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TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE
THE CANADIAN RADIO‑TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DEVANT
LE CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
SUBJECT / SUJET:
Expedited procedure for resolving a competitive issue -
Telecom application /
Procédure accélérée de règlement des questions de
concurrence - Demande de télécom
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Conference Centre Centre de conférences
Outaouais Room Salle Outaouais
140 Promenade du Portage 140, Promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec Gatineau (Québec)
January 18, 2008 Le 18 janvier 2008
In order to meet the requirements of the Official Languages
Act, transcripts of proceedings before the Commission will be
bilingual as to their covers, the listing of the CRTC members
and staff attending the public hearings, and the Table of
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded
verbatim transcript and, as such, is taped and transcribed in
either of the official languages, depending on the language
spoken by the participant at the public hearing.
Afin de rencontrer les exigences de la Loi sur les langues
officielles, les procès‑verbaux pour le Conseil seront
bilingues en ce qui a trait à la page couverture, la liste des
membres et du personnel du CRTC participant à l'audience
publique ainsi que la table des matières.
Toutefois, la publication susmentionnée est un compte rendu
textuel des délibérations et, en tant que tel, est enregistrée
et transcrite dans l'une ou l'autre des deux langues
officielles, compte tenu de la langue utilisée par le
participant à l'audience publique.
Canadian Radio‑television and
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des
Transcript / Transcription
Expedited procedure for resolving a competitive issue -
Telecom application /
Procédure accélérée de règlement des questions de
concurrence - Demande de télécom
BEFORE / DEVANT:
Leonard Katz Chairperson / Président
Michel Arpin Commissioner / Conseiller
Elizabeth Duncan Commissioner / Conseillère
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:
Julian Brainerd Acting Manager, Competition Implementation and Technology / Gestionnaire par intérim, mise en oeuvre de la concurrence et technologie
Danny Moreau Senior Analyst, Competition
Peter Kwok Implementation and
Technology / Analyste
principal, mise en ouvre
de la concurrence et
Regan Morris Legal Counsel /
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Conference Centre Centre de conférences
Outaouais Room Salle Outaouais
140 Promenade du Portage 140, Promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec Gatineau (Québec)
January 18, 2008 Le 18 janvier 2008
- iv -
TABLE DES MATIÈRES / TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
Opening remarks by Bell Canada 4 / 18
Opening remarks by Vidéotron Ltée 12 / 59
Questions by the Commission 19 / 87
Examination by Bell Canada 61 / 318
Examination by Vidéotron Ltée 65 / 351
Questions by the Commission 72 / 401
Closing remarks by Vidéotron Ltée 98 / 587
Closing remarks by Bell Canada 103 / 611
Submissions by Vidéotron Ltée 109 / 636
Gatineau, Quebec / Gatineau (Québec)
‑‑‑ Upon commencing on Friday, January 18, 2008
at 0909 / L'audience débute le vendredi
18 janvier 2008 à 0909
LISTNUM 1 \l 11 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning. I think all the participants are here, so let us begin.
LISTNUM 1 \l 12 Bonjour et bienvenue à tous. Je suis Len Katz, vice‑président des Télécommunications de CRTC, et je présiderai cette audience.
LISTNUM 1 \l 13 Mes collègues Michel Arpin, vice‑président de la Radiodiffusion, et Elizabeth Duncan, conseillère pour la Région de l'Atlantique, siégeront avec moi.
LISTNUM 1 \l 14 Over the course of this hearing we will be assisted by a number of Commission staff, including Regan Morris, our Legal Counsel; Julian Brainerd, Acting Manager of Competition Implementation and Technology; Danny Moreau, Senior Analyst, Competition Implementation and Technology; and Peter Kwok, Senior Analyst, Competition Implementation and Technology; who are all sitting here this morning.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15 Please don't hesitate to contact Mr. Morris if you have any procedural questions with respect to the conduct of this hearing.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16 The purpose of this oral public hearing is to adjudicate Bell Canada Part VII application regarding Vidéotron's practices of disconnecting Bell Canada's network from residential inside wire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 17 Before I begin, I would like to say a few words about the administration of this hearing.
