solves the distance dislocation issue because High Level, which is 200 miles north of Edmonton, looks like it's in Calgary or Edmonton. So that's the purpose of that community interconnect grid. And the government is a customer of it, so the school system is on a province-wide grid. The health system is on a province-wide grid, and so on.

10611 So that's called -- we call that the -- actually SuperNet. It's actually SuperNet Ltd. is the company that does that.

10612 And this other sector we do through a company called Axia Connect, it does fibre to the premise within the communities, and we're doing four of those right now.

10613 So this second one is fibre to the premise and the first is the interconnect grid. You can't do the fibre to the premise as an independent without the interconnect grid to get you back to the world.

10614 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And maybe the answer is different, depending on which section of your company we're talking about, but what do you offer in the way of services? Is it a pure dark fibre play? Are you simply providing wave-length services? Have you lit the fibre and you're providing ethernet services directly to government or residential services directly to consumers or are you mainly concerned about the pipes?

10615 MR. PRICE: Well, we put the pipes in, but we provide services. We go up to the internet gateway level ---


10617 MR. PRICE: --- broadband, wavelengths. Fundamentally, we're willing to do dark fibre but the marketplace hasn’t advanced to dark fibre, so we provide the end user a digital connection to the global gateways.


10619 MR. PRICE: Right.

10620 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Thank you for that additional information.

10621 With respect to your submission, you noted that in this day and age, speeds anywhere from 25 megs to a gig download were what's needed in the marketplace.

10622 Can you shed some light on how you come up with those numbers from your international experience, because we heard from Bell yesterday and other large ISPs and they definitely hold a different view of what speeds are required.

10623 MR. PRICE: Yeah, so I think there's this word need, required, want, and long list of that.

10624 We go at it from a -- since we're only in fibre, so we only have fibre infrastructure, our fundamental difference in cost of 5 megs or 25 megs is not a big difference. That's the technology character of the fibre infrastructure.

10625 And 25 megs -- and when we talk megabits we're talking about synchronous up and down. We don’t have a -- like, a download five and a upload one. A lot of our customers rely as much on the upload as the download. It’s the residential video consumer that's on the download side, but industry is more on the upside.

10626 So all our business is synchronous. Twenty-five (25) up, 25 down is the lowest we offer in the residential SME business market. And then we take to a gigabit.

10627 And then on the interconnect grid, the wholesale offering, it -- we do sell smaller components so that the customer doesn’t have to buy 25 megabits, so an ISP can buy one megabit from us. That's to enable the ISP to be more competitive because they can buy it at an increment.

10628 So what is the need? We would say, if you can get fibre infrastructure within the same monthly spend as the old copper infrastructure, then it should replace that old copper infrastructure because it's simply way better.

10629 And so our company invests in that where we can see that work. If we can't see fibre working, it doesn’t help us to reduce the megabit capacity because we're only in the fibre business in the first place.

10630 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So at those speeds -- and you also suggest, you know limitless downloading caps and other aspects of a service like that, does that -- I mean, obviously the capabilities of fibre are limitless, but the same isn't always said about equipment. Upgrades need to happen to be able to force more information through the pipe.

10631 With that type of proposal at those speeds, unlimited usage, does that create any problems from a transport standpoint on your network, or would it create problems if it wasn’t -- if you weren't supplying an all-fibre network, if you had satellite in your system or wireless technologies in your system?

10632 MR. PRICE: Or some old copper?

10633 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Or some old copper?

10634 MR. PRICE: Right. That particular attribute is because it's 100 percent fibre network and it's why the progressive countries around the world are saying, "If I can get the fibre to replace the old copper, then I have all those advantages at no more cost."

10635 So the history of this debate has been the fibre is way more money. That's been the history of the Telco-Cableco debate. It's too expensive. Everybody can't afford it.

10636 I would just say the reality of that is, there's lots of markets where the fibre's no more money than their current ARPU that they charge on their old networks.

10637 And around the world, people are saying, "How do I put a framework in so I can transform the old copper to fibre within the current ARPU spend of the customer? Because if I could deliver that dividend, why wouldn't I?"

10638 So we -- it starts with unbundling all those services that are part of the bundle. We don’t sell telephone, we don’t sell video, we don’t sell TV or any of these things. We go right to the core basic fibre infrastructure and light it up for digital traffic.

10639 And our residential 25 megabit rate is $59 and our customers can buy that and add whatever else they choose to add to it and their bundle costs are less than the old bundles. That's why they switch to our service.

10640 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: With respect to the symmetrical service that you're suggesting -- and I understand that fibre can do that, and I certainly understand the advantages of a symmetrical services requirement for governments. It's a requirement for large enterprise, the MUSH sector.

10641 I understand the benefits that that provides, but is it overkill in a residential application? Like, what will the -- an individual consumer receive with full symmetrical service?

10642 MR. PRICE: Well, if they run a photography business, they would way rather have symmetrical than not because they'd be uploading their video and photography, the whole world of local security and local surveillance, and as health care moves to in-home surveillance, all those are all upload.

10643 And if the symmetrical upload doesn’t cost you materially, why not build it in so that all those future services are already taken care of? You’re kind of future-proof. It isn’t more expensive on a fibre network to have synchronous. In our view it’s no more expensive.

10644 So since the future includes a whole bunch of surveillance type upload activities, not counting gaming and so on which is a big sector in the residential market, in the old topology, upload was fundamentally compromised technically; on a fibre grid it’s not. So build it in.

10645 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: While on the topic of building it, can you speak to the practicality of having an all-fibre everywhere network in a country the size of Canada with a population of about 35 million people? I don’t know off the top of my head was spent on the SuperNet in Alberta. You can probably provide us with that figure. But is a full-scale fibre deployment across the country realistic in the median term or long term?

10646 MR. PRICE: So we would that into two categories. The fibre grid between the communities, one category. Should everybody community be on fibre? Well, it’s less money than putting in a road, power, water, sewer, and everything else. So somehow we have a view that a community should have running water, should have natural gas, should have power, and we build that into the cost of a community. We build the road to the community socially. The fibre is less than all that.

10647 So if that community wants to compete it should be on fibre. And it isn’t that much money. Not that interconnect piece, which is just the piece between the communities. We did every community in Alberta for $250 million, right. That’s what it took to do every community in Alberta.

10648 Now that isn’t every resident in Alberta at all, right. So now that’s the grid between the communities. What does that do? It turns loose the wireless guys and the fibre to the premise guys, so it’s a combination of the two. You take the fibre as far as it can go economically and the wireless guys take over off the end of that fibre.

10649 The wireless guys are way more economic and high performing if they’re backhauled on fibre than if they’re on copper or wireless themselves. So that interconnect grid creates more competitive higher performing mobility, more competitive point-to-point wireless. That’s what the interconnect does. And it also allows a community to elect whether to go fibre to their premise or not.

10650 So I’d say it starts with the community interconnect grid. We’ve got that in Alberta; we did that. And that’s why our point-to-point wireless guys are so much more competitive replacing copper than anywhere else in Canada. They have that fibre backhaul grid.

10651 The fibre to the premise piece, you let that work in the market under a framework that doesn’t require financial support.

10652 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So only the backhaul of the transport piece would require financial support and then let market forces deal with the service on a community-by-community basis?

10653 MR. PRICE: Right, because the image is that community is 300 miles or kilometres north and small. How does it pay for the fibre from Edmonton to that community? Northwest Territories or Nunavut would be a good example too. How do you charge the local residents all that capital? You didn’t charge them for the road, you didn’t charge them for the power. You didn’t charge them for it. Okay, put this in that category.

10654 The social infrastructure spending would be get the community on independent fibre, job one. That accomplished, set a framework which allows the fibre to the premise and the wireless guys to stretch broadband coverage as far as you can go without financial support. And it can go quite a ways if it has the first part.

10655 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So since you’re talking about it in a social infrastructure statement -- you’re comparing it to roads, you’re comparing it to water services -- I assume that you think that this should be -- or at least the transport component of this solution should be government funded?

10656 MR. PRICE: Well, it will always -- to the extent that a community’s rates won’t support it, the gap should be government funded.


10658 MR. PRICE: That’s the transport interconnect fibre.


10660 MR. PRICE: That allows that community, no matter where it is, to not be distance based away from technology. Now it’s just a local access question not a long-distance question.

10661 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And would this, under your proposal, only be in areas of the country that are underserviced today? I assume government wouldn’t be called upon to fund a fibre link between Toronto and Montreal when we know that the various service providers already have built those fibre links.

10662 MR. PRICE: (Inaudible) underserviced or not available to independents; I would add that.


10664 MR. PRICE: Right? So if it’s a proprietary fibre grid that’s not available to independents it should be made available or, like, literally we built fibre links because otherwise the market wouldn’t have access to them.

10665 Now that’s a regulatory rate policy question, which you guys are tackling in another arena. So that’s why I was saying if it’s not available -- it doesn’t help to say it exists if it’s not available.

10666 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. But if there was a service provider that, you know, through their carrier department was willing to sell service or sell connectivity between -- or dark fibre, whatever the platform is -- between communities then government support wouldn’t be required to rebuild that link?

10667 MR. PRICE: I would say 99 times out of 100 if the fibre exists then it’s not. No support is needed. It’s where the fibre does not exist.

10668 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Is there any concern -- and maybe you can speak to the Alberta experience -- of when you build it perhaps they don’t come? What happens if the community is -- a link is built to a community and then there’s no interest for whatever reason on the part of the public sector to continue to build out services to the (inaudible) perhaps based on the economic reality of the community or the size of the community; has that happened? Or is there any concern in that regard?

10669 MR. PRICE: We have not experienced building -- so there will always the sort of extreme example, right? Very small community and many hundreds of kilometers so, yeah, that’s that extreme that you guys are dealing with all the time.

10670 So what I’m saying is in Alberta we haven’t experienced it. We went to every community. If you take a community way up in the northeast over a whole bunch of muskeg we used microwave instead of fibre. For that community that microwave looks like fibre because that’s the size of that community. So there is a way to get high performance digital connectivity. Normally it’s fibre. Certain circumstances you might use microwave.

10671 The key question is does the end user have access to it at rates that are like postage stamp rates? I may be in High Level but it looks like I’m in Edmonton. Then the whole application and end-use world works.

10672 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: All right.

10673 MR. PRICE: That’s a rate card and a capacity question, which normally is covered by fibre, sometimes covered by wireless.

10674 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. So since you’re suggesting an open-access network obviously whoever manages that would have an obligation to provide connectivity to any ISP that wanted to go into that market and provide service.

10675 But if they’re ultimately riding on the government-funded government-built network and are availing of the benefits of that, should the end service provider that wants to go into the small community in rural Alberta -- should they carry with them any type of obligation to serve all of the residents in that community if they are -- if that service provider is benefiting from government investment to provide that connectivity to the community?

10676 MR. PRICE: Well, that service provider is investing his own money in an economic framework. So the business model we use in Alberta, and it’s the same one in France and elsewhere we use, we create a marketplace that we want to function and it’s the economics of the marketplace that works for them.

10677 If you superimpose an obligation on them and that obligation is an uneconomic one, from their point of view, you lose the attractiveness of them chasing the market.

10678 So none of our guys would turn down customers within their footprint. The economic drive is to get customers and the revenue. I wouldn’t see -- we wouldn’t -- we don’t have the challenge of attaching an obligation. The obligation went with Axia to make this available at these rates. The obligation to the marketplace is take advantage of it in a competitive environment; right? They haven’t got a franchise. They have no rights. They just have a competitive market to compete in.

10679 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: Okay. Are there any best practices that you can take away from the Alberta example or the dos and the don’ts as to how such funding should be provided and how the relationship should be managed between the government that’s funding this and the organization that’s in charge of managing it?

10680 MR. PRICE: Okay. So the “it” let me just pull apart into these two pieces again. There’s the community interconnect job, which is interconnecting all these communities and getting them on to a fibre grid at a rate card that does not depend on size or distance; right? Take size of the community away, take distance of the community away and get them access to a fibre grid rate card.

10681 I would say the Alberta -- and that’s the interconnect grid part. The best practices, we pretty much nailed it for that purpose. We solved that.

10682 The next question is, what do you do off the end of it? We turned loose a wireless marketplace. What’s the best practice in that? The person that has the interconnect grid should not be in wireless competing with our customers. So Axia doesn’t. That’s just Axia’s best practice.

10683 We’re not in the wireless sector. The wireless sector is our customer. And that creates a functional marketplace in the wireless connectivity. So that’s good.

10684 That sector never got any sustained funding. So from the government’s policy point of view, they didn’t sign on to a liability, a perpetual liability in the future. And then what you find is, where do the marketplace parameters not work? Because it works for all those green dots, but there’s places without green dots.

10685 It allows the government to then say we’ve gone as far as the market can go without perpetual subsidies. What do we do now? Maybe nothing, or maybe take additional step. But you don’t have to do it before you take advantage of as far as the market can go without it. So from a taxpayer point of view, that was good.

10686 What I would say has been complicated is all of this was done without really a regulatory framework that proposed it or sanctioned it. It’s okay. Everything we’re doing is okay. But we’re always in the debate about where our regulations’ going because we’re kind of riding under the radar, so to speak, of the policy debates. So that ends up being a debate in its own right.

10687 The other thing I would say is it’s very hard for this structure to have perpetual character; right? Because it’s a specialized structure. If it’s not under our regulatory framework, it then is under our contractual framework that needs to be reviewed because it’ll have a time attached to it.

10688 So I’d say the -- and that’s the other thing we’re talking to is not an intervention or regulatory framework, but a framework that recognizes if you do things in this way that the future regulatory framework will respect it.

10689 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: Have there been any complications created because in some aspect it’s government money being used to create a new monopoly in the province, at least with respect to transport services. Has that created some complications? Or is that all handled through the -- your interactions with the government and the rates you can charge to service providers?

10690 MR. PRICE: Right. So it’s not just government money. So --


10692 MR. PRICE: -- there is government money but not just government money. And there is government money in every telco and every cableco. Even though they like to say there isn’t, there is.

10693 So the way it’s handled given it’s not under the regulatory framework, our regulatory framework is our contractual obligations to our partner, the Government of Alberta. And that’s handled by open access, rate cards and everybody has access to it. That’s our obligation and that’s what we do.

10694 So I would say obviously there’s always a debate because competing commercial interests are always debating leverage and advantages and disadvantages. It is the right answer, but it’s not without the debate because there is the other debate; right?

10695 But everybody has equal access to it. The government funding literally reduced the rates and made it viable. The government funding did not go into Axia’s pocket. Didn’t even go there. It reduced the rates on the cost of this infrastructure for the benefit of the end users.

10696 And when it’s that focussed, you know that happens. That’s the advantage of not being conflicted with other parts of the bundle.

10697 Like you guys have a huge challenge, in my mind, sorting between all these different issues when the party in front of you is in everything. And it is crystal clear to us everywhere we go that the policy framework makes so much more sense when the party doing this part of the business, this infrastructure part of the business, is only doing that. There is no other charges, priorities, intercompany charges don’t exist if you’re only in that business.

10698 And around the world, that’s what everybody’s doing because their regulators told the government there’s no way for us to properly regulate this new web world integrated with the media world integrated with the telephone world. If you want us to regulate it, we got to get to a single purpose focussed infrastructure space and then let these other guys compete in the market.

10699 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: In your proposal and I want to make sure I’m understanding this correctly, you’re suggesting that once this is built, once this is set up, that regulations would prohibit other parties from going in and building their own fibre transport or tower infrastructure? Am I reading that correctly?

10700 MR. PRICE: Okay. So if you look at this from a point of view of infrastructure and the cost of that infrastructure to be amortized over a market, then the logical thing is amortize it over the whole market so that it’s the lowest cost infrastructure.

10701 As soon as you subdivide that market it’s not infrastructure anymore. It’s a proprietary asset and now you have two proprietary assets competing with each other sort of, maybe. And the market has to pay for both of them.

10702 So the parties that -- when it’s in a regulatory framework that makes it infrastructure, it’s not so much prohibiting it as not funding the competing infrastructure, not supporting the competing infrastructure; right?

10703 The idea -- it’s the only industry I’ve ever heard of infrastructure based competition is the telco industry. There are no others. Because those two things are oxymorons. Infrastructure, competition, they don’t go together.

10704 Infrastructure is to be shared, low cost, one. And competition is multiple, competing, proprietary. Around the world they may not take the view that you can’t, they just don’t support it.

10705 So it’s more like taking us literally there, if a small town wanted the best chance at infrastructure, you would limit the infrastructure to one party. You’d make them compete to offer it at the best price. And then you would agree that the market would use it. That’s what you would agree. That will get the end user the best price is agreeing that the market would use it.

10706 Who’s against that? Who’s against that concept? It’s only the legacy telco, cableco. They’re the only ones against it. So that’s what I mean by subordinating that interest to the customer’s interest.

10707 If you want to be refined and at the limit, you would say five years after that, since the telco has the opportunity to use that fibre and, after all, the Telco builds its own fibre in the big cities so they recognize the copper’s not good enough there so -- and they turn off the copper in their big city, so why isn’t that copper turned off when that fibre is better?

10708 Like, in Alberta I’d say turn off the coal generating plant. Why? It’s old, outdated technology; natural gas is better and it’s free and it’s there. So this would be that. Whether the regulator chooses to do it or not is, I would call it, fine tuning.

10709 It’s not mandatory but if the regulator did, the cost of that infrastructure would be lower to the end user in that market because the investor would say, “I will have 80 percent adoption instead of 60 and I can amortize that infrastructure over a bigger market so I’ll charge less money.” That would be the outcome if you did.