LISTNUM 1 \l 18 This hearing, as you know, is less formal than traditional Telecom hearings and much more narrow in scope. Due to the expedited nature, only the parties have been invited to attend this hearing.
LISTNUM 1 \l 19 The parties will be asked first to introduce the members of their respective teams. The Applicant, followed by the Respondent, will have 10 minutes each for opening remarks.
LISTNUM 1 \l 110 Following these remarks, the Applicant and then the Respondent will be questioned on matters related to the application, first by the Commission, followed by the Applicant, then the Respondent, and ending with the Commission's final questions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 111 The Commission will not entertain written final argument. Rather, parties will have 10 minutes at the end of the hearing to make final oral submissions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 112 In its letter dated the 3rd of December 2007 confirming the present oral public hearing, the Commission indicated that the parties must file all documents with the Commission and serve them on the other parties prior to the hearing. We are therefore not inclined to accept any additional documents at this stage.
LISTNUM 1 \l 113 We intend to issue a written decision on or before January 29th, 2008.
LISTNUM 1 \l 114 There is a verbatim transcript of the hearing being taken by the court reporter. In order to ensure the court reporter is able to produce an accurate transcript, please make sure that your microphone is turned on when speaking simply by pushing the button under the microphone.
LISTNUM 1 \l 115 If you have any questions on how to obtain all or parts of this transcript, please approach the court reporter at the end of the hearing.
LISTNUM 1 \l 116 We would like all of you to know that cell phones and pagers should be turned off at this point in time. In fact, I have not even brought my cell phone in, which is probably startling to my staff here.
LISTNUM 1 \l 117 Nous allons maintenant débuter avec les observations préliminaires de la requérante Bell Canada. Merci.
OPENING REMARKS BY BELL CANADA
LISTNUM 1 \l 118 MR. LÉGER: Good morning, commissioners Katz, Arpin and Duncan, staff members and members from the Vidéotron team.
LISTNUM 1 \l 119 I am Jean‑François Léger. I am with Bell Canada Regulatory Matters.
LISTNUM 1 \l 120 To my extreme left is John Wundele, Associate Director, Field Operations, Bell Canada; and to John's right is Mike Cole, Senior Vice‑President, Mass Markets, Bell Canada.
LISTNUM 1 \l 121 Those of you who were here the last time we and Vidéotron appeared before the Commission late in '06 regarding the same issue will be familiar with our panel members.
LISTNUM 1 \l 122 Since we were last before the Commission, Canada has been quickly moving away from a regulatory regime that had more rules and towards one in which there are fewer rules but more competition and more consumer choice. Suppliers such as Vidéotron have acquired hundreds of thousands of telephony customers and have become major participants in the marketplace.
LISTNUM 1 \l 123 What we are here to talk about, however, is the customers, not the suppliers. In the current regulatory environment, the consumer, broadly defined, should be at the top of the food chain.
LISTNUM 1 \l 124 On numerous occasions the Commission has emphasized the importance of the customer. It is one thing, however, to say we will give greater priority to customers, quite another to actually do it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 125 We are here, once again, before the Commission to seek the Commission's assistance to resolve what we believe to be a significant threat to consumer choice.
LISTNUM 1 \l 126 Vidéotron's current installation procedures when it acquires a telephony customer from Bell virtually guarantee that should the customer ever want to migrate to another facilities‑based service provider, that customer will face inconvenience, a potentially lengthy service technician visit and possibly also significant costs.
LISTNUM 1 \l 127 For many years now Bell Canada has been installing devices at customer premises which permit the customer and a competitor such as Vidéotron to easily disconnect the customer's inside wire from Bell's network.
LISTNUM 1 \l 128 Although we have not been tracking the deployment of these tele‑adaptable NIDs, nearly half of single‑family dwelling customer premises have been equipped with such devices. However, not all single‑family premises have been equipped with such devices and we recognize that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 129 From the outset, some two years ago, we have been asking Vidéotron to use tele‑adaptable NIDs where they are in place when they disconnect the customer's inside wire from our network and to install a tele‑adaptable NID where none is already present.
LISTNUM 1 \l 130 The last time we were before you we had agreement from Vidéotron that such devices should be installed. Discussions broke down, however, because Vidéotron did not want to assume the cost of the devices it installs. That was a year and a half ago.
LISTNUM 1 \l 131 Vidéotron's installation procedures and the extent of the damages it has been inflicting on customer inside wire and on our own installations have not changed. Vidéotron continues to argue that, because it needs to conduct premises visits when it installs telephone services in its new telephony customer's premises, Bell Canada should expect to do the same if it wins back those customers.
LISTNUM 1 \l 132 The flaw with that reasoning, however, is that nothing Bell Canada has done in the past has caused Vidéotron to conduct premises visits when it installs its cable telephony service. In contrast, because of Vidéotron's installation practices, virtually anytime at telephony customer wants to leave Vidéotron and go to another competitor premises visit to repair the damage caused by Vidéotron will be needed.
LISTNUM 1 \l 133 In the current proceeding Vidéotron has argued that Bell Canada is simply trying to impose its own demarcation practices, more specifically its demarcation point on the cable company. Vidéotron has also argued that Bell is trying to impose its own network architecture on its competitor. Vidéotron argues, in short, that Bell Canada is simply locked into "monopoly thinking."
LISTNUM 1 \l 134 All of these assertions are incorrect. Bell Canada is not trying to impose its own or anyone else's network demarcation practices on Vidéotron, nor is Bell Canada trying to impose its network architecture. Vidéotron has painted a picture in which the adoption of a standard device to facilitate the disconnection of inside wire would force it to, in its words, "run new inside wiring" and "drill holes in walls and floors." This is also incorrect.
LISTNUM 1 \l 135 The reality is, as Vidéotron itself has shown in the technical documentation it has filed in this proceeding, that in an overwhelming majority of homes no holes or new wiring would be required to install a NID or indeed to install a switching voice module, commonly known as SVM.
LISTNUM 1 \l 136 Vidéotron today is already connecting its network to the inside wire at a common point of interface to the inside wire, which is typically located close to the existing telephone company demarcation point. We are not asking Vidéotron to do anything different. John will be pleased to explain what we mean by this.
LISTNUM 1 \l 137 From the outset in this proceeding we have been speaking about the network damage that we are incurring as well as the damage that Vidéotron is leaving behind in the customer's inside wire. This is not, as Vidéotron argues, a minor point. We have been encountering damage to our protectors, our drop wires and there is no sign that the damage is diminishing.
LISTNUM 1 \l 138 We have continued to make periodic verifications, although this is not what our installers are hired to do. But we have been sampling installations and what we are finding is there is no diminishing of the instances in which we are finding that repairs will be required.
LISTNUM 1 \l 139 Once again, repairing this damage is not a minor issue, contrary to what Vidéotron argues. Repairing the damage means inconvenience and potentially costs for customers. Vidéotron's current practices inhibit customer choice. As I stated earlier, we need to focus on the customer.
LISTNUM 1 \l 140 In this proceeding we have proposed the adoption by Vidéotron and ourselves of a device which would significantly simplify the migration by customers from one service provider to another. This is known as a switching voice module, as I mentioned earlier, or SVM.
LISTNUM 1 \l 141 Once an SVM has been installed migration of the inside wire from one network to the other would be considerably simplified. Indeed, it could occur without requiring a customer premises visit.
LISTNUM 1 \l 142 Vidéotron should understand the implications of this for itself, for its customers as well as for competition more generally. Vidéotron, however, appears to be motivated solely by the notion that anything that represents an additional cost in relation to what it does today is bad and should not be adopted.