10710 CHAIRPERSON MacDONALD: And I take the point that it makes more sense to build one highway going into a community if that one highway can support all of the residents. But just I’m clear, you’re suggesting that if a provider did want to go in and build that highway into the community they could if they wanted to; it just couldn’t be funded through the program so it would be on ---

10711 MR. PRICE: Yeah.


10713 MR. PRICE: Sure.

10714 CHAIRPERSON MacDONALD: So we’re not talking about prohibiting investments on the part of the providers and the spinoff benefits that those investments may create ---

10715 MR. PRICE: No.

10716 CHAIRPERSON MacDONALD: --- by building the highway a second time?

10717 MR. PRICE: No.


10719 Just a couple more questions before I hand you back over to my colleagues. You suggest a pilot; that makes good sense. You suggest it happen in Alberta and I’m just wondering why you chose Alberta because Alberta is relatively well served in comparison to other regions of the country. So what was the rationale for choosing Alberta versus Nunavut, for example?

10720 MR. PRICE: Well, there’s two things. The pilot we’re talking about is for the fibre to the premise within the community, that infrastructure framework. The reason we can do it in Alberta is because we have the interconnect grid already. So you can do it anywhere in Alberta; you don’t have to look for where the fibre interconnects the community in the first place, that other spend that has already been done in Alberta by the partnership between the Alberta Government and Axia.

10721 So you can see how the fibre to the premise local access piece works in Alberta; we’re already doing it, just not under a sanctioned regulatory framework, so to speak.

10722 Secondly, well, we’re from Alberta; we’re already operating there. So -- and you have other pilots you have going on in Ontario and Quebec and that isn’t in Alberta so we would say include Alberta in a pilot for this purpose. If you want to go further than that, that would make sense, too.

10723 CHAIRPERSON MacDONALD: Just one final question -- and this may tie back to your relationship and experience with the Alberta partnership but what’s done from a government standpoint because they did provide, to your point, not all of the funding but some of the funding. What does the government do, or what do the contracts state, around quality of service and mean-time to repair, and aspects like that that you must provide for over the course of the contract term? Does the government monitor it or report on it, for example?

10724 MR. PRICE: We monitor it and we report on it to the government.


10726 MR. PRICE: And the class of service/quality of service issues -- because this was done back when the internet was still being even debated and the carriers were trying not to do the internet, we started with a visionary-type set of objectives which has carried on.

10727 Axia fundamentally is competing to get people on the network; nobody committed to come to the network. So all our QOS -- we lead the industry in QOS, mean-time to repair and so on because we are competing to get the business on the network against the Telco, Cableco Networks.

10728 So I will be happy to give you what are current NTRs and latency, jitter and packet loss rules are but they always are evolving from a competitive point of view.

10729 CHAIRPERSON MacDONALD: Okay, I think that would be helpful if you can maybe file that as an undertaking ---

10730 MR. PRICE: Sure.

10731 CHAIRPERSON MacDONALD: --- by May the 5th.

10732 MR. PRICE: Sure.


10734 CHAIRPERSON MacDONALD: That would be appreciated. And those are my questions.

10735 MR. PRICE: Thank you.


10737 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

10738 Commissioner Vennard?

10739 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Good morning, Mr. Price.

10740 MR. PRICE: Good morning.

10741 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: I have a couple of questions for you. The first thing I’d like you to address is the question of a subsidy on your model. And I’m wondering if you could -- if you could explain to us for our record what the subsidy model in France is that I think is pretty much the same model.

10742 In taking apart the various pieces, then, that also allows subsidy to be quite targeted to certain areas as well. And I’m wondering if you could again, for the purposes of our record, just explain to us.

10743 MR. PRICE: Sure. So France has a similar challenge to Canada in the sense that it’s a big country, not nearly as big as Canada but big in Europe and small places, big places, the challenge of remote little -- you know, in their world they call it remote and I call it not so remote, but it still has all that dynamic.

10744 So what the government did is they set a framework of national regulatory framework saying, “The copper’s not good enough; we’re going to move to fibre; and they way we’ll move to fibre is we’ll create a framework under which people can propose fibre in a local region, a town, a department.” As long as they follow this criteria, then they -- in France they qualify for funding financial support.

10745 The industry bids the outcomes. So we bid the rates of access to this infrastructure. We bid the coverage of it. It’s all fibre. There’s the fibre map; there’s the coverage; you drew a circle around this saying, “This department wants fibre here.” We bid a rate -- we don’t bid the rate; the government basically tells us the rate they want as an outcome.

10746 So in your context I’ll use fibre to their premise in France is 13 euros a month is an outcome they want; and that outcome they want no matter where you’re bidding. So their policy decision was, “I want this outcome.”

10747 And then the constraints are we’ve got to put a physical asset in; it’s going to take X dollars. How much financial support do we need to deliver that rate? So the competition is around the financial support necessary to deliver the rate.

10748 And sometimes you don’t need financial support. And if you bid -- if somebody says, “I don’t need it” and the other guy says, “I need 10 percent,” the guy that needs 10 percent doesn’t win. The guy that says, “I can do it without financial support” wins.

10749 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: So in that sort of model, then, a region, a community, an area, they could go together if they wanted? Say there were 10 or 12 communities that decided that they wanted to come together and that they would -- they wanted a particular outcome, the residents decided they wanted to, you know, spend 12 euros. And then they would put that out? Is that ---

10750 MR. PRICE: Actually, the Government of France has said 12 euros.

10751 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay, so that is set by ---

10752 MR. PRICE: For everybody.


10754 MR. PRICE: If you’re going to do it this way, the infrastructure party has to bid 12 euros ---


10756 MR. PRICE: --- and then the government will allow -- will provide financial support to make up this gap if it actually costs more than 12 euros. Right?


10758 MR. PRICE: So they get a standard rate card. We’re in 28 regions in France, some as big as the City of Calgary or bigger. We’re in 28 regions in France; they’re all on the same rate card.


10760 MR. PRICE: Our rate card is the same everywhere whether it’s way south of France, Bretagne, it doesn’t matter.


10762 MR. PRICE: But the amount of financial support varies. And what triggers it is the ground up. The local community says, “I want this fibre infrastructure.” They don’t have to do it.


10764 MR. PRICE: It’s not like a minimum “You have to do it.” It’s a fiscal program that says, “If you want to at the local government level have this fibre infrastructure, then do it under this framework and you can qualify for financial support at the national level.”

10765 CHAIRPERSON MacDONALD: So other providers then would be free to go into the area as well and do what they want, and if they assumed that there was going to be customers for their product and ---

10766 MR. PRICE: Other fibre providers?

10767 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah, or wireless, or just other providers of ---

10768 MR. PRICE: Well, what happens is somebody wins this fibre footprint ---


10770 MR. PRICE: --- and that doesn’t prohibit other people from investing in fibre. But this one got the financial support and is ubiquitous.


10772 MR. PRICE: And the reality is it’s better than every other answer.


10774 MR. PRICE: So when we do this Orange, France Telecom, and Americable there are customers on these grids.


10776 MR. PRICE: As well as the independents. And the strength of it is it’s the new guys that drive it. The old guys don’t drive it. They have to compete with the new guys.

10777 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: And that’s what you were referring to before when you were talking about bringing other people, opening the market up to the competition ---

10778 MR. PRICE: Yes.

10779 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: --- from some new players? Okay.

10780 MR. PRICE: Because otherwise the incumbents say I have this cash flow, I have my dividend growth obligations, I have my priorities for mobility and the raptors or whoever, and down here is discretionary fibre money.


10782 MR. PRICE: And you open up the market to the capital markets and the capital markets will bet fibre infrastructure money under a framework. And then we come and say, well, I’ll use that infrastructure because it’s more economic than me doing it and it’s there. So the question is how do you get that framework going?

10783 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah. And then that player just plays in their yard and ---

10784 MR. PRICE: That’s it. They aren’t allowed to be in the other stuff.


10786 MR. PRICE: They’re not in pay-per-view, or telephone, or sports, or anything else.

10787 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Another question that I have for you is how do you see this as being -- do you see this as being scalable to a national level to your model? Would that be increased, you know, sort of puffed up to include the whole entire country? Or do you see that as being a series of provincial initiatives, or how do you see that working?

10788 MR. PRICE: Well, I think the strength of it not mandating the requirement to do it because that turns loose a whole bunch of government obligations to fund, right. The strength of it is the other way we’ll create the framework and then we’ll see who’s willing to invest.


10790 MR. PRICE: Not see whether just the Telco and the cable co will invest, and have those negotiations.


10792 MR. PRICE: And end up with the Prime Minister and the media guys having to fight in the public, right.


10794 MR. PRICE: Let the new guys set the investment threshold in this infrastructure model and see where it pops up. Let it be ground up as opposed to top down.


10796 MR. PRICE: Set up the framework. And if a town anywhere in the country says, “I want to do that” there’s the framework. If you do it this way then we sanction that. See how many don’t need any financial support at all.


10798 MR. PRICE: Right? Because our model in Alberta doesn’t depend on financial support.


10800 MR. PRICE: We’re doing it without.


10802 MR. PRICE: But you were saying France -- see, what France did is they said if there was no financial support it wouldn’t be 12 euros; in some communities it would be 40 euros.


10804 MR. PRICE: So we want to level the playing field policy wise and we will make up the difference. We’ll use the private sector to minimize the grants.


10806 MR. PRICE: Put up the capital and minimize the grants.

10807 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Now those two things come together in my mind. I’d like you to comment please on how well this model might work in the northern part of our country where we have, you know, extreme problems up there.

10808 MR. PRICE: So my point here is there’s one way to get the lowest cost on the table and then there’s another way of how do you fund it? But if you don’t get the lowest cost on the table you’re perpetually funding something else.

10809 So any remote area first question is how do I get from that remote area to the world? That’s that backhaul piece. I would say that should be common property. Someone should do it and make it available, and the government should write off the capital on it.

10810 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Do you see it as a possibility for that -- and we’ve heard that -- and here I’m thinking of the satellite-dependent communities. So would you see an equivalency there in that transport piece of the satellite being equivalent to fibre and this model being able to be used or thought about in that way?

10811 So for example, if the government were to buy up pieces of the transport part and basically make an infrastructure of some kind, although clearly not fibre, but conceptually an infrastructure where this model could be used?

10812 MR. PRICE: I would say when the community is big enough and profile enough for whatever reason to have access for fibre why not?

10813 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Why not? Yeah.

10814 MR. PRICE: Right? Because it’s the homerun future proof thing. And of course it’s a taxpayer question of how far that goes. But I would say take that as far as possible because then you’re just down to this local access within the community issue.


10816 MR. PRICE: And local access within a community doesn’t look much different wherever that community is actually. Not local access within the community. Then there’s the rancher that’s not in the community, in the town.


10818 MR. PRICE: That’s wireless or satellite. Satellite or terrestrial wireless.


10820 MR. PRICE: But take fibre as far as it can go. It’s a 40-year future proof technology with no limitations on throughput. Just take it as far as you can make sense of it.

10821 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: So for example, in the Northwest Territories where there’s the Mackenzie Valley Fibre project something like this could happen up there too because there’s ---

10822 MR. PRICE: As soon as the Mackenzie Valley Fibre project is in.


10824 MR. PRICE: If the party at the other end doesn’t have to pay the capital of it, right, because if they have to guess what?


10826 MR. PRICE: It’s not even going to be competitive.

10827 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: It doesn’t work.

10828 MR. PRICE: It’s not even economic, right?


10830 MR. PRICE: So somebody built that fibre. It would be government that funded that piece but then turn loose this other framework. Local access fibre on the ground is it economic in its own right? It’s way more economic than people think if it isn’t dependent on the incumbent Telco’s backhaul.


10832 MR. PRICE: If that fibre backhaul is in somebody else’s hands it’s way more economic than people think.

10833 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay, well, thank you very much. Those are my questions.

10834 MR. PRICE: Okay.

10835 THE CHAIRPERSON: Vice-Chair, Menzies?


10837 In order for this to work there would have to be some enthusiasm from provincial governments, would there not, in terms of that?

10838 MR. PRICE: At least municipal or provincial.

10839 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yeah. And I’m just trying to get your sense of whether there actually is because I haven’t really seen any. And it might be there and I’m not aware of it, but any provincial initiatives for going back a few years now regarding buildouts they’ve kind of left it to the federal governments.

10840 I mean, and there were about four provincial budgets in the last couple of weeks and I’ve been too busy to dig into the documents but, I mean, Newfoundland doesn’t have any money. Alberta is spending lots of money but I’m not sure if they even targeted anything to, like, what they’ve been thinking about completing the build of the SuperNet. And I’m not sure about the other two.

10841 So do you think there’s the political or intellectual capital out there to move an idea like this forward anywhere but here?

10842 MR. PRICE: In Alberta they already spent the money. SuperNet is already there. And ---

10843 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And we’re talking about finishing.

10844 MR. PRICE: Yeah. But the fibre to the premise piece doesn’t require any financial support period, right. Then you say how many -- let’s say a third of the communities get fibre to the premise without any financial support because then economics just work. Why not take that dividend? It was free, it was there. At least they got through into the new world. Then people can say, “Well, is it interesting to go any further and would it cost some money?”

10845 But what we’re actually proposing here is not financial support for fibre to the premise. We’re saying a framework that allows a fibre to the premise investment, that investment status. No financial support, right? And what portion of the market do you get, let’s call it from a public policy point of view, as a freebie? No support, no financial support.

10846 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I understand that. I was just trying to get a sense of whether anybody was buying what you’re selling within government ---

10847 MR. PRICE: End users are.


10849 MR. PRICE: End users are.

10850 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I know. Within government I was ---

10851 MR. PRICE: I would say government in Alberta isn’t on this topic because they think it’s a national topic.


10853 MR. PRICE: Right? So there is this jurisdictional -- you know, why are you coming to me to talk about this policy? That’s in the hands of the federal government, right?

10854 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you.

10855 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Molnar?

10856 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you. I have questions about your access proposal but first I have some questions on transport.

10857 I understand what you’ve presented as the model. We’re not beginning here. You know, I think one of the challenges is that there is a lot of the broadband network is built. There’s a lot of fibre transport out there.

10858 How do we go from where we are to where you would suggest?

10859 I mean, right now, through this hearing, and the record, I’m hearing some kind of confusing information about our transport network. Some have suggested there is discoverability issues with knowing where it is and what capacity is there. Some have suggested there are some issues around proprietary networks and whether you can get on or not. Some say it needs augmentation, some say it doesn’t.

10860 So I understand your model I’m just trying to understand where you see us today and what might be the regulatory actions that are required to open up that transport, ensure it’s full and available.

10861 MR. PRICE: So the transport between the communities, that regulatory policy, I would say, from a third party user’s point of view, is not functional, right. And we kind of proved that in Alberta, because when we put the other one in all those independent guys are customers of ours they’re not customers of the old network.

10862 So we put that -- so -- and we don’t buy on -- we only buy wavelengths on other people’s networks, so we get into an easily understandable transaction and that sort of spot we really only get access to wavelengths where the cableco is competing with the telco -- sorry, the cableco ---

10863 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So, just to understand, are you seeking access and you can’t get access? Is that what you’re saying to me?

10864 MR. PRICE: On total -- on commercial terms that work and are functional in the market, adding all that, right, price, distance, market, commercial terms, willingness to sell ---

10865 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: But the goal here can’t be to overbuild if it can be addressed in a more economical way for society.

10866 MR. PRICE: For sure, but that means --- COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So -- yeah, okay, I’ll let you go. Tell us ---

10867 MR. PRICE: That does mean that ---

10868 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Tell us what are the regulatory actions, if any, that would be required to ---

10869 MR. PRICE: I would say the regulatory approach to access to incumbents fibre in Canada it’s never been aggressive enough to make it functional as compared to these other jurisdictions where we have access to the incumbents’ ducts at numbers that relate to the actual operating cost of the duct.

10870 So if you want this to work then the incumbent can’t be the one that’s controlling the prices of access to their network. And I would say, on balance, that’s what happens now. All in. By the time you’re doing business with them terms and conditions, everything that goes on, you can’t make a business competing with the incumbent using the incumbent’s network, right.

10871 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Is it your sense where there’s duplicate transport facilities -- like is this issue where there’s not competition in transport or ---

10872 MR. PRICE: It’s pretty much the way the incumbents do business.

10873 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Even when there’s two of them?

10874 MR. PRICE: If there are two of them they’re ---

10875 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: They both do that?

10876 MR. PRICE: One typically -- more typical than not the telco is less willing to do business than the cableco, more often than not, but the cableco has a smaller ---

10877 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Have you ever come to the regulator in any way to seek access?

10878 MR. PRICE: I know what the challenge is. The challenge is how much money and time can I spend to get access to a $2,000 a month wavelength.

10879 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So then what do you do; do you build?

10880 MR. PRICE: Well, if you’re doing that all the time -- so in our world, Axia’s world, whether it’s in France or here, we aggregate our own backhaul network, we do not rent it. We can’t make the business work renting it.

10881 And from your point of view you have a big challenge setting those rates because it looks like they invested a lot of money in that network, right.

10882 In reality, we have our own backhaul network in France, we have our own backhaul network in Alberta, and that allows all the stuff on the end of it to be competitive, and that network is competing with the incumbent, and that’s okay because now the incumbent is more competitive.