LISTNUM 1 \l 143 We believe that the benefits to customers and to competition of installing SVMs outweigh any potential additional costs associated with these devices. We also believe, however, that once a standard device is adopted there may be very little additional costs to incur. We note in this respect as well that cable companies in the U.S., for example, have already realized this and are implementing similar devices.
LISTNUM 1 \l 144 The damages to our network and to the customer's inside wire need to stop. Vidéotron has already agreed on a previous occasion that the installation of NIDs in those instances in which they are not already present is desirable. We have been installing NIDs for many years and have thereby simplified the disconnection of our network from the inside wire for competitors.
LISTNUM 1 \l 145 Although Vidéotron has, in the past, denied that it benefits from the presence of teladaptable device, the simple fact is that when its installer is at customer premises to provide service the company, that is Vidéotron, benefits when all the installer has to do to isolate the inside wire network is to disconnect a jack.
LISTNUM 1 \l 146 We are simply asking the Commission to extend to Vidéotron the same standards it has imposed on us. All of this for the convenience of the customer. We are also asking the Commission to mandate the adoption of SVMs. And we are prepared to work with Vidéotron regarding the adoption of standard designs and procedures. Again, all for the convenience of customers.
LISTNUM 1 \l 147 Do we have anything to add? Those are my comments. We will be providing an electronic copy of these comments following the hearing. Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 148 THE CHAIRPERSON: Just for clarification. You say following the hearing, how soon following the hearing?
LISTNUM 1 \l 149 MR. LEGER: Today. I guess this is my fault, I have to admit. I worked on this until late last night and the thing still needs formatting. And so what we thought we would do is provide an electronic copy in the course of the day today. It will be exactly what I presented this morning.
LISTNUM 1 \l 150 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is there anyway of getting it before the end of the morning?
LISTNUM 1 \l 151 MR. LEGER: We can arrange for that, yes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 152 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 153 MR. LEGER: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 154 THE CHAIRPERSON: Counsel, do we now pass this over to Vidéotron?
LISTNUM 1 \l 155 MR. LEGER: Yes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 156 THE CHAIRPERSON: Vidéotron you have I think 20 minutes to ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 157 UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Ten minutes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 158 THE CHAIRPERSON: ‑‑ 10 minutes to cross‑examine.
OPENING REMARKS BY VIDÉOTRON LTÉE
LISTNUM 1 \l 159 MR. BELAND: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 160 Good morning, commissioners, staff. My name is Dennis Beland, I am Director, Regulatory Affairs, Telecommunications at Québecor Media Inc. With me today are Claude Hurteau, Director, Network Integrity, Vidéotron ltée; Pierre Gauvin, Manager, Network Integrity, Vidéotron ltée; and Christopher Taylor, our legal counsel.
LISTNUM 1 \l 161 I would note before beginning that the hardcopy version of our opening remarks include some diagrams and photographs which were included in our 10 December, 2007 submission. We have included them in the handout for convenience of reference. There is no new material in the handout.
LISTNUM 1 \l 162 This hearing is the final step in a follow‑up process initiated by the Commission in Decision 2007‑105. In the proceeding leading to Decision 2007‑105 Bell Canada argued that Vidéotron, Rogers, Cogeco and Mountain Cable were all improperly disconnecting Bell Canada's network from the customer inside wire and that Eastlink was doing the same thing in Bell Aliant territory.
LISTNUM 1 \l 163 Bell argued that all of these cable LECs should be required to install a NID at the ILEC's demarcation point when disconnecting the ILEC's network from the customer inside wire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 164 In Decision 2007‑105 the Commission rejected Bell Canada's position. In particular, the Commission concluded that a NID was not required to facilitate competition and that, by deciding against Bell Canada's proposal, it was relying on market forces to the maximum extent feasible as the means of achieving telecommunications policy objectives as required by 1(a(i) of the policy direction.
LISTNUM 1 \l 165 Having made the decision that the installation of NIDs was not required, the Commission went on to establish the current follow‑up process to explore whether anything could be done to improve the way in which Vidéotron disconnects Bell Canada's network from the customer inside wire. The Commission stated that Bell Canada and Vidéotron should each submit a proposed disconnection method.
LISTNUM 1 \l 166 Vidéotron responded to the Commission's direction by detailing a disconnection process which meets all of the Commission's requirements. I will provide you with an overview of that process in a moment.
LISTNUM 1 \l 167 Before turning to Vidéotron's proposal, however, I consider it necessary to point out that Bell Canada has completely ignored the Commission's conclusions in Decision 2007‑105 and the Commission's direction to file a disconnection proposal. Instead, Bell Canada has continued to argue that the cable LEC must install a NID at the ILEC's demarcation point.
LISTNUM 1 \l 168 As we stated in our 20 December, 2007 reply, we consider Bell Canada's position in this proceeding to be an abuse of the Commission's process and a blatant attempt to review and vary Decision 2007‑105 without meeting any of the requirements for review and vary application.
LISTNUM 1 \l 169 In our submission, Bell Canada's December 10 and 20 written filings should be disregarded by the Commission and Bell Canada should be directed to stay within the scope of the follow‑up proceeding in its cross‑examination and oral remarks at this hearing.
LISTNUM 1 \l 170 I will now turn to the Vidéotron proposal.
LISTNUM 1 \l 171 To begin, it is important to emphasize that the Vidéotron network demarcation point is distinct from the Bell Canada network demarcation. Vidéotron's coaxial cable generally enters the home at a different location from Bell Canada's telephony facilities. Vidéotron then minimizes the amount of inside wiring work which must be done within the customer's premises by establishing Vidéotron's demarcation point between its cable network and the customer inside wire at a location that is convenient for the customer and Vidéotron.
LISTNUM 1 \l 172 For example, if the customer has a computer in a den or home office on the second floor and wants the cable modem located in that room for internet use, then that is where Vidéotron places the modem. Vidéotron then connects the same modem to the customer inside wire in this same room for telephone use. This approach ensures that the customer's needs are met in the most efficient manner. It also avoids both unnecessary work and possible damage to the premises, which could result if extensive wiring were required in order to locate the Vidéotron demarcation point next to Bell Canada's demarcation point.
LISTNUM 1 \l 173 The reason I emphasize this point is that Vidéotron's disconnection procedure for Bell's network reflects the basic reality of how Vidéotron provides service to its customers, a reality which Bell Canada seems determined to deny in order to try to force cable LECs like Vidéotron to bear the cost of upgrading Bell Canada's demarcation point.
LISTNUM 1 \l 174 Returning to the actual disconnection process, in brief, Vidéotron disconnects Bell's network from the customer inside wire at Bell's demarcation point and insulates the customer inside wire to protect against electrical interference. Vidéotron then connects its own network to the customer inside wire at its own demarcation point.
LISTNUM 1 \l 175 Diagrams 1 and 2 show the typical inside wire configuration, before and after, a Vidéotron installation.
LISTNUM 1 \l 176 The first thing a Vidéotron technician must do when the technician arrives at a new customer premises is find the Bell Canada demarcation point. This is generally either in a protector box outside the residence or in a utility panel within the residence. Once the demarcation point has been found the technician must open the protector box or utility panel and determine how Bell Canada's network is connected to the customer inside wire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 177 If Bell Canada has installed a NID, which permits the Bell Canada network to be disconnected from the customer inside wire by unplugging an RJ 11 connector from the NID, then the technician unplugs the RJ 11 connector and proceeds with the connection of the customer inside wire to Vidéotron's network at Vidéotron's demarcation point.
LISTNUM 1 \l 178 If there is no NID present at the Bell Canada demarcation point, then the technician must snip the customer inside wire as close as possible to the Bell Canada demarcation point while remaining on the customer side of the demarcation point. In order to protect the customer inside wire from possible interference the technician then insulates the snipped wires by attaching what are called Scotch Locks. The Scotch Locks prevent possible degradation of service to the customer.