10883 I would never try and build a business buying from the incumbent to compete with the incumbent. You’re ---

10884 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I understand if you’re going into a new area, but all I’m saying is from where we are today ---

10885 MR. PRICE: M’hm.

10886 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And I don’t think you came here suggesting that we overbuild all transport under the super net model in Canada, right?

10887 MR. PRICE: No.

10888 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: No, no. I mean, there’s a lot of transport out there ---

10889 MR. PRICE: So when we put the super net model together we bought fibre from the incumbents. We purchased it. We would never be able to rent it or buy services over it ---


10891 MR. PRICE: --- and still make it work. And I don’t know how you could regulate it otherwise.

10892 Now, that’s the IX, right. That’s the between the community distance based link. You still have distance based charges. They charge by distance. There is no community they can pay by distance, right. So you still have -- how far is that -- what range is that community in, what’s the distance from where, and the rate card looks like this.

10893 We don’t differentiate pricing based on distance so we can’t buy ---

10894 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: But the Alberta government helped you create that model.

10895 MR. PRICE: The Alberta government helped them create their model, and so did the Canadian government help them create their model. None of these guys funded these networks with their own capital from day one, none of them. So everybody ---

10896 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So do you have a recommendation for us in what we might do?

10897 MR. PRICE: I would say on this -- on what is useful, frame the community interconnect grid, I think that’s more provincial level thinking than national level thinking. You’re doing your best to regulate ---

10898 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: How can you -- that really confuses me, because if something might be national it would seem to me it would be the transport network that connects Canada.

10899 MR. PRICE: Right. Okay, if -- you’re either in the world you’re in now or you get bold and say we will fund the creation of a nationwide interconnect grid, and the way we’ll do it is we’ll franchise somebody to buy from incumbents strands where they exist and build where they don’t. That’s what you actually do.

10900 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So there is no way we can take advantage of the entire network that exists there today ---

10901 MR. PRICE: I’m just saying ---

10902 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: --- and the proposal is to ---

10903 MR. PRICE: There’s ways but ---

10904 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: --- abandon it to the incumbents and build new?

10905 MR. PRICE: No, building new ---

10906 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Is that ---

10907 MR. PRICE: No, building new is building where it doesn’t exist and buying where it does exist, but get it out of the incumbents’ business model.


10909 MR. PRICE: Because as long as it’s in their business model having access to it is their rate card, their structure, and the new world that’s just wrong. That’s the old world. The new world that’s just wrong.


10911 MR. PRICE: So the right answer is don’t overbuild, franchise that to be created ---

10912 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Expropriate.

10913 MR. PRICE: --- and -- no, don’t even expropriate.

10914 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: No, I’m kidding. I’m kidding. I shouldn’t have said that.

10915 MR. PRICE: But, to be frank, you know, we did it in Alberta by buying from the incumbent when they knew we otherwise would build, and the incumbent sold us fibre, not all of it, six strands here, eight strands there. The power of fibre is that’s enough. You don’t need it all.

10916 So if the issue is franchised and there is going to be a national interconnect grid, the incumbents will come fighting and screaming because they’re losing control of the backhaul grid that is their leverage in those markets. So they’ll come screaming and -- but franchise it and then they will sell fibre to it if the party has the capacity to overbuild it. If the party hasn’t got the capacity to overbuild it good they’re still number one, the other guy is number two.

10917 In Alberta we had to start overbuilding in order for them to sell us fibre. We had to prove to them we wanted to buy it, we were willing to pay for it, they didn’t want to sell it until we started building, then they thought, you know, my fibre isn’t going to be worth very much if it’s overbuilt, so we bought it from them.

10918 So they got the money, they got their shareholder capital back in spades, and now they just have to compete. Nobody expropriated anything.

10919 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I shouldn’t have used that word.

10920 MR. PRICE: No, no, it’s a fair word because that’s what they argue is happening.


10922 On the issue of the access, your model for access being separated from the transport free up and unbundle it from the services, there would be nothing today that would prohibit a company with private capital from doing that, correct?

10923 MR. PRICE: That’s true, right. Yeah. So we voluntarily do it in Alberta.

10924 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And you said you were doing that in four communities?

10925 MR. PRICE: With four in the last year, yeah.

10926 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And so the model is working?

10927 MR. PRICE: Well, we’re ahead of schedule on adoption but we’re not finished yet. We just started but we’re ahead of all our plans on adoption.

10928 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Did you say you voluntarily do it?

10929 MR. PRICE: Yeah. We don’t have a regulatory requirement to do it.

10930 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Yeah, of course not because ---

10931 MR. PRICE: We set up our business framework.

10932 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Because you’re taking advantage of the business opportunity to build fibre to the prem in these communities that are ---

10933 MR. PRICE: And it is within your regulatory framework for us to do that. It’s just that ---

10934 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Exactly. And that’s really what I was going to ask, like, is there something that would prohibit this model from going forward today?

10935 MR. PRICE: It will go forward on a certain pace today. What I’m saying is if a framework sanctioned it, let’s say formally, then every time we have a discussion provincially or locally when they say, “Well, the regulator doesn’t say this makes sense” and the regulator’s having hearings about how they’re going to regulate this stuff in this future. So how do we know that this even works?

10936 And we say, well, it does work because we did it in Vulcan, and we did it in Nanton, and we’re doing it in Barnwell, and we’re doing it in Nobleford. But when they look for a regulatory understanding it’s kind of just not stated, right? It’s fine. We’re totally legal in everything else.

10937 If you sanctioned it then the shareholder capital would say that’s a sanctioned regulatory framework that will last, as opposed to us right now betting that it will last.

10938 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. Are you building or are you operational in any of those communities?

10939 MR. PRICE: We’re operational in three and building in another.

10940 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And who is offering services over your network?

10941 MR. PRICE: Right now it’s just us. We offer an internet service. And it’s because of the size of the scale of this. It’s not because the incumbents aren’t eligible; they aren’t interested.

10942 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay, thank you.

10943 Thank you, those are my questions.

10944 THE CHAIRPERSON: In the exchange you were having moments ago about the transport group with Commissioner Molnar and you said, I think, we have to get the incumbents out of that whole business. That we have to think differently going forward. How different is that from what the Australians did?

10945 MR. PRICE: The Australians have done everything as long as they had Telestar’s agreement.

10946 THE CHAIRPERSON: But at one point they stopped agreeing trying Telestar’s agreement and took it over, right?

10947 MR. PRICE: They took it over as a national Crown corporation which still had to have Telestar’s agreement.

10948 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, so you’re talking about something different than that?

10949 MR. PRICE: What we’re saying here is get -- you can’t change the business practices of those companies. That would be a herculean task. So identify the new investment critical assets and put them in a framework, not transform the old framework.


10951 MR. PRICE: Too hard to do. It’s there, a bunch of things have happened. My point is that old copper is irrelevant now in a futuristic now. It’s not irrelevant in your world but it is irrelevant. It’s fibre plus wireless so how do you -- since the fibre is not there, the fibre I’m talking about doesn’t exist right now. You can create a framework for that fibre that does not exist. It’s not interfering on anybody because it doesn’t exist.


10953 MR. PRICE: Create that framework. Whoever invests in that fibre infrastructure under that framework is within your framework.

10954 Right now everybody argues over access to fibre, access to local access fibre, access to backhaul fibre, and that’s because it’s in the old world. And I know there’s a bunch over there but there’s very little fibre to the premise actually there.

10955 And the future is fibre premise plus wireless. Wireless isn’t in that old framework so that’s good. Only fixed wireline is in the old framework. So get the new fibre infrastructure under a new regulatory framework going forward.

10956 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Earlier you said there’s public money in every tel co; can you unpack that for me?

10957 MR. PRICE: The regulatory framework takes money out of my pocket and puts it in somebody else’s pocket under that tel co framework.

10958 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, so you’re including public money in terms of subscriber money, not just public tax money?

10959 MR. PRICE: Regulatory transfer of money.

10960 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, right. I get that.

10961 Describe the situation in other jurisdictions. I just want to be clear in my mind. In Alberta do the incumbents like Shaw and TELUS use the SuperNet?

10962 MR. PRICE: TELUS some, Shaw more. Not big customers. Logically they’d use their own network.

10963 THE CHAIRPERSON: To what extent then?

10964 MR. PRICE: TELUS buys wavelengths from us in remote Northern Alberta where they don’t have fibre. Shaw buys wavelengths from us in places which enhance their network. Both of those are logical decisions.


10966 MR. PRICE: Right. They have their own network. I’d do the same; use your own network first. Now, where is it that can I add to my network more economically than building? And Shaw and TELUS do that.

10967 THE CHAIRPERSON: So after having built their own backbone they will extend a little bit ---

10968 MR. PRICE: Well, they will first go to Ottawa and see whether they can get more money to add to their own backbone.


10970 MR. PRICE: Because that’s still theirs. And only after the answer is no do they come to us.

10971 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. There have been the suggestion -- speaking of going to Ottawa for money, perhaps in a different sense -- there have been some suggestion of accelerated capital cost allowance being something that we -- well, we don’t do that obviously but we could recommend others to do that. What is your view on that?

10972 MR. PRICE: I would say that’s an enhancement to the incumbent cash flow. It’s not available to the industry.

10973 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you don’t ---

10974 MR. PRICE: Because that ---

10975 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- therefore?

10976 MR. PRICE: I just say a tax credit to us. When we’re going to a new community we have no taxable benefit there.


10978 MR. PRICE: The incumbent has his long history of revenue expenses and taxes and so on. A tax credit to them is a grant.


10980 MR. PRICE: So tax credits favour the guy that’s already there with taxes and are against the guy that’s investing new capital.

10981 THE CHAIRPERSON: And a CCA accelerated is only, in your view, a cash flow issue and there is no need for cash flow?

10982 MR. PRICE: I would say it’s helpful CCA acceleration, but the nature of the business is actually a long-term investment.


10984 MR. PRICE: And it would be better to line it up with long-term capital, and accelerated tax write off as opposed to tax credit. If it was only against the new asset -- but you see they never work against just the new asset, they work against the corporate profile.


10986 MR. PRICE: And so you write it off against other income. It’s way more valuable to the guy that has a whole bunch of current taxable income than the guy who doesn’t.

10987 THE CHAIRPERSON: Would you go so far as to propose accelerated CCA is not actually from an economic perspective neutral and efficient because the capital structure is -- the historic position of incumbents perhaps get an advantage?

10988 MR. PRICE: I would say in a regulated franchised industry that’s true. You’re the new guy and you’re competing with the regulated franchise guy.

10989 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, that was the extent of my tax knowledge so perhaps we should stop at this point.

10990 Okay, thank you very much. I believe those are our questions from the Panel. Thank you very much for having participated.

10991 And we will take a break. I have to do math now. That’s too soon. Let’s come back at 1:45.

10992 Okay, thank you.

--- Upon recessing at 12:37 p.m.

--- Upon resuming at 1:47 p.m.

10993 LE PRÉSIDENT: À l’ordre, s’il vous plait. Order, please.

10994 Madame la secrétaire.

10995 THE SECRETARY: Thank you. We’ll now hear the presentation of Yellow Pages Limited. Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you have 10 minutes.


10996 MR. RAMSAY: Thank you. Monsieur le président, mesdames et messieurs les commissaires, my name is François Ramsay, I’m the Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs and General Counsel of Yellow Pages. Seated with me here at the table on my right is Treena Cooper, Director of Legal Affairs; to my left Fiona Story, Director of Public Relations and Corporate Communications; and we have Darby Sieben who’s our Vice President, Strategy and Partnerships; Lisa Lamontagne, Senior Manager of Telco Relations; Sylvie Lafond, Senior Manager of Telco Relations. And to the right of Ms. Cooper, our friends from Blakes, Sunny Handa, Partner and Céline Poitras, Lawyer.

10997 So I will do my presentation in French and we’ll be happy to answer questions in either languages.

10998 Alors, Pages Jaunes est ici aujourd’hui afin de discuter des annuaires téléphoniques et des informations concernant les inscriptions téléphoniques locales qui sont une composante de l'objectif du service de base qui a reçu peu d’attention à ce jour dans le cadre de cette consultation.

10999 Pages Jaunes participe à cette consultation car nous sommes le plus grand et le plus ancien éditeur d’annuaires au Canada, et en conséquence nous avons une vision unique quant aux habitudes des consommateurs et des entreprises, ainsi qu’aux statistiques d’utilisation en ce qui a trait aux annuaires.

11000 Il est important d’abord de clarifier la terminologie pertinente au secteur des annuaires afin de comprendre la portée de cette consultation et la portée de la recommandation de Pages Jaunes.

11001 Les annuaires de Pages Jaunes peuvent être divisés en trois catégories. Annuaires d’affaires, c'est ce qu’on appelle habituellement les annuaires « Pages jaunes ». Les annuaires Pages jaunes contiennent des inscriptions d’affaires et des annonces classées dans diverses catégories, elles sont suivies d’inscriptions d’affaires de base en ordre alphabétique imprimés sur des pages blanches.

11002 Le deuxième type d’annuaire sont les annuaires résidentiels, ils sont fréquemment appelé les « Pages blanches », ils contiennent seulement des inscriptions résidentielles de base en ordre alphabétique.

11003 Les annuaires combinés, essentiellement c'est un annuaire d’affaires avec un annuaire résidentiel dans les trois sections que nous avons indiquées, donc une section « classified » par catégorie, et ensuite les inscriptions d’affaires dans une catégorie imprimés sur des pages blanches. Et les inscriptions résidentielles imprimées sur du papier blanc.

11004 Pages Jaunes comprends que la portée de la consultation en cours est limitée aux annuaires résidentiels qui doivent être distribués, sur demande, dans les marchés ne faisant pas l’objet d’une abstention de réglementation, et ce, dans le cadre de l’objectif du service de base. Toutefois, l’ensemble du cadre règlementaire qui s’applique de façon générale aux annuaires est difficile à comprendre et devrait être clarifié.

11005 Sans égard à la portée de la présente consultation, Pages Jaunes encourage le CRTC à étendre son examen et à tenir compte de tous les types d’annuaires dans tous les marchés, qu’ils fassent ou non l’objet d’une abstention de réglementation, afin de s’assurer que l’ensemble du cadre règlementaire qui s’applique de façon générale aux annuaires soit cohérent et qu’il soit en lien avec les besoins des entreprises et des consommateurs d’aujourd’hui.

11006 Le CRTC devrait maintenir le droit existant des Canadiens d’avoir accès et d’être inscrit à l’annuaire téléphonique local, étant donné l’importance de cette information pour les entreprises et les consommateurs canadiens.

11007 Cependant, Pages Jaunes propose une modification importante, l’exigence de rendre l’information disponible sous forme imprimée devrait être transformée en une exigence de la rendre disponible en format numérique, puisque cette exigence est cohérente avec les besoins des entreprises et des consommateurs canadiens.

11008 Finalement, cette modification serait aussi tout à fait cohérente avec les objectifs en matière de politiques énoncés à l’article 7 de la Loi sur les télécommunications.

11009 Tout d’abord, je tiens à réitérer l’importance du maintien d’un cadre règlementaire régissant les annuaires téléphoniques. Le cadre règlementaire régissant les annuaires téléphoniques veille à ce que premièrement, les Canadiens puissent facilement avoir accès à de l’information complète et validée relativement aux inscriptions d’individus, d’entreprises et de services importants. Les personnes se réfèrent à l’information des annuaires afin de se localiser entre elles, de faire appel aux entreprises locales, et de se familiariser avec les services d’urgences, municipaux, médicaux, et autres qui sont nécessaires à la planification de leur vie quotidienne. L’information des annuaires garde les Canadiens connectés les uns avec les autres, et avec leurs communautés.

11010 Deuxièmement, le cadre règlementaire veille à ce que les entreprises aient accès à un moyen simple et gratuit de se faire connaître, compte tenu de leur droit à une inscription d’affaires. Ceci est particulièrement important pour les petites entreprises recherchant une visibilité auprès du public. Et le processus de collecte et de publication relativement aux inscriptions ne devrait pas être laissé aux forces du marché qui pourraient ne pas être incitées à publier entièrement ces informations ou à offrir une visibilité complète aux entreprises.

11011 Troisièmement, le cadre règlementaire veille à ce que l’inscription de l’information ne soit pas fragmentée et soit recueillie d’une manière fiable. À cet effet, il convient de mentionner que le cadre règlementaire a été adopté afin de résoudre les problèmes de fragmentation potentielle des inscriptions qui ont surgi suite à l’introduction, il y a plusieurs années, de la concurrence dans le marché des télécommunications. Puisque les inscriptions étaient de plus en plus détenues par différentes compagnies de télécommunications, le CRTC a introduit une exigence pour les ESLC de fournir leur inscription aux ESLT afin d’assurer qu’une information complète soit rendue disponible aux Canadiens. L’exigence d’information complète reste importante aujourd’hui.

11012 D’ailleurs, Allan O’Dette, le président et directeur général de la Chambre de commerce de l’Ontario qui représente 60,000 entreprises en Ontario, a déclaré que le droit à une inscription numérique de base fournirait aux entreprises canadiennes la visibilité dont elles ont besoin dans l’économie numérique d’aujourd’hui.

11013 Personne ici ne sera étonné d’apprendre que la demande d’annuaires alphabétiques et d’annuaires d’affaires imprimés est en déclin et continue de diminuer année après année. Les Canadiens ont clairement fait savoir à Pages Jaunes qu’ils ne souhaitaient tout simplement plus recevoir d’annuaires imprimés, optant plutôt pour des solutions numériques pour accéder aux inscriptions locales. Les Canadiens sont même embêtés et parfois irrités par la distribution des annuaires imprimés.

11014 Pages Jaunes a reçu de nombreuses plaintes concernant les pertes et les préoccupations environnementales liées à l’impression des annuaires, et a découvert des photos et des vidéos montrant des individus jetant tout simplement une grande quantité d’annuaires imprimés non utilisés. Pages Jaunes a fait de son mieux pour répondre à ces plaintes en adoptant des stratégies de distribution réduite de l’imprimé, tout en respectant les diverses obligations règlementaires applicables aux annuaires téléphoniques.

11015 Malheureusement, ces changements ne sont pas considérés comme satisfaisants aux yeux des consommateurs. Même les stratégies de distribution réduite continuent d’avoir un impact sur l’environnement et sur l’empreinte de carbone, compte tenu des conséquences associées à la production et à la livraison des annuaires imprimés.

11016 Parallèlement à la baisse de la demande pour les annuaires imprimés, les visites par les consommateurs des plateformes et médias numériques de Pages Jaunes, ce qui inclut l’accès aux inscriptions, continuent de croître année après année, atteignant maintenant plus de 400 millions de visites annuellement.

11017 Le CRTC est sûrement bien conscient des tendances entourant l’adoption de solutions numériques dans le cadre de cette consultation. De nos jours, les Canadiens préfèrent tout simplement les outils numériques. Pages Jaunes a constaté de près ce changement de préférence de l’imprimé vers le numérique.

11018 Il est important de considérer que la tendance de l'imprimé vers le numérique reflète la réalité de certains groupes de population au

11019 Canada seulement. Le Conseil canadien des aveugles a indiqué au CRTC lundi dernier que la plupart des personnes âgées utilisent maintenant internet et des appareils mobiles. Les personnes âgées font même partie des segments de la population qui connaissent la plus forte croissance en matière d'adoption d'internet.

11020 Les technologies numériques offrent également aux personnes handicapées d’importantes opportunités d'accès. Les inscriptions numériques sont tout simplement plus accessibles à un large éventail de Canadiens que les inscriptions imprimées.

11021 Quoi qu’il en soit, l’élément fondamental de cette consultation est de discuter de l'accroissement de l'accessibilité aux technologies à large bande pour tous les Canadiens. Si le but de cette consultation est de faire entrer pleinement les Canadiens dans l'ère du numérique, le cadre règlementaire relatif aux annuaires téléphoniques devrait également refléter cette tendance.

11022 En outre, les annuaires imprimés deviennent rapidement obsolètes, alors que les inscriptions numériques sont plus précises puisqu’elles sont mises à jour -- elles sont mises à jour mensuellement. Les inscriptions numériques sont accessibles sur les ordinateurs ainsi que sur une large gamme d'appareils mobiles. Tout le monde peut ainsi accéder aux inscriptions numériques de partout en utilisant leurs téléphones intelligents.

11023 Le point de vue de Pages Jaunes n’est pas nouveau ni révolutionnaire, même le gouvernement fédéral a reconnu que les annuaires imprimés ne sont plus nécessaires pour que le public ait accès aux adresses et numéros de téléphone gouvernementaux.

11024 À la fin de 2014, le département des Services partagés du gouvernement fédéral a envoyé une lettre à Pages Jaunes expliquant qu’il ne souhaitait plus fournir des numéros gouvernementaux afin qu’ils soient inclus dans les Pages bleues, la section où tous les numéros gouvernementaux étaient historiquement inscrits dans les annuaires imprimés.

11025 Les coordonnées du gouvernement fédéral sont désormais disponibles en ligne, ce qui démontre que le gouvernement lui-même s’aligne aux tendances actuelles du marché canadien en matière d’économie numérique.

11026 En conclusion, je tiens à réitérer que Pages Jaunes ne demande pas un changement radical dans le cadre de cette consultation, bien au contraire. Pages Jaunes recommande que le cadre règlementaire qui s’applique aux annuaires téléphoniques demeure en place, mais que le support ou le format des inscriptions soit modifié, pour passer de l’imprimé au numérique.

11027 Le CRTC a déclaré que l’objectif de cette consultation est de veiller à ce que les Canadiens aient accès aux services dont ils ont besoin pour participer de façon importante à l’économie numérique du Canada. Le CRTC doit se demander si le cadre règlementaire actuel devrait être modifié afin de mieux représenter les besoins des consommateurs et des entreprises, aujourd’hui et dans un avenir rapproché.

11028 Pages Jaunes estime que le cadre règlementaire doit être modifié afin que la distribution et la collecte des inscriptions ne soient exigées que sous forme numérique.

11029 Ça conclut ma présentation, Monsieur le président.

11030 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup pour cette présentation et bienvenue, messieurs, mesdames. C'est la conseillère Molnar qui va commencer les questions.

11031 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Good afternoon. I'll be asking questions in English and feel free to answer in whatever language you choose.

11032 MR. RAMSAY: Yes.

11033 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So you've made one very clear point about the printed directory and I'll get to that in a second. I just want to go back first to -- I think it's your second slide on terminology?

11034 MR. RAMSAY: Yes.

11035 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: On that slide, in the speaking notes you provided, you make a comment that the broader Canadian regulatory framework applicable to directories generally is difficult to understand and should be clarified.

11036 Could you clarify for me ---

11037 MR. RAMSAY: Yes, absolutely.

11038 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: --- what you meant there?

11039 MR. RAMSAY: Yeah, absolutely.

11040 So I guess we are all clear that as far as residential directories are concerned, there is a discussion relative to entitlement. So basically, it's delivery on demand, if you will. That's the applicable regulatory regime as it applies to that.

11041 Relative to Yellow Pages, and in both the classified section as well as in the alphabetical section of business listings, there remains a requirement for mass distribution as part of the regulation, so that's the current framework.

11042 So basically there is a more onerous requirement for mass distribution of business directories, if you will, compared to residential directories, which are only required to be delivered on demand.

11043 Is there -- does this ---

11044 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I'm going to take that back just to clarify with our folks.

11045 MR. RAMSAY: Okay.

11046 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay, so at this point then, it is not on demand as you understand it for business listings?

11047 MR. RAMSAY: For -- well, our current understanding of the regulation is that mass distribution is still required for Yellow Pages.

11048 Yeah, maybe, Sunny?

11049 MR. HANDA: Permit me to -- well, perhaps attempt to clarify further.

11050 So if you divide the two directory types into two distinct buckets -- one residential, which we'll call White Pages, and the other, the business pages, which we will call Yellow Pages, the current framework is that White Pages are on demand, so if a consumer or customer of an ILEC, for example, would want them, they could phone or otherwise go on the Web and ask for the delivery of these things. But the Yellow Pages are delivered to everybody's -- everyone who's got a phone listing. We're talking about printed copies.

11051 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: A printed copy of Yellow Pages ---

11052 MR. HANDA: Yes, correct, and ---

11053 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: --- as you understand, is required to be delivered ---

11054 MR. HANDA: Correct.

11055 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: --- to everyone?

11056 MR. HANDA: Correct. Now, there's been some confusion in terms of nomenclature that's been used through various CRTC pronouncements over the years and if you sort of track them back, different words have been used: residential, White, Yellow, business, and the current proceeding uses the term "local directories".

11057 And so that's why that slide was inserted there, just to make sure that we had an opportunity to clarify what we believe the rules are currently or how they're currently structured.

11058 But it's slightly fragmented, and if the Commission goes through the various decisions and exchanges of letters and pronouncements over the years, we believe that you'll come to the same conclusion, that it is White that is on demand and Yellow business, which goes to everybody and is mass distributed.

11059 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Well, thank you for that. I was trying to understand that because it had been my understanding that directories were available on demand, and that's not your understanding and I'll accept you’ve done more homework, I suppose.

11060 So if it was to be harmonized that it was both -- that it was all listings available, a printed copy of all listings available on demand, would that go a long way to addressing your concerns as it relates to print?

11061 MR. RAMSAY: Well, you know, the current context of these hearings is about, you know, providing access to Canadians to broadband, if you will. And you know, I think the understanding that we have is that the majority of people looking for local information is already online. So it would seem to us that it would only be consistent with how society has evolved, if you will, that this requirement may be made to mirror what is actually the behaviour of a majority of people out there.

11062 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And one would think, given that the directory is available on demand, if it wasn’t a requirement of the consumer, they wouldn't demand it.

11063 So I'm just asking, if we were to clarify or otherwise change a requirement that mandated delivery of the Yellow Pages, and in fact, the only requirement was to deliver a print copy on demand, would that remove a lot of your concern as it relates to the carbon footprint and having citizens, consumers, angry to actually have been delivered a copy that they weren't expecting?

11064 MR. RAMSAY: Well, actually, substantial effort is devoted to actually preparing, manufacturing, and then afterwards, organizing for distribution of print directories.

11065 So obviously, in the historical context of print directories, economies of scale, if you will, were used to leverage, if you will, the -- you know, the whole system as it existed and as it stood.

11066 So you know, to be very candid, I think in the current context, we think that that framework, where there would still be on-demand print directories available, it would appear to us to be inconsistent when -- with where the market is going. It would seem to us that it would be out of synch, if you will, relative to where, you know, the, you know, Canadians are -- have already gone, if you will.

11067 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Yeah, fair enough. And I do understand well that the outcome you would most desire would be no requirement to print?

11068 MR. RAMSAY: Well, the result that we think we've put forward is the best result. We think that the notion of entitlement needs to remain. We think this entitlement needs to be a digital entitlement to a listing information.

11069 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay, I have just one more question.

11070 One of the challenges that exists in some of the issues we're speaking of here is not just access to broadband, as we make, you know, in a new broadband world, but also adoption.

11071 And right now there's approximately 18 percent of the population who have yet to adopt broadband as -- and you know ---

11072 MR. RAMSAY: M'hm.

11073 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: --- and the internet. So what would you see to be the strategy to ensure that they continue to have access to listing information?

11074 MR. RAMSAY: Well, what I would tell you is that, you know, I've been working at Yellow Pages since 2003, and as I was speaking with people before, you know, we've seen an evolution of our practices relative to where the market was, you know, at if you will. And so I would suggest that we have not been necessarily on many of these items ahead of where the market was, but we’ve been following the evolution of the market.

11075 If you think about back in 2005, we introduced bi-annual distribution for, you know, residential directories, white pages if you will, because we felt that, you know, Canadians were no longer requiring, you know, residential directories on a yearly basis. And so we did that between 2005 until 2010. And in 2010 we introduced on-demand for white pages, if you will, only.

11076 In 2015 what we did is we thought that, you know, Canadians were ready because of the information we have based on surveys that have been conducted on our behalf in areas where the print yellow pages were no longer being used. We said let’s put the yellow pages in distribution boxes and see if this method of distribution better reflects the habits and expectations of Canadians at that time.

11077 So and actually it’s proven a fairly good success. There have not been complaints, to our knowledge, relative to people not, you know, receiving the books that they wanted to receive in that context.

11078 So I think it’s been our strategy, and it’s certainly been our view that we needed to evolve in how we address market needs based on, you know, what the information that we got from the market in that context. So that’s really how we see the evolution of all of this is kind of following on where the market is going, recognizing that in the context of this hearing.

11079 These hearings don’t happen, you know, that often and so we need to think about how the market is going to evolve. And we think the direction in which the market is going. We’re not going to go back to where things were as far as print is concerned, clearly.

11080 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: What do you mean by distribution boxes?

11081 MR. RAMSAY: So what we’ve done in Oakville, for instance, in the Toronto market is we’ve put boxes, distribution boxes that oftentimes are used to distribute for instance magazines or newspapers. We’ve put boxes where people could actually pick up a copy of the yellow pages. And so we’ve done actually quite a few of these boxes in the Toronto market.

11082 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. And are you saying that’s what you would continue to do?

11083 MR. RAMSAY: Well, I guess what I’m saying is we are monitoring the evolution of trends, of how people use this information and consume this information. And we are keeping in tune with how markets require those kinds of information. Yes, so we’ll continue to do that as long as we see that it’s a useful way for Canadians to get that information.

11084 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay, thank you. Those are my questions. And I will -- certainly we will take back clarity around this requirement to deliver a business listing to every consumer. Thank you.

11085 LE PRÉSIDENT: Sur ce point peut-être Monsieur Handa, vous pouvez nous fournir comme « undertaking » -- le mot en français me revient pas -- un engagement, voilà, merci beaucoup, pour expliquer votre analyse qui vous amène à cette conclusion.

11086 MR. HANDA: We’ll be happy to, yes.


11088 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci.

11089 Je me demandais si vous aviez un point de vue sur -- y a certains tarifs. C'est pas universel mais y a des tarifs des sociétés, les fournisseurs de services téléphoniques qui sont obligés de fournir les services 411 à certains Canadiens vulnérables sur une base gratuite, par exemple quelqu’un qui a plus des 65 ans.

11090 Est-ce que c'est quelque chose qui -- sur lequel vous avez une opinion ou un avis?

11091 M. RAMSAY: En fait, non. Nous on ne fournit pas là d’information, si je peux dire. En fait on compile les listes qui sont utilisées par la compagnie de téléphone Bell Alliance, je pense, en Atlantique et aussi dans une région de l’Alberta. Mais essentiellement, on compile cette information-là à partir d'information qu’on reçoit d’elle.

11092 Alors, on n'a pas autrement là d’implication dans le service 411 pour différents segments de la population-là ou quoi que ce soit.

11093 LE PRÉSIDENT: Le but sous-jacent de ma question c'est qu’il y a des gens -- je veux pas présumer. Je veux pas faire des stéréotypes mais y a peut-être plus de chance que quelqu’un qui est plus âgé se sente moins à l’aise à retrouver un numéro de téléphone par exemple par un interface numérique plutôt qu’un interface papier.

11094 Et une des préoccupations du Conseil par le passé c'était justement de pas laisser des gens délaissés pour compte parce qu’ils ont pas accès ou ils ne sont pas abonnés à un service numérique, ou ils ont tout simplement pas les habiletés pour le faire. Et donc historiquement, ces numéros de téléphone parfois sont -- l’aide annuaire est disponible sans frais.

11095 Vous ne voyez pas ça comme quelque chose qui est à l’encontre de votre plan d’affaires ou de vos objectifs.

11096 M. RAMSAY: Écoutez, ce que je peux vous dire sur ce sujet-là c'est, ben en fait, de plus en plus de personnes âgées je pense maintenant là participent, si je peux dire, à la révolution numérique. Et je suis pas insensible au fait que y aura pas peut-être 100 pour cent des personnes-là qui vont participer à cette information-là.

11097 Le contexte quand même et la réalité c'est que le marché est déjà rendu en très, très grande majorité sur le numérique. Et à ce moment-là, ben je pense que l’enjeu de la discussion ---

11098 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je ne mets pas en question que c'est la grande, grande majorité. Le problème c'est même lorsqu’on parle de 1 pour cent ou 2 pour cent, c'est beaucoup de Canadiens.

11099 M. RAMSAY: Je suis d’accord avec vous mais ce que je vous dirais c'est que le cadre règlementaire qui est applicable dans le contexte actuel, d’après nous, devrait refléter la réalité du marché. Et ce que je soumets en fait aujourd’hui c'est que le cadre réglementaire, tel qu’il devrait exister en 2016, devrait être aligné sur le reste du marché qui est sur celui du marché numérique si je peux dire.

11100 LE PRÉSIDENT: Un intervenant la semaine dernière je crois est venu parler des numéros de téléphone pour les téléphones mobiles. Est-ce que vous avez un point de vue là-dessus?

11101 Je sais que vous prenez les numéros de téléphone tels qu’ils sont fournis, les banques de données tels qu’ils sont fournis par les sociétés, mais je demandais si dans une vision, parce que c'est -- votre argument est un argument de, en regardant vers l’avenir puis la vision qu’on veut du système de télécommunications, on devrait réaliser que c'est numérique.

11102 Ne devrait-on pas aussi commencer à songer que les numéros de téléphones mobiles soient inclus dans ces banques de données?

11103 M. RAMSAY: Mais c'est une excellente question en fait. Je suggèrerais bien humblement que le modèle de l’industrie du mobile s'est développé sur la base d’un autre modèle si je peux dire qui était celui de dire que les gens avaient droit à la confidentialité de leur numéro de téléphone.

11104 J’imagine que ce marché-là va continuer d’évoluer puis on pourra voir un peu jusqu’où là ce marché-là ira dans ce contexte-là.

11105 Ma compréhension quand même parce que je suis pas -- vous savez, Pages Jaunes est une entreprise de média et c'est une entreprise de solution marketing si je peux dire. On n’est pas une entreprise de télécommunications. Fait que j’ai pas accès comme vous ou connaissance de toute l’information concernant la proportion d’entreprises qui sont -- ou d’entreprises ou de personnes qui sont inscrites au mobile seulement.

11106 Ma compréhension quand même c'est que la majorité encore des Canadiens, si je peux dire, et la grande majorité des entreprises font affaires avec des sociétés ou bien des ILEC ou bien des CLEC, et c'est dans ce contexte-là que nous on a préparé nos recommandations sur l’évolution du cadre règlementaire.

11107 Votre question est excellente concernant l’évolution de cette question-là à ce qui a trait au mobile parce que l’approche concernant le caractère public ou confidentiel du numéro mobile, en fait on sait qu’ils ont choisi le caractère confidentiel.

11108 Ça reste à voir où est-ce que le marché ira dans ce contexte-là. Mais ce que je vous dirais quand même c'est que le cadre règlementaire actuel qui prévoit le caractère public des inscriptions résidentielles et des inscriptions d’affaires est un modèle qui fonctionne bien encore, à ma connaissance en tout cas.