LISTNUM 1 \l 179 They are easy to remove should the customer choose to resume service from Bell Canada. When the Scotch Locks have been removed the customer inside wire can be reconnected to Bell Canada's network by removing the nut and washer from the threaded lugs at Bell Canada's demarcation point, wrapping the wire around the lugs and replacing the nut and washer on each lug. This is a simple process which does not inconvenience either Bell Canada or the customer.
LISTNUM 1 \l 180 Finally, the connection of the customer inside wire to Vidéotron's network involves the installation of a new double jack as illustrated in diagram 2. In the event that a customer chooses to terminate service with Vidéotron the customer inside wire can be disconnected from Vidéotron's network by unplugging the RJ 11 connector at that jack.
LISTNUM 1 \l 181 This is a simple process which is convenient for Bell Canada and the customer. It does not require any repairs to or reconfigurations of the customer inside wire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 182 The disconnection procedure followed by Vidéotron is fundamentally the same as that followed by all other cable LECs across Canada. It is simple and intended to both protect Bell Canada's network and minimize inconvenience to the customer.
LISTNUM 1 \l 183 The Vidéotron procedure avoids the addition of unnecessary inside wiring within the customer's premises, permits Vidéotron's network to be disconnected from the customer inside wire by simply unplugging the RJ 11 connector at the Vidéotron demarcation point and permits Bell Canada's network to be reconnected to the customer inside wire by either plugging in the RJ 11 connector at the Bell Canada demarcation point if a NID is present or by reconnecting the customer inside wire directly to the lugs at the demarcation point if no NID is present.
LISTNUM 1 \l 184 Finally, the Vidéotron procedure requires each LEC to take full responsibility for its own network and its own demarcation point. Accordingly, it places maximum reliance on market forces as required by the policy direction.
LISTNUM 1 \l 185 We believe the Vidéotron procedure is appropriate and we would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
LISTNUM 1 \l 186 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
QUESTIONS BY THE COMMISSION
LISTNUM 1 \l 187 MR. MORRIS: I have some questions for Bell Canada first.
LISTNUM 1 \l 188 My first question is in a premises where a NID is already installed are the proposed disconnection practices by Vidéotron acceptable?
LISTNUM 1 \l 189 MR. LEGER: One of the problems we have with the disconnection procedures that Vidéotron describes is that they describe one procedure, but what we are finding in the field is quite different. We have provided examples of instances where a NID in fact is already in place and yet we have cut wires, we have not only cut wires but cut wires inside the protector which, incidentally, is a device that is within Bell Canada's network and for which we are responsible.
LISTNUM 1 \l 190 We found all sorts of other instances, you know, damaged drops. So what we are finding is that the procedure described by Vidéotron ‑‑ and there is only one component, incidentally, to which we object. Whether Vidéotron wants to connect up on, you know, whatever it is, the second or the third floor, this is not an issue for us. It can set its demarc basically wherever it wants and this is not what we are challenging. What we are challenging, however, is practices that Vidéotron follows in and around the point where the inside wire, what I think we commonly call the customer's network interface, with whatever network the customer is using.
LISTNUM 1 \l 191 And that is typically, as I mentioned earlier at some point, I will say typically in the basement, but it can be in another location, but typically in the utility area of the residence and that is where we are running into the problems.
LISTNUM 1 \l 192 And whether there is a NID or not ‑‑ now, I should be careful here, I am not suggesting that Vidéotron always causes damages when there is a NID, that is not at all what we are suggesting. But it has become clear to us that whether it is for convenience or whatever that the presence of a NID is not always determinative of whether Vidéotron disconnects the RJ 11 jack at that location.
LISTNUM 1 \l 193 Do you guys have anything else to add?
LISTNUM 1 \l 194 MR. WUNDELE: No, that is it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 195 MR. MORRIS: But, just to be clear, the proposed disconnection practices are okay? What they are saying is they would pull out the RJ 11 connector when there is a NID in place and the proposed disconnection practices are okay, that is what I want to know.