11109 Je sais pas si vous avez une autre perspective sur ce sujet-là mais c'est dans ce contexte-là que nous pensons que la proposition qu’on met de l’avant dans ce contexte-ci qui vise essentiellement à moderniser le cadre règlementaire relatif aux inscriptions locales, c'est un « framework » si je peux dire qui est approprié dans les circonstances.

11110 LE PRÉSIDENT: Notre rapport du système de communication qu’on publie à tous les ans semble indiquer une tendance assez lourde où les gens abandonnent le filaire dans certains cas pour n’avoir qu’un téléphone mobile. C'est presque rendu à 20 pour cent de la population.

11111 Donc ce n’est pas -- c'est quand même significatif dans la population.

11112 Et si je vous disais ça, et mettons qu’on envisage dans trois, quatre, cinq, six ans que ce serait même une majorité des gens qui seraient dans cette situation, quel serait votre point vue par rapport -- tout en laissant aux gens le choix de ne pas avoir leur numéro inscrit, parce que comme vous avez mentionné, il y a une question de confidentialité, mais qu’on devrait dans -- pour faciliter les communications, à la fois des secteurs des affaires et des individus, que si ils le veulent, ils pourraient avoir le numéro -- leur numéro sans fil mobile enregistré.

11113 M. RAMSAY: Bien écoutez, notre point de vue, bien d’une part, premièrement j’aimerais dire que à notre table, il y a déjà des gens qui ont pas de téléphone ---

11114 LE PRÉSIDENT: Ça me surprend pas.

11115 M. RAMSAY: --- filaire et que, rapidement peut-être, en tout cas, on deviendra une minorité, ce que je vous dirais c’est que le système actuel qui existe dans ce contexte-là, comme je le disais tout à l’heure, c’est un système qui fonctionne puis qui permet aux canadiens de trouver l’information locale qu’ils recherchent.

11116 Donc quand il y aura peut-être une majorité de ces inscriptions là qui seraient en principe non publiques à cause de l’évolution du marché, on pourra en rediscuter dans ce contexte-là.

11117 Je pense que dans le contexte actuel, ce qui est clair, c’est que c’est à l’avantage des canadiens, puis je pense que c’est à l’avantage de la société canadienne, si je peux dire, de retrouver un endroit consolidé où est-ce qu’on peut retrouver les inscriptions résidentielles et les inscriptions d’affaires.

11118 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je suis toujours hésitant d’attendre qu’on soit dans une crise -- parce que, de toute évidence, vous avez vous-même dans votre -- vos affaires, eu à faire à refaire, c’est des gens qui trouvaient que c’était pas bon pour l’environnement d’avoir tous les bottins, donc vous êtes en réaction, puis bon.

11119 Nous aussi on aime pas en réaction. Donc lorsqu’on fait des cadres règlementaires de cette envergure, on tente d’envisager le déroulement des choses pour au moins quatre-cinq ans. C’est pas toujours le cas parce que les choses modifient plus rapidement.

11120 Donc parfois, il faut envisager l’avenir même avant de le voir et peut-être que vous vous sentez mal à l’aise aujourd’hui de me donner une réponse par rapport à ce qu’on vient de discuter sur les téléphones -- les numéros mobiles, mais il y aura peut-être une occasion dans les prochaines rondes de commentaires finaux à la fin de l’audience de faire valoir votre point de vue.

11121 M. RAMSEY: D’accord.

11122 LE PRÉSIDENT: D’accord. À la lumière des faits que je vous ai dirigés là d’aller voir dans notre rapport annuel ---

11123 M. RAMSEY: Oui.

11124 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- des systèmes de communication. Voilà. Est-ce qu’il y a des points du contentieux? Non? Ni mes collègues?

11125 Donc merci beaucoup pour votre participation et on apprécie le fait que vous avez un point de vue dont on n’a pas discuté beaucoup à l’audience, mais qui fait quand même partie des enjeux qu’on devra décider. Merci beaucoup. Merci à tous.

11126 Madame la secrétaire.

11127 THE SECRETARY: We will now connect by Skype.

11128 We will now hear the presentation of Harewaves Wireless Inc. Mr. Van Dirstein is appearing by Skype. You may begin your presentation. You have five minutes.


11129 MR. VAN DIRSTEIN: Thank you. Hello. My name is Andrew Van Dirstein. I’m the owner and operator of Harewaves Wireless Inc. We are a small DSL and fixed wireless ISP in rural Alberta. I thank you for the opportunity to express some of our views and concerns.

11130 This hearing has really broadened my awareness of the challenges out there in other areas. I’m feeling fortunate about the advantages that Alberta has with our provincial government fibre back home.

11131 I think the recently published map by the Commission identifies that advantage, but the advantage does not come without its own challenges. The lack of available licence wireless spectrum is a huge problem and although it’s not part of a mandate of this Commission, it is something that needs to be considered.

11132 The emergency of video-on-demand application in the recent years has proposed a unique challenge for small service providers.

11133 A few years ago, it was a straightforward solution to providing basic telecommunications. There was sufficient wireless frequency to provide what consumers were demanding. With the exponential growth of video-on-demand, service providers are finding it more difficult to deliver with the consumer’s demand.

11134 Video on demand is saturating our networks and is eroding what we feel is a basic telecommunications. But what is basic telecommunications?

11135 I’m sure in Nunavut, the description would be different than in central Alberta. Regardless of what that is defined as, we know that the more Internet access given, the more uses are found from that access.

11136 Regardless of what basic telecommunications are defined as, consumers are unhappy with their service if they cannot do what they want on the Internet. In the past eight years, our prices have remained the same, but our service offering of speed and data have increased 5- and 10-fold. This has a serious impact on return on investment and the feasibility of delivering service.

11137 Small providers have been doing the work in rural and remote areas for more than 10 years. We get pressure from the federal, provincial and especially municipal government to expand into more and more remote areas.

11138 We have been trying to figure out the best way to accomplish this for many years on a slim return on investment. Rural service providers generally have a huge personal investment in their operations and it is usually the livelihood of themselves and their employees. Small rural providers do not get enough credit. And if they disappeared, there would be a gap in rural Canada.

11139 Cellular providers have access to wireless spectrum that is out of reach of small service providers, but it seems the return on investment is too small in rural markets for their large overhead.

11140 Even where they have developed, they can provide adequate speed, but have never given the adequate data cap for most households.

11141 As a small service provider, every time I hear of government involvement, it brings fear of what the implications might be for my company. It could be really good, but it also has the potential for disaster for us.

11142 As an example, a past grant program allowed other -- another service provider to build infrastructure right next to existing providers.

11143 It was not the intent of the grant to overbuild existing service providers, but it happened. It had the unintended result of only eroding the return on investment of the multiple existing service providers while not delivering any more coverage to unserved areas. It reminds me of the Chairman’s analogy of pouring money into sand from his statement on Monday.

11144 Contrary to public opinions, many service providers are not making money hand over fist, but are in fact making very small margins and reinvesting back into their service areas and other unserved areas.

11145 Government involvement can have serious implications for a small operator. We do not have the office resources to manage a national subsidy program and would be a significant challenge unless it was just a fee we charged on behalf of the Commission and the subsidy was administered through some other mechanism. I’m thinking of something like the Northern Living Allowance that you claim on your tax return if you are eligible.

11146 Basic service price regulation would also be a challenge as we need to have enough return on investment to be profitable and how could the Commission undertake to determine that threshold for each company?

11147 As a final thought, I mentioned earlier that the lack of available wireless spectrum being a significant problem for small providers. We do not have the capital to bid in the spectrum auctions due to the size of the tier 4 service areas.

11148 We are even in danger of losing the RRBS spectrum that we are currently using and it is a significant problem. Without tools to work with, there is no way we can move forward in remote and rural areas no matter what the economic implications are.

11149 Thank you for your time and I’d be pleased to answer any of your questions.

11150 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your presentation and it certainly brings a fresh perspective to some of our issues.

11151 So Commissioner MacDonald will be asking you some questions.

11152 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Good afternoon. I want to start off, you spoke about just a moment ago of the fact that government involvement can have unintended consequences and that does keep you up at night. Can you -- and you cited an example.

11153 Can you speak to what your thoughts are on the best way for government to become involved in supporting increased services to rural and remote areas without causing unintended harm? Like how do we get it right?

11154 MR. VAN DIRSTEIN: Sorry, the audio is going.

11155 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Can you hear me now?

11156 THE CHAIRPERSON: Can you hear us now?

11157 MR. VAN DIRSTEIN: I lost you.

11158 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Hold on and we’ll -- yeah, we’ll do a call I guess is the best way. Just hold on. We’ll take the time.

11159 See it’s not quite perfect.


11160 THE CHAIRPERSON: Can you hear us?

11161 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: I think he’s gone away from it.

11162 THE CHAIRPERSON: Can you hear us now?

11163 MR. VAN DIRSTEIN: I can hear you now.

11164 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So we’ve lost the video but we can hear you and you can hear us.

11165 So Commissioner MacDonald will continue.

11166 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Technology is a wonderful thing when it’s working.

11167 I guess my first question was you were noting the government involvement in these types of rural broadband initiatives can sometimes have unintended consequences and that keeps you up at night, I’d like to get your thought -- your thoughts on if there is increased government involvement what do we need to be mindful of and how do we get any type of funding mechanism right to ensure we both get the biggest bang for our buck but don’t have unintended consequences on providers such as yourself that are out there in the market operating today?

11168 MR. VAN DIRSTEIN: Well, it’s a challenging problem I guess. We embrace, you know, government subsidies. It definitely can have a positive impact on our business. But I guess some things seem to fall through the cracks though, and I’m not sure what the answer is for that.

11169 You know, for us, we’ve been a recipient of government subsidy before and it worked well to promote broadband in more remote areas, and then we’ve also seen the opposite side where another rural provider came in and basically overbuilt over four or five other service providers which we felt kind of eroded our personal investment into these areas.

11170 So I’m not real sure what the answer is. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer that question entirely.

11171 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So would you suggest that the primary focus should be on -- and we’ve had a lot of debate about what basic telecom services should be and what speed should be and whatnot, but is your viewpoint that the focus should be on ensuring at least one provider being able to service every Canadian at a minimum target versus directing funding towards overbuilding areas of the country that may already be serviced?

11172 MR. VAN DIRSTEIN: Yeah, I’m not sure if I would agree with just one provider, but I think any funds need to be targeted at areas that do have a real need and maybe more work could be put into determining whether providers are out there ensuring that, you know, we’re not using public funds to overbuild where there’s already existing providers.

11173 In Alberta there’s quite a number of, you know, service providers overlapping in a lot of the areas. It’s the more fringe areas where it’s hard to make a business case where those funds need to be dedicated to without bringing in new providers I guess.

11174 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: In the geography where you operate, do you get the sense, in speaking with your customers, that they view themselves as being well-served, or are there still be it communities or individual homes without that territory that are not able to access broadband services?

11175 MR. VAN DIRSTEIN: Because of the geography, there are issues where certain people not being able to get the service and I think the majority of them could get satellite internet.

11176 A large number of our subscribers and the people that we talk to are not real satisfied with the quality of the satellite service that they can receive, and then there’s some, you know, fairly heavily bushed area where, you know, there’s other issues with connectivity.

11177 But for the most part in -- you know, customers have at least six options for service in our particular area, not including the fringe areas where there’s very low population density.

11178 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: In your second submission of July 14th last year you provided some information about the number of households within -- that you service within your service territory that meet a current target of five megs down one meg up, but I found it interesting that you also noted that about half of your subscribers actually choose a slower package than the target package.

11179 What is the rationale for that? Is that just a pricing consideration or are there other factors at play in their decision to choose a speed below the 5-1 target?

11180 MR. VAN DIRSTEIN: A lot of people just don’t need that amount of capacity so they don’t see the need to pay an additional amount to achieve that 5-1.

11181 You know, our base package is a 3-1 -- or a 3-5-12 or something like that, and it’s sufficient for a lot of people’s needs, especially the older population, you know, that are just surfing the web and checking their email and the odd thing like that, which is kind of what we typically class as, you know, your basic service.

11182 The more advanced services and the people that are using the 5-1 are typically customers who want to do a lot of video-on-demand where they require that, you know, greater speed in order to do that.

11183 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Thank you for that.

11184 We have heard from different intervenors in the hearing that believe that we should place an increased focus and greater importance on transport and backhaul facilities in the country.

11185 And out of curiosity, in your particular circumstance have you had any problems in obtaining backhaul transport from one of the larger providers in Alberta?

11186 MR. VAN DIRSTEIN: No problems in obtaining it. Competition is limited though, but at least we have a mechanism to get to the larger markets.

11187 Up until the last year we felt pricing was out of line. There’s been some changes made that allowed us to get better pricing. We were actually looking at getting service from one of the larger telco’s in the areas we could just because we felt that the pricing model was out of line.

11188 But getting access in the communities that they’re in is not -- it’s not a problem.

11189 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Do you think that there needs to be more competition from a transport standpoint, or do you think what’s out there today is basically adequate to meet the needs and ensure reasonable pricing?

11190 MR. VAN DIRSTEIN: I guess as a human being I’m always looking for more competition because it drives the price down. I mean, obviously that helps our return on investment. I’m satisfied with the price currently though.

11191 One of the -- I’m not sure if I want to get into that. But I guess one of the drawbacks to having one main provider is the support or the customer service maybe is not the same as what you would expect from somebody who require competition to get your business. So that’s been a struggle.

11192 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Just to switch over to another topic for a minute. You noted earlier today the, you know, increased use of upstreaming and more demand on the part of your customers.

11193 Is it difficult from your standpoint to continually upgrade your facilities to ensure that you can meet your customers’ requirements? Or is the technology that you -- without getting into specifics -- is the technology and the networks relatively easily able to be upgraded to meet growing demand or growing need?

11194 MR. VAN DIRSTEIN: Well, two main factors in that. Costing, one. The cost and evolution of technology is it’s very costly. We’re constantly reinvesting large amounts of our capital to keep up with new technology and more capacity.

11195 Secondly, wireless frequency space is very limited, which is a major problem for us. You know, two of our sites we just don’t add any more customers to because we -- well, there’s been a moratorium on the frequencies that we have been getting. And they’re talking about removing those frequencies with the U.S. repack, UHF TV channels.

11196 So that’s been the biggest problem, you know. We need to have a frequency to operate the equipment on before we can even entertain the cost of replacing that equipment.

11197 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Just one final question. Setting aside the topic of spectrum, because of course that’s handled by Innovation, Science and Economic Development, if you had one request coming out of this public hearing, what would you like to see us do if you could pick your top one or your top two action items?

11198 I know it might be unusual for someone sitting in the National Capital Region to ask this question but how can we help?

11199 MR. VAN DIRSTEIN: Yeah.


11200 I’m not sure I know what to answer. I think coordination with ISED is important, you know, our livelihoods are on the line here. And if we don’t have a means to deal with some of these issues that we have I just don’t see, you know, how we can continue on.

11201 You know, people are demanding more and more service, traffic, speed, but it’s hard to know how to deliver it. And, you know, the video on demand is a want, I think, for most people and we’re just trying to decide how to deliver that in a real way.

11202 You know, the fibre optic backbone in Alberta has provided the ability for service providers to get out into these remote areas, but we’re kind of at a crossroads here on how to deliver the service. We’re looking into fibre into smaller communities to offload off of our tower network.

11203 So I’m just not sure what the answer is.

11204 And honestly, as a small provider, I’m not sure what the implications are to getting into the fibre market. You know, we almost need a monopoly to be able to pay for the infrastructure costs for a certain period of time. And if regulations say that we have to, you know, give a wholesale rate to another provider, you know, those are concerns on my mind as well. So maybe that’s the direction that the CRTC could look at as well.

11205 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Perfect. Well, I thank you for taking part and for your answers to my questions. That’s it from me. I’ll hand you back over to my colleagues.

11206 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I’ve just polled the other Commissioners on the Panel and legal and those were our questions. So thank you very much for having participated in the hearing. Very much appreciated.

11207 MR. VAN DIRSTEIN: Thanks for having me.

11208 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

11209 Madame la secrétaire?

11210 THE SECRETARY: I will now ask the Canadian Cable Systems Alliance to come to the presentation table.

11211 Please introduce yourself and your colleague. Oh, someone is coming. Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you have 15 minutes.


11212 MR. EDWARDS: Good afternoon, Commissioners. Thank you for this opportunity to speak. I’m Chris Edwards, Vice-President of Regulatory Affairs of the Canadian Cable Systems Alliance.

11213 With me, on my left, are John Piercy, President of Piercy Consulting Inc., who’s assisting CCSA on this file. And on my right, Mike Fiorini, CEO of Cable Cable Inc., a CCSA member based in Fenelon Falls, Ontario. Mike is a director of the CCSA.

11214 In many of the communities our members serve, broadband transport is available only from a single incumbent. The provision of this service has been forborne and, in such communities, the market does not provide competitive discipline.

11215 As a result, we commonly hear from members that they are unable to determine where they can connect to or actually gain access to broadband transport.

11216 In our written submission, we cited specific cases that, taken together, show a wide variance in the pricing of access to fibre backhaul depending on a member’s geographic location and the incumbent from whom they must purchase the service. Those questions of access to and pricing of broadband transport remain our over-riding concern in this proceeding.

11217 If our members are to upgrade and extend their broadband networks, there must be some mechanism to ensure that they can secure fair, consistent and reasonable access to and pricing of transport services. In response to other parties’ written submissions and to respond to the Commission’s questions in the public notice, we will offer our comments on definition of the Basic Service Objective, including broadband; cost-effective access to broadband fibre transport facilities; and contribution and subsidy mechanisms.

11218 Many commenters support the premise that some level of broadband connectivity is essential to the use by Canadians of a broad range of on-line health, education, commerce, government services and personal communications.

11219 In addition, the availability of broadband service is a critical enabler of small business activities in communities throughout the country. The existing 5 megabits downstream / 1 megabit up speed targets previously set by the Commission already are being overtaken by the bandwidth demands of available applications.

11220 The 5/1 minimum may, at this time, remain appropriate for certain remote areas for which wireline networks may never be an economically possible solution. Otherwise, the targets, in our view, should be more in the order of 10 down and 3 up. Looking five to ten years into the future, reasonable aspirational targets might be 25 megabits downstream and 5 up.

11221 There is a significant challenge for smaller operators in rolling out last mile facilities that can deliver higher speeds to customers. As the SILEC Joint Task Force has noted, provisioning such facilities “would be cost prohibitive for private sector companies in the absence of funding from the public sector”.

11222 Given those challenges, we emphasize that some form of subsidy will be required to achieve those targets in many high cost service areas. In such areas, any obligation to serve should apply only to the provisioning of subsidized services.

11223 Conversely, for high-cost areas that do not receive subsidy support, the speed targets could be established as being aspirational.

11224 CCSA recommends that the Basic Service Objective be maintained, essentially as it is today but with replacement of the existing low-speed dial-up element with a broadband element at 10 megabits per second down and 3 up, subject to the availability of subsidies in high-cost areas to help providers achieve the target speeds.

11225 Finally, we note the comments of the Joint Task Force regarding the importance of standards for technical aspects of the broadband service including elements such as jitter and especially latency.

11226 In our view, particularly with respect to lifeline applications such as e-medicine, latency is a key dimension of broadband service and a minimum service standard -- or a minimum standard should apply.

11227 CCSA believes that for broadband service to be extended to more underserved and unserved Canadians, there must be a subsidy mechanism to construct transport and distribution facilities.

11228 That is necessary because existing federal funding programs have concentrated only on capital building projects. They do not address the high operating cost of access to transport facilities on a month-to-month basis.

11229 There are three distinct issues to address: discoverability of broadband transport facilities, wholesale pricing of such facilities, and access to those network facilities.

11230 With respect to discoverability, the Commission's first role should be to identify, as it is doing, the priority underserved areas.

11231 That review should include an assessment of the state of competition and the provision of transport services to such priority areas.

11232 That review should include creation of a disclosure mechanism that would support discovery and mapping of the transport networks and connection points available to those areas.

11233 We understand that such information may be commercially sensitive and confidential. The Commission could obtain such information on a confidential basis and then act as somewhat of a matching agent with respect to access to that information.

11234 That is, there could be an arrangement whereby a locally-based provider who is seeking access to broadband backhaul in a given area could say to the Commission: “I want to upgrade or extend service in this community. To whom should I be speaking about backhaul access in my area? Where are the closest facilities and break-out points?”

11235 With respect to wholesale pricing, CCSA suggests that re-regulation of wholesale transport services would be a complete and effective response to the problems of discovery, pricing, and access in monopoly markets.

11236 If re-regulation is not an option, then we support TekSavvy’s suggestion that the Commission publish the routes of transport facilities that have been forborne. If the transport facilities are at least discoverable then potential wholesale customers have a starting point from which to work. However, that approach would not resolve issues with pricing and access.

11237 We suggest that the Commission could go farther to establish a benchmarking process that would periodically establish the competitive market prices for both lit and dark fibre facilities in various fully competitive markets.

11238 That could take the form, for example, of establishment of base competitive prices for provision of typical inter-community services in a given province or region, and then extrapolation to derive the incremental fixed and variable costs to provide service based on the number of kilometres over which transport service is to be provided.

11239 The Commission could state its expectations that reasonable pricing of a wholesale transport service should reflect the incremental cost to deliver that transport service, and reasonable pricing for connectivity to non-competitive locations should not exceed the applicable benchmark set for the relevant competitive market by more than a given percentage.

11240 The Commission could then apply those expectations to the resolution of any commercial disputes between providers and the incumbents that concern provision of such services.

11241 CCSA also notes that use of publicly funded and operated community networks such as the Supernet and the Eastern Ontario Regional Network has not been a viable answer to the problem our members have with the cost of transport services.

11242 Access Communications, for example, advises us that it would pay roughly the same price for 500 megabytes of capacity from the Saskatchewan CommunityNet as it does for 10 gig of transport capacity from Toronto to Regina.

11243 Similarly, Cable Cable found that it could build and deliver connectivity for a business customer at a small fraction of the capital and ongoing costs that the customer would pay for connection to the publicly funded regional network.

11244 With respect to access to transport facilities, the Commission could set rules concerning such matters as access rights to the incumbents’ facilities for connection to transport services, service speeds that match those internally available to the incumbent, and expected service level standards in Service Level Agreements.

11245 A number of parties have commented that targeted public funding is the appropriate response to rolling out broadband service to Canadians in unserved and underserved areas.

11246 We generally agree, but with the proviso that governmental funding programs, because they are time-limited and project oriented, tend to fund only capital projects.

11247 On the other hand, the Commission has extensive experience with, and a proven model for, subsidization of telecommunications services to high cost serving areas. CCSA supports implementation of a subsidy model for provision of broadband service to rural and remote areas based on the existing model for subsidy of telephone service to high cost serving areas.

11248 The subsidy should be used to encourage physical network investment by facilities-based providers as necessary and also to support ongoing delivery of broadband service at affordable prices to high cost serving areas.

11249 We are convinced that such a subsidy model will, in fact, encourage network investment and extension by the smaller providers that serve many of the rural and remote areas of the country. Such a subsidy model would be efficient in that it would leverage the existing resources, skills, and networks of local providers who already serve or are adjacent to many underserved or unserved communities.

11250 CCSA has developed an economic model based on the actual circumstances of Cable Cable, Mr. Fiorini’s company, which is a small provider in the Kawartha Lakes region of Ontario. This model is based on a current actual network build being undertaken by Cable Cable.

11251 The project would extend triple-play service to a small enclave of 300 homes that is 8.5 kilometres from Cable Cable’s service area -- existing service area.

11252 The model is based on actual, present-day costs to provision fibre backhaul over 8.5 kilometres and build out fibre-based local access services to customer premises.

11253 The model assumes retail service pricing identical to that offered to current customers and take-rates representative of similar builds in the same geographic area.

11254 Without subsidy, assuming those take-rate and pricing considerations, the payback on investment would take 152 months, or just over 12 and a half years to realize. The five-year net present value of cash flows for the build would be a negative $167,000.

11255 With a $15 monthly subsidy applied, the payback on investment reduces to 81 months, or 6 and three-quarter years, and the five-year net present value would be a positive $7,500.

11256 The improved payback on investment that results from subsidy would encourage investment, accelerate projects, and improve smaller providers’ access to third party project financing.

11257 Cable Cable currently has about eight small communities to which it plans to extend service with similar projects. An appropriate subsidy could greatly accelerate those projects.

11258 We also believe strongly that any physical network builds should be scalable. With average internet speeds increasing at 25 to 30 percent per year, it will be critical to ensure that any new subsidized network infrastructure should be capable of much higher speeds than the minimum “needed” service. We suggest that subsidized equipment should be capable of supporting speeds in the order of 25 megabits per second or even 100 downstream.

11259 We share Eastlink’s concern with any subsidy that is structured in a way that risks stranding investment in physical network builds. We note, as well, the comments of a number of intervenors to the effect that any subsidy mechanism should prioritize investment in wire line infrastructure.

11260 Finally, the funding should not be used to subsidize overbuilding of existing networks. The system cannot afford the efficiency of duplicating existing physical infrastructure.

11261 Rather, to the extent any subsidy funds the building of new networks, it should focus on enabling facilities-based providers to develop viable business cases for upgrading service to existing customers to meet the BSO and extending their existing networks out to customers that presently it is economically prohibitive to serve.

11262 With respect to the contribution side of the fund, CCSA acknowledges that the inclusion of internet revenues in the calculation of contribution-eligible Canadian Telecom Service revenues may be required to support this subsidy.

11263 Having said that, we agree with CNOC and TekSavvy’s comments regarding the relative uncertainty of the existing contribution regime whereby, once a provider’s CTSRs exceed $10 million, all of the provider’s voice-based revenues become contribution-eligible.

11264 We agree with those parties that a more effective approach would be to collect contribution from providers who exceed the $10 million threshold, but only on the amount of eligible revenues in excess of the threshold.

11265 We suggest, as well, that, if internet revenues are to be included in CTSRs, the Commission should review and potentially raise the contribution threshold to reflect that larger revenue base.

11266 For CCSA members, the central and critical issue remains that of access to and pricing of broadband transport facilities.

11267 Until there is reasonable access to those facilities at affordable prices, our members are effectively restrained from upgrading and extending their networks into higher cost areas around them.

11268 The solution is disclosure of available facilities and establishment of mechanisms that ensure fair and consistent access to and pricing of those facilities. Especially for priority unserved areas, that solution may include construction of new broadband transport facilities.

11269 Beyond that, independent providers, in particular, require support in extending their existing networks to meet new previously unserved customers and provide affordable ongoing service in higher cost areas. Here again, a subsidization of the cost of extending service to and of serving customers in high cost serving areas would be an appropriate solution.

11270 We think the Commission can play an important and productive role in both of those areas.

11271 That’s our presentation. Thank you very much for your time and attention and we’ll be pleased to answer your questions.

11272 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you and welcome. But before I pass you on to Vice-Chair Menzies, I really want to say that my welcome is genuine before I say what I’m about to say. You’re just coming up at the wrong time but you’re not being targeted by this.

11273 Today there was a report issued by Employment and Social Development Canada that found the proportion of women in federally regulated companies has dropped from 46 percent to 41 percent in the past 20 years. And since we’ve started this hearing we’ve faced panels like your own entirely of men. As I say, I’m not picking on you. You’re not alone in this. But, you know, and where there have been women on the panels in these telecom proceedings, they don’t have speaking roles.

11274 Now I gave a short speech last year at the Canadian Women and Communications and Technology gala that, you know, applauds the work of women in that sector. And I noted that in the fall of 2014 we held 3 major hearings. A hundred and twenty-five (125) women appeared at that hearing -- in those 3 hearings.

11275 And we calculated that of the 1.8 million words spoken, only 163,000 words were spoken by women sitting at the witness table. Fourteen (14) percent.

11276 And I called on everyone, including the CRTC, but speaking to government, to the industry and even ourselves, that we can do better.

11277 On this panel, all the women appointed by the government as commissioners are here. The CRTC, we strive to make sure that we have staff that -- yeah, there’s unfortunately only two -- that staff balance -- is balanced from a gender perspective.

11278 In any event, I know there are women in your organizations. So I repeat the call. We can do better.

11279 MR. EDWARDS: I certainly agree, Mr. Chair. I have the distinct privilege of being the only man in an office with 13 women. And I’m very well trained as a result. So I will say that.

11280 You know, the other thing that you have to balance off is that we are asked to come here with the people who have the expertise to deal with the questions.

11281 THE CHAIRPERSON: Absolutely. And I didn’t want to --

11282 MR. EDWARDS: Yeah.

11283 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- target you, but I do know that you’ve got a wonderful leadership and they’re obviously running the show. And that’s good. And they’ve sent the right people here to the hearing. It wasn’t -- you just happened to be at the wrong time when this had been a repeated situation so.

11284 MR. EDWARDS: And I would just say, for the record, we couldn’t agree more.

11285 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

11286 So Vice-Chair Menzies.

11287 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So hi, guys.

11288 Today is actually the -- this is your bad luck. Today is actually the centennial of the day women in Alberta got the vote. So there you go.

11289 Anyway, let’s move on because this is -- you guys -- yes.

11290 Thank you very much for this. This oral presentation actually advanced and flushed out a lot of things that I was actually a little confused about from the initial but that’s not unusual. So I’ve kind of reorganized my questions quite considerably around that.

11291 So can we start with the subsidy? I’m just -- I’m unclear whether you’re promoting -- and this could be wording, funding or subsidy when you -- let’s use the Fiorini example that you gave.

11292 The -- there’s a $15 monthly per subscriber subsidy that you were using for that example; right?

11293 MR. PIERCY: That’s correct.

11294 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Was there any funding for the build?

11295 MR. PIERCY: No. What we actually did here was we started off looking at this particular build to try to figure out what does the economics look like. As it stands now, Michael’s company is doing this already.

11296 And I have an investment banking background as well as an engineering background. And when he told me it was 12 1/2 years payback on his investment, I told him you could not get that funded if you went to a bank and said you wanted to borrow money to do this. They’d look at you like you were from Mars. But he’s doing it because that’s what they do. That’s what our members do this for their communities around them.

11297 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right. That’s an eight and a half kilometre build.

11298 MR. PIERCY: It’s an 8 1/2 kilometre build, plus a local build to 300 homes.

11299 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Three hundred (300) homes with a take rate of what, 40 percent?

11300 MR. PIERCY: So we assumed in this particular model a take rate of 50 percent for internet and then a lower take rate on the TV and telephony. But we actually took those revenues and applied that to get the payback. So this is a triple play service area and all the revenues are being used to pay back.

11301 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right. So an 800 kilometre build to a town of 90 people would have a return of about 125 years?

11302 MR. PIERCY: Yes, sounds like that would be about right, yeah.

11303 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. But thanks for that. So that model only conceives of a per subscriber subsidy of 50 -- you know, at a take rate of 50 percent at ---

11304 MR. PIERCY: We applied that -- you could to this as a capital offset. You could take -- this is about a half million dollar build. You could, you know, take 50 percent of that up front subsidy and then the economics would look better than they do right now. So there’s other ways of skinning the cat, but we were just trying to come up with a -- if there was a subsidy similar to the --


11306 MR. PIERCY: -- voice contribution model, what does it need to be to get this to look like a decent ---

11307 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: It’s actually really helpful to have a --

11308 MR. PIERCY: Yeah.

11309 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: -- sort of perceptual --

11310 MR. PIERCY: Yeah.

11311 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: -- example like that.

11312 Other things in terms of this, you mentioned minimum latency standard. What was -- actually, let me back up a second on the subsidy. That’s all you’re recommending is that we do is that that sort of -- the subsidy at the subscriber end?

11313 MR. PIERCY: I think this is a single model that showed a single number. I’m not sure that that applies everywhere. Back to your example of a further off net, fewer communities, is it a different number. I think a subsidy model makes sense of some type and, you know, refer -- when actually and the media was up about in France where they set a price point and then said how much do we have to pay to get that price point. They had a certain economic model.

11314 I think we’re the same. We think you need some type of subsidy model. And it can be either up front, recurring or a combination if you want to get these communities that are close to the network but not on network onto the network. Because if you wait for the economics to work right now for our members who are paying for it out of their pocket, it’s going to be a very slow rollout because they just can’t afford to be doing three or four of these at once. It just would bankrupt the company, let alone not be a very successful business plan.

11315 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right. And under that model you had, in that example, let’s use that --

11316 MR. PIERCY: Yeah.

11317 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: -- easier in that -- more fair in that example. There was a positive net present value after 81 months.

11318 MR. PIERCY: There was a break even. So that -- after 81 months you had gotten back the cash you had invested.

11319 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right. And the subsidy would end then?

11320 MR. PIERCY: That’s of one of the models and we didn’t actually -- funnily enough, when we did the net present value, we took the subsidy out on the exit date. So the way the net present value was done is five years of cash flow and then a terminal value. The terminal value did not have the subsidy in it because we didn’t think if you were selling this asset you could sell the subsidy. So we did remove it.

11321 And it might even be a ---

11322 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: No, I mean, that sounds fair because --

11323 MR. PIERCY: Yeah.

11324 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: -- especially when you’re -- this is an example about filling gaps in a sense --

11325 MR. PIERCY: Yes. Yes, it is.

11326 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: -- rather than, you know, a major builds and it seems reasonable, especially when you’ve got a fibre built in there that -- and the distance is relatively small, that that subsidy would end at some point. So it would be a subsidy to inspire the build and then disappear. Okay. Great.

11327 MR. EDWARDS: If I may, just to be clear, that’s -- this is a separate question from the whole question of funding long-haul back --

11328 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Oh we’ll get to that.

11329 MR. EDWARDS: -- backhaul.

11330 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: We’ll get to that.

11331 MR. EDWARDS: Yeah.

11332 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: You just had more examples in your oral so we’ll back to that.

11333 I just wanted to find out if that was in addition to or not.

11334 What would be the minimum latency standard applied? You suggested there should be one.

11335 MR. EDWARDS: It depends on the delivery network. If it’s wireless it’s considerably bigger; if it’s fibre it’s relatively nothing; coaxial in between somewhere in there.

11336 We do have an SLA that we could file an undertaking with you.

11337 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yeah, that would be great if you could file an undertaking with some numbers sensitive to technology.

11338 MR. EDWARDS: Sure.


11340 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Paragraph 26 of your oral presentation -- we’ll get to the mapping idea a little bit here too. But the confidentiality in terms of mapping access perhaps this could be an undertaking as well. Would you mind sort of framing some legal wording around what that might look like for us?

11341 MR. EDWARDS: I haven’t given it a lot of thought but we can undertake to provide some sort of a description of a mechanism.

11342 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I mean, it’s nothing you’re going to be legally bound to in a sense.