LISTNUM 1 \l 196 MR. LEGER: When there is a NID present that is certainly our second option. Our preferred option, and I want to emphasize this, is the establishment of SVMs which provide basically an automated means for the customer to migrate back and forth between service providers.
LISTNUM 1 \l 197 MR. MORRIS: Sorry, are you changing your written submissions then? Because in your written submissions you had when there was a NID in place ‑‑ as I recall you said was that Vidéotron just needed to disconnect a wire. Are you now saying that in either case they should be upgrading to an SVM?
LISTNUM 1 \l 198 MR. LEGER: What we are saying is that an SVM is a preferable option in all cases and we have said that in our December 20 comments.
LISTNUM 1 \l 199 Failing that, yes, the disconnection of the NID is an acceptable option recognizing, however, that from a customer convenience standpoint it doesn't provide, we believe, the benefits that an SVM would provide and we pointed that out, again, in our December submissions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1100 MR. MORRIS: Okay, my next question is when there is no NID in place and Vidéotron follows its proposed disconnection practices, what work would be required by Bell to reconnect a customer? And if you could give estimates of time and cost, that would be helpful as well.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1101 MR. WUNDELE: Again, there is a dependency on how the inside wiring and if it was inside wiring that was disconnected. And, as Jean‑Francois has mentioned, there are some instances where inside wiring and outside wiring have been disconnected. You know, I think honestly when we look at this we are looking at, from a time factor, it could vary.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1102 In the case that if it is an outside wire that has been cut and we have to put up a new outside wire because we can't splice onto them, you know, obviously the estimate is no longer, you know, 15‑20 minutes. We are now talking half an hour, 45 minutes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1103 And I am not sure we really want to get into generalities but, you know, as a time estimate around an interface device, whether it is placing or repairing or rearranging the inside wiring around those devices, traditionally we are looking at on an average I will say 15 minutes to do the work in those areas, and that includes the actual work itself, the testing, final testing and ensuring that everything is functioning properly.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1104 MR. MORRIS: And that is in a case where Vidéotron has done what it is proposing to do, which is disconnect or snip the inside wire as close to the protector or the utility box as possible?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1105 MR. WUNDELE: Yes ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1106 MR. MORRIS: You are saying it would take 15 minutes to ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1107 MR. WUNDELE: I say on average ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1108 MR. MORRIS: ‑‑ on average?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1109 MR. WUNDELE: ‑‑ definitely, yes. Obviously, there is some that is under that and there are some that are over that. Also, potentially, there is the material costs also that are tied into there. In some instances it may not be able to reconnect, depending on how it was cut and isolated. It may have been cut and isolated with Scotch Locks, but it is not long enough to reconnect or it has been not cut exactly at that area, it is in an area in that vicinity, so we would have to lengthen either inside wiring or outside wiring to make it to the actual protector.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1110 MR. MORRIS: And your opinion is that the, on average, 15 minutes of work plus labour and installation costs is unnecessary and customer inconvenience in costs? You mentioned that in your submissions. I just want to make sure that that is what you are ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1111 MR. WUNDELE: Yes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1112 MR. MORRIS: Okay. My next question relates to the practice of cable companies operating in other ILEC territories in Canada. In the revised version of Bell Canada's response to interrogatories submitted on 9 July, 2007 Bell Canada stated that there didn't appear to be any problems with cable companies operating in the territories of MTS Allstream, TELUS and SaskTel causing damage to their facilities.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1113 Each of those companies described briefly the disconnection practices of the cable companies operating in their territories. And they seemed to be roughly similar to the practices proposed by Vidéotron.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1114 So what I am trying to get at I guess is how are Vidéotron's disconnection practices different from the cable companies' disconnection practices in other territories?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1115 MR. LEGER: I think we need to go back here. We originally filed an application regarding Vidéotron's disconnection practices. We did not ask for a proceeding in relation to other cable companies. The cable companies were successful, of Vidéotron in particular, and the other cable companies I should say, were successful in extending that proceeding to other cable companies.