11343 MR. EDWARDS: Right.

11344 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: It’s an example that flushes out what that might get to. Because I looked at that and I didn’t necessarily object or accept the idea, but I did think, oh boy, there’s a whole bunch of regulation happening there.

11345 MR. EDWARDS: Yeah, perhaps I could just amplify. You know, and I think this was in -- it was either TekSavvy or CNOC’s submission as well. They had a similar proposition.

11346 And the idea is that the CRTC already gets a fair amount of information in confidence. There may be some more data elements that they require, but there’s no reason to actually divulge confidential information per se, I don’t think. I think it’s rather just helping people who are looking for networks know to whom they should be speaking and, you know, have some sense of the availability, the logical breakout points that would get them where they need to go. So I’m not sure there’s legal language required but we’ll certainly do an undertaking to think about that.

11347 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Why don’t I take it back and say it doesn’t have to be legal language?

11348 MR. EDWARDS: Okay. It’s more a mechanism?

11349 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yeah. Yes, that would be fine.

11350 MR. EDWARDS: Okay.

11351 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Just something that fills it out, fills out that process a little bit.

11352 MR. EDWARDS: We’ll accept that undertaking.


11354 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Because I looked at it and I thought, okay, you phone us and ask us, and we check back, and then we phone back and you say you should phone him. And he goes, “Fibre, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Right? And then you phone us back, and then we phone them, and you see where it goes?

11355 MR. EDWARDS: Yeah.

11356 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: It starts to become a -- I won’t describe it but I think we’ve all been there.

11357 In paragraphs 53 and 54 of your oral presentation you suggested that any subsidy should prioritize wireline, and I just want to challenge you a little bit on that. Wireline as opposed to satellite when so far the record indicates that some of the most poorly served people are those in satellite communities. And some people might say you should start there and then go there.

11358 MR. PIERCY: And I think the prioritization wasn’t necessarily a timing prioritization. It would be if in a community you can find a wireline ---


11360 MR. PIERCY: --- carrier you should go there before you do a wireless or satellite because you get future proofing using that technology. You know a wireline solution, especially a fibre one.

11361 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, I understand.

11362 MR. PIERCY: Yeah.

11363 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you. Thank you for clarifying.

11364 So in an earlier part you noted that the Connecting Canadians program is restricted to capital costs and the lease of backhaul transport isn’t included. And I take it you would like that changed so leasing costs are allowed as with Connecting Canadians satellite projects; is that correct?

11365 MR. FIORINI: I think if the subsidy is applied on the access side that that will take care of a portion of the transport costs. Additionally, if there is some kind of action taken to look at the forbearance of transport costs in the discovery and availability of access then I think that would be -- that would take care of it all together.

11366 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. I take it you’ve raised it in the past with the relevant officials?

11367 MR. EDWARDS: So I’m not completely clear on the question about the leasing side of it but I was actually thinking about something that was said this morning right now by the folks from St-André, the Mayor.

11368 And he’d made the comment that maybe it’s not as important as roads and bridges but infrastructure -- but communications infrastructure is important. And I was thinking as he said that I think it’s at least as important and maybe possibly the most important piece of infrastructure right now.

11369 So our discussions with government are more about internalizing that idea that communications, telecommunications infrastructure is truly critical infrastructure for Canada going forward. And getting that idea as part of their thinking in infrastructure funding and directing the funding programs that they have towards that.

11370 As opposed to right now, you know, Connecting Canada is a separate sort of broadband fund or the new 500 million it’s a sort of separate broadband fun. But we should be thinking about this as building necessary infrastructure.

11371 I don’t know if that answers your question or not.

11372 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: No, not quite but it does advance the conversation. Forget about the leasing aspect for a moment. When you have taken this issue to government, has it been understood and do you anticipate any changes in the way this is set up?

11373 MR. EDWARDS: So I was interested to hear Bell talk about how pleased they were to see another commitment to 500 million. We were up asking for exactly the same thing in Ottawa, and so we’re very pleased to see that funding come out.

11374 I don’t know if it will be enough to get the job done but, yes, I think it’s our message that you need to be thinking about; this as infrastructure spending and you need to be committing funds to it is getting a good reception.

11375 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And specific to the ---

11376 MR. EDWARDS: Our discussions have really been about dedicating funding to building new ---


11378 MR. EDWARDS: --- transport facilities.

11379 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right, okay, transport. Good, thank you.

11380 Now, regarding your request for us to price regulate what we call intercommunity backbone facilities, can we just clarify exactly which services you’re talking about? I think you mentioned dark fibre, the fibre Ethernet transport, IXPL, or everything?

11381 MR. PIERCY: So the answer is yes. Yeah, I think the services that we’re looking for and that our member companies are looking for to provide internet services in these areas where there’s only a single provider, they’re looking for a minimum of 100 megabits per second. But most are looking now for 1 gigabit or 10 gigabit circuits to get from that community back to the internet map somewhere where you can buy internet transit.

11382 And if you can’t get those types of facilities at those types of speeds it’s really hard for you to offer services, especially if the bandwidth of your service to your end user has a high number to it like a 10/3. Because you’ve got to add up all of those in your community plus some overbooking, and that’s what you need to get from that community back to the internet.

11383 And that’s what we’re looking for and right now it’s hard to find.

11384 And I’ll even make another point. You know, I think what SuperNet did was a wonderful thing. I think the EOWC network is a wonderful thing. But they put only 100 meg circuits in. And so if you want to buy a service now that’s 1 gigabit per second you actually have to buy 10 100 megabit circuits at the tariffed rate of 100 megabits times 10 and it becomes more cost effective again. So you need to make sure whatever you allow for backhaul has that scalability element to support the increase in your internet speeds at the end.

11385 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you. All of the above.

11386 MR. FIORINI: If I may? I don’t want to add any confusion to what John just said, but I think it’s worth noting that we already had a fixed wireless licence broadband service covering this area. We felt that there was more of an opportunity to bring fibre into the community itself. I just wanted to add that.

11387 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And just to backtrack on the disclosure of network facilities and the maps there. That apply to everyone and anything that’s there or just ILECs?

11388 MR. FIORINI: I’m willing to put my services on the map.

11389 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you. And that’s the position that’s widely held by the association.

11390 MR. FIORINI: I think I can speak for everyone in saying yes.

11391 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thanks.

11392 So when you talk about the inability to make some of these builds because of the lack of access to those networks or knowledge of where they are on the maps, do you have any estimate about -- of how much capital is -- might currently be sitting idle, waiting for this information so it could build out?

11393 MR. FIORINI: How do you mean by capital?

11394 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Well, investment capital. Like, the people are anxious to build. It would be anxious to make a build and make a connection if they had access to this -- to the information you require.

11395 MR. FIORINI: Well, if I could speak from my perspective as a small system, there's no capital available. Banks don’t like us. They don’t -- they're not interested in ---

11396 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Well then, why would I do this for you if you don’t have any money?

11397 MR. FIORINI: I do it for myself and our customers. We pay for all for all our capital bills out of cash flow. We ---

11398 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: How (inaudible) pay out of cash flow?

11399 MR. FIORINI: Yeah, we do not have huge bonus dividends, drive Lamborghinis, and I don’t own the Raptors.

11400 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yeah, I'm just trying to get an idea of what ---

11401 MR. FIORINI: So we've -- this is -- we've been doing this since 1983.

11402 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yeah, I'm just trying to get an idea of if we do this, (inaudible) some sense of the size of the positive outcome.

11403 MR. PIERCY: There are 600 systems in the CCSA membership that are satellite-fed systems now, so these are systems that actually have a cable plant but typically don’t offer internet because they can't get back to the internet. They're just using the cable plant to deliver TV signals, with which they source off satellite.

11404 So if we could solve even to half of those, the backhaul, they could light them up, because they have existing infrastructure (inaudible).

11405 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And more Canadians would have better internet and be happier people?

11406 MR. PERCY: Yes, and that's not done right now because they can't get backhaul.

11407 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Not that I was putting words in your mouth. Thanks.

11408 You also suggested -- and this was earlier; you may have mentioned it in the presentation as well -- that the central challenge we're being faced with is how to extend competitive broadband services to Canadians?

11409 Now, it's hard to disagree with that in the long term, but I'd like to get your view on whether or not it wouldn't be a good first step just to make sure everyone had reliable service of high quality, and then take the -- and then there's a hierarchy of needs there that ---

11410 MR. EDWARDS: I agree with that. The first task is to identify the places, the gaps in service, prioritize those gaps, and start working on getting the networks rolled out.

11411 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thanks.

11412 Now, the 5 and 1 that others have mentioned, you pooh-pooh a bit and you've determined 10 and 3 as a minimum, which is somewhat more -- it's closer to what some of the accessibility groups and others mention, so why 10 and 3?

11413 MR. EDWARDS: I'll turn it over to John here in a second. He'll ---

11414 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: More specifically, in term -- because there's been a great deal of ---

11415 MR. EDWARDS: Yes, and ---

11416 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- comprehensive evidence put in front of us that says 5 and 1 is all you need. Government websites, et cetera, et cetera -- I expect we'll hear more tomorrow too.

11417 MR. EDWARDS: Just as a general statement, it's a target that fits today's needs, the applications that ride, as again, some of the witnesses we heard this morning talking about automated farming operations and so on.

11418 There's a lot of concentration on residential customers in this conversation, but there are business customers, there are home businesses, and so on.

11419 The up -- the one megabit upload probably isn't enough and -- but generally, the comment is, I think that's a reasonable requirement for what's required now, right John?

11420 MR. PIERCY: And I think also we're looking that this is going to take a number of years, two or three years to roll out, to get deployed, and at the internet growing at the pace it's growing, it would be a shame to get there, then find 5 by 1 is too slow and I got to go back and do it again, potentially and potentially change out gear to get to a higher number.

11421 So we thought if you're going to do a subsidy of some type, you should be going for a speed that's going to be more satisfactory in two to three years.

11422 Also, on the business side, we're seeing more and more demand from small businesses that want to get into the cloud-based services using cloud services for MRPA and customer relationship management. There's a lot of data that gets pushed around and if your upload's only one meg and you got five or six people working in your business using these cloud services, you'll find that upload untenable from a business point of view.

11423 So we felt that a 3 meg upload was something you should be just, you know, looking for because it's going to be needed.

11424 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you. (Inaudible) just two questions too (inaudible).

11425 MR. EDWARDS: If I can add one other thing; we were having a conversation yesterday and Michael was talking about what his call centre hears these days about upload.

11426 MR. FIORINI: We receive many, many, inquiries out of our -- from people not in our service area and people in our service area looking for more and more upload. The download speeds are already there. Technology exists for 10 megs now and it will in the future. It's the uploads that people require.

11427 If you -- with 1 megabit, you know, you'll strangle your downloads just by filling all that upload, so that's -- we get -- I don't know what the count is, but we're receiving many calls on a regular basis.

11428 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you. Actually, between the two of you, you answered my next three questions as well, so it's very efficient so far.

11429 Datacam minimums?

11430 MR. FIORINI: Perhaps ---

11431 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: We've heard quite a bit about ---

11432 MR. FIORINI: Perhaps ---

11433 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- you know, it’s not so much the speed, its ---

11434 MR. FIORINI: --- (inaudible) those ---

11435 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- the whole package, and ---

11436 MR. FIORINI: Yeah, it's a -- I mean, right now we don’t offer -- we don’t impose data caps.

11437 However, with the onset of higher and higher usage, and you know, incremental costs, there may be the need down the road to look at a meter-type service.

11438 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Well, because we're anticipating -- your argument anticipates higher usage and ---

11439 MR. FIORINI: Yeah, I think with the ---

11440 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- new apps and that sort of stuff, two or three (inaudible)?

11441 MR. FIORINI: Yeah, specifically with providers in small remote areas that are using -- like, SaskaTel is a great example, and Chris can speak to that. They have very limited access to transport costs, so their customers are looking for more and more bandwidth. They're giving them as much as they can, but they keep using more and more.

11442 So -- and every incremental megabit that they have to incur or bring into that hub, it's an incremental cost to them. So it makes sense that they start looking at a metered basis, where the customer would pay beyond a certain usage.

11443 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thanks.

11444 Are you aware of any provinces in the broadband infrastructure funding business these days?

11445 MR. EDWARDS: Well, certainly in our written submission we referred to a couple of examples where our members faced some high pricing in B.C. and the government stepped in to make that more reasonable, but we haven't looked across the provinces to see who has which fund.

11446 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, because I know you mentioned the federal.

11447 In terms of any funds, you -- funding that might be created for infrastructure or transport or anything else, I guess, in terms of that, but didn’t apply, other than the subsidy that might apply to the subscriber, you mentioned that your members are more efficient, generally, than others.

11448 So I just want to get a sense of what -- notwithstanding the other issue, the previous issue -- what your members' experience may have been with -- why that shouldn't have come out -- been more evident in the reverse-auction process or whether any of your members have benefited from the federal funding in that regard, and what they were able to achieve, if they did.

11449 MR. EDWARDS: So I'm not sure I can speak to more efficient use of funds by members, if that's your question.

11450 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Well, no, it was -- you were generally more efficient, so I thought that in the reverse-auction process it might favour you.

11451 MR. FIORINI: I can tell you, we've participated in a couple of, I guess, programs and we just couldn't meet the timelines. The -- some of the requirements were onerous.

11452 For instance, a security bond on construction, that's huge for a small system to take -- undertake, even with a -- it's beyond a 20-day timeline.

11453 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Especially if the banks don’t like you.

11454 MR. FIORINI: Yeah, especially if the banks don’t like us.

11455 And you know, even a commercial letter of credit, which I'm sure we could scrape together somehow with the proper bank facility, even that wasn’t acceptable.

11456 The timeline was, I believe, a month to submit the proposal, and the people I spoke to said you couldn’t -- you could not become qualified inside that timeline.

11457 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So for one reason or another it’s fair to say that this funding has been inaccessible to your membership?

11458 MR. FIORINI: Yeah.

11459 MR. EDWARDS: Are we talking about Connect Canada funding here?


11461 MR. EDWARDS: Yeah, so ---

11462 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Well, I don’t know about any others.

11463 MR. EDWARDS: The digital 150 round, the one that happened over the last couple of years, CCSA actually retained a consultant to help our members apply for the funding.

11464 The red tape involved with the application itself we spoke with Industry Canada before that round actually started to happen and they actually reduced the complexity of that application process quite a bit after conversation with us.

11465 So we retained a consultant. We had I think maybe about 80 applications for projects, and in the end I think our members got funding for about 42 individual projects.

11466 So that did work better, and we’re hoping to continue working with Innovation and Science to get the process more easily penetrable by our members and to help them. And we’ll continue to help our members through that process when these funding tranches come around.

11467 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Thank you again for a very precise presentation and for -- particularly today for filling in a lot of the gaps there. It really allowed for something much more targeted and we appreciate it.

11468 So those are my questions. My colleagues may have some.

11469 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Molnar?

11470 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Good afternoon.

11471 I want to go back to the business case. You mentioned in your business case that you assumed 50 percent adoption of internet, 40 percent of overlay services like voice and TV.

11472 MR. FIORINI: The overlay voice and TV were significantly less. If we go into an area ---

11473 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So are you planning to build in an area that’s already served? Is that why you have those levels of adoption?

11474 MR. FIORINI: Served -- so you brought up ---

11475 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: They have internet access today?

11476 MR. FIORINI: They have wireless, and that’s through us and through Xplornet. But we find there’s a market opportunity for bringing them in bigger bandwidth and through fibre to the home.

11477 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So you’re providing wireless in that community already?

11478 MR. FIORINI: Yes.

11479 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So you’re looking here at an incremental business plan then over and above ---

11480 MR. FIORINI: This is called a forklift upgrade if you want to. It could be called that.

11481 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Right. So the business model you’re looking at here is looking at upgrading from wireless to fibre -- fibre-coax?

11482 MR. FIORINI: Yes.


11484 MR. FIORINI: Fibre.

11485 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And by upgrading you’re assuming 50 percent greater adoption of internet?

11486 MR. FIORINI: Yes.


11488 And with your existing service -- wireless service -- is Xplornet wireless or satellite?

11489 MR. FIORINI: Yes, Xplornet’s wireless.

11490 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Oh, so they have -- do they have -- are they using like an LTE technology in there?

11491 MR. FIORINI: Not in that area, as far as I know, but it’s coming.

11492 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. And you’re using -- give me an example of the service you have in there today.

11493 MR. FIORINI: For the wireless service we use a 3.5 gigahertz licence spectrum. We are ---

11494 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And what are you offering to customers?

11495 MR. FIORINI: We’re rolling out LTE services as we speak. However, we currently have in place an RF-based wireless. It’s a DOCSIS-based technology. So our speeds are three down one up and five down one up.

11496 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And that’s what you’re looking to upgrade to fibre?

11497 MR. FIORINI: Yes.


11499 MR. FIORINI: We just ---

11500 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Well, it might be a little hard. I understand you’ve done the business plan and making a commitment with your own money, but in a community of 300 to upgrade against competitive suppliers ---

11501 MR. FIORINI: I’m taking bets.


11503 MR. FIORINI: I’ll take some bets on that. We’re going to be just fine.


11505 MR. FIORINI: I’m pretty confident.

11506 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Yeah, and I’m not suggesting you don’t make the investment, but I can understand why it would be a harder business case to meet.

11507 MR. FIORINI: Very.

11508 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. And I know you’ve discussed it with the Vice-Chair on the transport, but I have an interest in this transport because I’ve asked a few people through this proceeding and some folks -- like I talked to TekSavvy and they talked about this issue of discoverability, and I talked to somebody the next day and they said no that’s not an issue, so I’m hearing different stories.

11509 I’ll accept that you consider it to be an issue even knowing what is available within ---

11510 MR. FIORINI: I’m relatively available. We play nice with our competitors in our area. I know where Cogeco has their facilities, and I know, to some degree, where Bell has theirs, and more along the lines with respect to Bell winning the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus RFP, so that is public knowledge.


11512 MR. FIORINI: What’s not public knowledge is the process or the pricing. It’s very tough to get to. Weeks -- there’s many -- there’s a lot of delays. There’s exponential non-recurring costs involved, and obviously the recurring charges are even -- they’re escalated as well.

11513 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So discoverability isn’t necessarily the issue, discovering the place?

11514 MR. FIORINI: In some cases with Cogeco because I -- just because I’ve been working with them since forever whereas Bell I have not, so it’s hard to tell where Bell’s facilities are. We know where their central office is located and that is about it.


11516 MR. PIERCY: I would say that I think ---

11517 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: This is a question I’m going to ask others.

11518 MR. PIERCY: It also depends on who you are and what territory you’re in and who you’re dealing with. So we have a number of examples mainly out west where our members have asked “can I get connectivity to this town” and be told “no, we don’t have facilities” and then we find out later they do have facilities and they just didn’t want to enable a competitor.

11519 Because what they are doing is you’re buying from the person who you’re also competing with in delivery of service or may be competing with and they’re trying to get there before you. And so that’s why discovery is a bit of an issue, not all over and not with every one of our members but with a large number of our members.

11520 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I’ll need to do some background on here -- on this, but as I sit here I really am not sure I understand why it has to be competitively sensitive who has facilities -- backhaul facilities or transport facilities through Canada. I mean ---

11521 MR. FIORINI: I agree. I don’t know why it has to be so sensitive ---


11523 MR. FIORINI: --- and so quiet and hush-hush, but ---

11524 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I understand we don’t want to put it all on a map and show the points, you know, for the world to see.

11525 MR. FIORINI: Why not?

11526 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Well, maybe we don’t want that, but ---

11527 MR. FIORINI: Something close to that.

11528 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: But, yeah, it isn’t clear to me.

11529 You don’t know why it’s competitively sensitive?

11530 I’m going to ask some of the people that are holding these facilities too.

11531 MR. FIORINI: They’d be the ones to ask.

11532 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Yeah. And so where there is one provider it would be your view that that should be a regulated product?

11533 MR. EDWARDS: I mean, our presentation said that we thought that re-regulation where those markets are non-competitive would be an answer. I guess we’re not certain that that’s practically available as a regulatory response and so we’ve tried to suggest other mechanisms that might work.

11534 But certainly, in theory, if there’s no competition in a market and those facilities are not becoming available as a result or not equitably priced as a result then yeah re-regulation would be the thing to do.

11535 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And as we’re talking about some essentially fibre -- I mean that’s what we’re talking here -- fibre transport -- is there any reason to believe that the costs in these non-competitive routes would be that much different, the actual cost if they should be that much different than they are in other parts of Canada?

11536 MR. FIORINI: Well, from our perspective, I think that they know that where the high cost serving area is and low cost serving area is, and it’s easier to get more competition into a low cost serving area.

11537 Toronto is filled with fibre providers. The Kawartha Lakes is ---

11538 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I know, and I don’t want to -- I understand that the price is less in Toronto, but actually installing fibre, you know, I mean it’s distance sensitive, but not hugely distance sensitive so ---

11539 MR. FIORINI: The economies get better as you add more mileage.

11540 MR. PIERCY: We don’t think there’s significant difference between, you know, a build to a non-competitive area or the cost to provide a service there into a competitive area. It’s the same fibre, you use the same labour.

11541 There’s mileage sensitivity to the build, we understand that, but the electronics on there, the cost of the fibre that’s standard. They don’t charge different, so.

11542 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Exactly. I mean that’s the wonderful -- I can’t even say that. That’s the great world of digital; right?

11543 MR. PIERCY: Yes, yes.

11544 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: You know? You get rid of some of these distances so ---

11545 MR. EDWARDS: And that was really the thinking behind this concept of benchmarking, is you look at fully competitive markets, you know, what’s the pricing there.

11546 And realistically we can’t think of a reason why, you know, in these non-competitive markets it should be 100 percent more costly to provide those facilities, for instance.

11547 Maybe 10 percent but ---

11548 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: You have provided a pretty interesting example here with Access, so I suppose maybe there will be people coming forward later, such as SaskTel who runs the community net too, who can maybe explain why there would be such significant differences in costs or prices.

11549 MR. EDWARDS: So I think John can speak to this better than I, but I guess the point I wanted to make is we’re not necessarily alleging an anti-competitive practice here.

11550 I think it’s more about the technology upon which those networks were built and it’s just a fact of how it was done.

11551 MR. PIERCY: All of these networks were built eight years ago. I think Super-Net they said 9-10 years ago.

11552 And when they did this 100 megabits was considered to be blazing speed, so they were designed and built to deliver 100 megabits circuits to the end-user.

11553 So now when you need a 1 gigabit circuit you’ve got to buy 10 of these 100 megs circuits and put a device in to aggregate it back up to give yourself a 1 gig circuit.

11554 So it’s almost we picked the wrong technology and we should have bet on a 1 gig becoming the norm, but we didn’t and now what they’re doing is they’re saying if you want 5 of these 100 megs circuits it’s 5 times the price.

11555 And you know with bandwidth typically 1 gigabit costs you about the same price as 250 megabits. As you start going up in speed the cost per bit goes down significantly.

11556 That doesn’t happen in these community networks, because they’re built on $800 per 100 megabits connection and so if you need multiple you just pay multiple times $800 and it gets very expensive.

11557 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay so you have actually confused me now.

11558 When you say they were built on those connections --

11559 MR. PIERCY: Well they were -- they were ---

11560 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: -- one of the promises of fibre is it is scalable and future-proof.

11561 MR. PIERCY: But a lot of these networks when they committed to what we deliver to a third party, it was I will do an $800 100 megabits connection and that’s what these were launched more than 10 years go..

11562 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Yes, so it’s the pricing, it’s not the cost.

11563 MR. PIERCY: But a lot of them then deployed equipment where the line cards are all 100 megs line cards. So they actually deployed physical infrastructure that doesn’t allow them to offer a 1 gig circuit or a wavelength connection, because that was never envisioned when these networks were designed.

11564 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: But it’s scalable?

11565 MR. PIERCY: Well the backbone is infinitely scalable.

11566 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: You can replace line cards.

11567 MR. PIERCY: You’ve got to replace line cards or put in new electronics and --


11569 MR. PIERCY: -- I just heard actually the ER network has been asking for an upgrade amount to do that, to actually upgrade it from 100 megs to 1 gig.

11570 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. Well thank you. Those are my questions.

11571 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

11572 Well that conversation opens up a field I wanted to deal with. I mean, ideally we should always be planning for the future within reasonable predictability.

11573 Sometimes I wonder if, you know, I wish a few years back when I had built my house I had put in a 240 plug in my garage so that it would make more sense to have a rechargeable vehicle, but I probably wouldn’t even have thought of that even if somebody had said that’s something I should do.

11574 But it brings me to the comments I was making earlier this week about maybe having to think about all regulatory role within a broader context and of a strategy -- a Canadian strategy.

11575 And I appreciate that with your large membership, turning around a presentation last minute would have been a bit of a challenge.

11576 And plus, you know, we give you a certain amount of time to make a presentation and you had regulatory points to make. I appreciate that.

11577 But I will ask you if you had some thoughts on a broader strategy in which we should -- we have a part, we’re not the only players but there are others and what should that be?

11578 Now you could -- if you’re saying to me that, you know, we need a little bit more time, that’s fair and we can do it through an undertaking.

11579 But this morning I was asking, you know, when you do public policy and strategies overall, you look at the current state, you probably do a swat analysis of some sort, you look at the environment, then you think about where you want to be, you know, within a reasonable timeframe. Then you do a gap analysis between current state, future state. I mean, businesses do this as well. It’s not just a regulatory policy.

11580 Then you create specific action plans, some of which will be the CRTC’s, some of which maybe someone else’s to address that broader gap analysis and then over time you evaluate how you’re doing to getting to that objective and do some course correction if required.

11581 So thinking of that and all the issues I identified earlier this week, as I say they’re not always CRTC bailiwick, but some have called on us to maybe give recommendations to those that maybe are responsible for these.

11582 I was wondering if you have anything to share at this point or later on?

11583 MR. EDWARDS: So I guess, you know, the first couple of stages of that cycle you just took us through, are really looking -- defining what the problem is and prioritizing elements of the problem and so the mapping exercise at the start is very important.

11584 At a certain point you do run up against what is the CRTC’s jurisdiction versus other governmental bodies and so on.

11585 I certainly see a role in ---

11586 THE CHAIRPERSON: But just on that, let’s make sure that ---

11587 MR. EDWARDS: Yes.

11588 THE CHAIRPERSON: In the past we have given reports, more broad reports.

11589 MR. EDWARDS: Yes.

11590 THE CHAIRPERSON: On the state of play, even though we may not be the ones actually implementing the regulations.

11591 MR. EDWARDS: Yes, exactly.

11592 THE CHAIRPERSON: It was quite common in the nineties. We recognize that we have limited jurisdiction.

11593 MR. EDWARDS: Exactly and I think that’s a key element of where I was going is, you know, it’s looking at the unserved, underserved areas, making sure you know where those are and then it’s prioritising as best you can.

11594 And then I do think probably that takes the form of some sort of reporting to the line departments and government or to parliament, however that goes.

11595 So that they understand -- and that becomes a first step in hopefully developing some sort of coordinated approach among the various governmental bodies.

11596 So for instance settling on standards for speed, latencies, other technical characteristics; you know?

11597 A report could recommend that industry Canada when it’s doing its funding programs needs to -- you know everybody needs to be working to the same standards and the same objectives and hopefully to the same prioritized list of the regions, or communities, or whatever it is, that that government wants to approach.

11598 So I think the CRTC can play a tremendous role in defining that part and then you get up to the level of -- and so then there’s the stage of, you know, Industry Canada and the CRTC.

11599 For instance coordinating, you know, operational subsidy versus capital building programs and so on. That’s all fine and I think that works.

11600 The part where I think it gets trickiest is when the provinces and the municipalities -- when you consider the sorts of programs they’re running, the initiatives they’re undertaking and how do you get that all coordinated so that right across the board the resources are being applied consistent with the recommended plan that came out of the CRTC for instance and now has been adopted by the ministers or whatever it is, over by parliament.

11601 And I don’t know how you do that part. That’s what I keep bumping up when I think about it. And I think if some of these examples we gave in our written submission where we say well a member was looking to apply for Connect Canada funding and then he realized, you know, he called up the incumbent and said what am I going to pay for bandwidth so I can serve these extra 250 homes and he found out there was no business case for it.

11602 And then somehow the province gets involved and the cost comes down to be reasonable, and so maybe something works, but that’s a tremendously inefficient process.

11603 And the part I hadn’t been able to get my head around yet is how you looped the municipalities, the wardens, the provincial governments all into a process other than some sort of conference where everybody buys into a plan.


11605 MR. EDWARDS: Having said that, you know, much of what Mr. Price said earlier today was very interesting as an approach. I guess that’s the other thing I ---

11606 THE CHAIRPERSON: I appreciate that not everybody follows. It reminds me of sometimes you’re in a group of friends and you’re discussing where you should go for dinner and you waste 30 minutes figuring it out and rather than doing anything and it’s because nobody’s stepping up.

11607 Yeah, it’s not ideal, maybe not everybody will go, but in the end, not deciding is worse than deciding on something that now everybody buys in because you at least have something. And that’s a bit -- in the spirit I was raising my points the other day, is that there’s a vacuum.

11608 And you folks or some of your representatives had participated, for instance, in the previous report process back in 2002, I think, ’03, or something like that. Governor General Johnson authored at the end. But at least we have that. And I guess an action involves -- could include making sure we have the right governance around it to make sure that people are buying into it.

11609 But just saying it’s too hard to fix because it’s like herding cats -- herding cats is not impossible, it is actually -- it may be complex, it may be complicated, but I’m sure we have the science for it.

11610 And it’s a bit the same sort of call I’m giving here because there are issues, I don’t know if -- some people have raised poverty issues, skilled development in remote areas, literacy, digital literacy type issues, even knowledge of what people should have and mean because it’s not intuitive at this point.

11611 There’s a whole bunch of issues that we keep having, showing up on our shores because we run regular public consultations where it’s open, transparent and there’s very little barrier to entry in the hearing room or participation and there’s a frustration, at least on my part, and I think my colleagues on the Panel here, that we keep having these issues wash on our shores and nobody is doing anything about it.

11612 MR. EDWARDS: So again, just thinking about, if I try and make it concrete to myself what a report to the minister would look like or department, one thing that can be done is to clearly carve away the social welfare issues from the issues that, you know, the issues that you -- that taxpayers or Canadians and citizens should be resolving as opposed to those that the industry and the Commission itself should be resolving. So that might be one way of delineating issues.

11613 There was something else I wanted to raise, and it actually goes to what the previous presenter was saying and another thing -- another area focus in the coordination realm is this whole question of public funds being used to overbill existing networks.

11614 And I think that’s got to be a real focus. And so we’ve seen some of this as well, I think some of the Eastern Ontario Regional Network, actually, overbilled Mike’s area. So this is an inefficient use of resources given a limited pot available.

11615 And so I think maybe that’s something else that the Commission could at least start the conversation on is why are we working against each other and how do we afford duplicating or overriding resources.

11616 And just the other part of that, I think, just quite a specific point I wanted to raise, the mapping exercise that’s going on -- and we’ve dealt with hexagons since back in the deferral accounts proceeding, there needs to be some sort of clear challenge mechanism for somebody, I guess publication and challenge mechanism.

11617 A lot of these small operators don’t caught on to the fact that their area is showing up as served or whether it is unserved on a map when they’re in fact providing some level of service there. Or it may just not quite meet the criteria that innovation and science has set for service.

11618 And so I think there’s probably a requirement for some sort of publication and challenge process to make sure that we really do know where the surface is.

11619 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well certainly, from our perspective, we were open to that that it’s supposed to be an Evergreen document so, if there is that.

11620 But I’m -- I guess I’m calling on you to help us figure out what that is. I mean, you bring me perspective that is rather quite important in light of where you’re operating to this gap and so I very much would appreciate it.

11621 MR. FIORINI: Well, at the risk of getting another one from Chris, I really like the Industry Canada first come, first serve model. If they are competitors in the area with that same licensing, you can undertake a first come, first serve prior to them entering the market.

11622 So we did that. We did the 3.5 spectrum first come, first serve licence. We were the first ones to launch it in the area, then the auction came along. We maintain that first come, first serve spectrum and we’re still enjoying it today.

11623 So that works on a micro basis. So you take certain hexagons on the map and you drive down into those -- further into those hexagons. There’s areas that are not served, even though that hexagon is painted red or pink or whatever the colour is for served, it’s not all served. So there are areas.

11624 So I was giving the example to these gentlemen earlier today, say well, there’s a street with 25 houses down and our fibre goes right by it. There’s an opportunity.

11625 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. So conscious that maybe you didn’t have time to consult as a group because you’re an association, would you be able to undertake to propose, from your perspective, it’s always from your perspective, how we could develop, or at least the issues we should consider to ensure a coordinated, collaborative, open, transparent broadband strategy?

11626 MR. FIORINI: I smell a working group. It might boil down to that. It seemed to have worked in several other hearings, so I’m not opposed to that. But as a membership, I think that we can do something, put some kind of suggestion forward. We’ll see, I guess.


11628 MR. EDWARDS: I’m not sure if I can do this, but I’m a little cautious about taking that on as an undertaking for May 5th, and I wonder if that’s something we could address in our final comments, which come a couple of weeks later?

11629 THE CHAIRPERSON: You certainly can. This was going to be my second question. You’re an expert in these proceedings. There’s a page limitation for the final comments. Do you have any procedural suggestions for us? Because we’ve sort of added a few issues.

11630 MR. EDWARDS: I’m not sure I understand the question.

11631 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you think you can address everything that I’ve just asked in final comments with the page limitation?

11632 MR. EDWARDS: Yes.

11633 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. As long as that’s clear. That’s good. We’ll see what others might think. Okay. Good. Thank you.

11634 I believe those are all our questions. Thank you very much. And please don’t think I was just picking on you with my earlier comments. I certainly wasn’t.

11635 MR. FIORINI: My mother, my aunts, my sisters, my cousins are going to thank you later, I’m sure.

11636 THE CHAIRPERSON: Indeed. Well brought up. That’s good too. Thank you.

11637 Madame la secrétaire?

11638 THE SECRETARY: Mr. Phillips is not in the room so his intervention will be on the public record.


11640 THE SECRETARY: So this finishes the day.

11641 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right. Donc nous avons aucun autre intervenant aujourd’hui. Donc nous sommes en ajournement jusqu’à 9h30 demain matin.

11642 So we’re adjourned until 9 -- listen carefully, 9:30 tomorrow morning.

--- Upon adjourning at 3:56 p.m.


Sean Prouse

Mathieu Bastien-Marcil

Lucie Morin-Brock

Renée Vaive

Lyne Charbonneau

Karen Pare

Ian Schryber

Krista Campbell

Kathy Poirier

Karen Noganosh

Mathieu Philippe

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