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1116 Our focus has been on Vidéotron's disconnection practices. Now, when you ask us about the disconnection practices of cable companies in Saskatchewan or Alberta or Manitoba, well, frankly, we don't serve those territories. What we would point out, however, is that there is not a heck of a lot of competition in either Manitoba or Saskatchewan which would give rise to the same types of issues that we have encountered. As for in TELUS territory, well, TELUS was also advocating the use of a ‑‑ in its case, in fact it was the earliest advocate I believe, of the establishment of an SVM. TELUS recognized that this was for the benefit of consumers.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1117 You know, in retrospect, is there a problem with cable company disconnection practices in Alberta? Well, we can't really speak to that, those cable companies are not here, TELUS isn't here. And what we can speak to is the issue of this proceeding, which is the disconnection practices of Vidéotron.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1118 MR. MORRIS: What about the disconnection practices of other cable companies operating in Bell Canada's markets?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1119 MR. LEGER: Again, our application has been focused from the outset on the disconnection practices of Vidéotron. We have significant problems in Quebec, particularly in the greater Montreal area, and this is what caused us to feel that we had to seek relief before the Commission.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1120 As for the practices of other cable companies, frankly, they are not here, we are not here to discuss them and if we have a problem we will address it at that time.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1121 MR. MORRIS: Can you give an estimated cost of the SVM that you are proposing be installed?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1122 MR. LEGER: We are still at the stage of prototypes here. We have been talking to the manufacturer, I think it is a company that Vidéotron is well familiar with, named TII. We have also talked to a number of other companies.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1123 Right now, and John will help me here, but right now we believe that we are talking in the $10 range. But we have not discussed volumes with them. As you may be aware, there is a big difference when you are talking to a supplier depending on volumes and we believe that that cost could go down.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1124 We also be that, as I mentioned earlier, a number of U.S. service providers, including cable companies, are in the process of implementing these devices. So our initial discussions with the manufacturer we consider to be I will say not representative, but what I mean is we think there is a significant amount of movement that is possible.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1125 But you are asking me what does the price look like right now? We would say it is in the $10 or, maybe to put the worst picture on it, the low $10s for the device.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1126 Did you want to correct me there?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1127 MR. WUNDELE: No. Pricing right now is I think you said the low $10s, which is correct.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1128 Our estimate price or the first price that we received, preliminary pricing that we have received, from TII was around $20 and $20 is like between $18 and $20, dependency as to the volumes and introduction through an official NPI type process, new product introduction process, to ensure that we address all the operational impacts and procedures and processes. So that is not part of this, it is strictly the product itself, the device itself.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1129 MR. MORRIS: You mentioned that U.S. cable companies are starting to install these devices. Is that because of a regulatory requirement or is that just because of market forces?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1130 MR. LEGER: Well, it is a combination. What initially got the U.S. cable companies interested in ‑‑ and I will refer to it was what is commonly called a one‑shot SVM. What originally drove this was that there were fairly lengthy or I should say lengthier local number portability implementation intervals in the U.S. than in Canada. So what would happen is the cable company would want to conduct, particularly when it was migrating a customer's television and internet service as well as his telephony service, would want to go there and do the whole job in one single visit.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1131 And what would then happen was that once they installed this device, once the porting process had been completed, then the service could be migrated simply by sending a signal. And again, I am not an engineer here, but basically sending a signal to this SVM.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1132 But the advantage of the device, as I say, was that it was a labour and inconvenience reducer for the customer. So, to some extent, when you asked me earlier whether it was driven by regulatory forces or markets, well the regulatory element there was originally the LNP interval. But, in large part, it was market forces because the cable company didn't want to have to conduct two visits.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1133 Now, with time, what is happening is that the market is starting to mature is maybe a bit of an understatement, but the market is maturing. And what the cable companies, we have been told, are realizing is that there is considerably more potential to this device than ‑‑ or with a slightly enhanced capability in the sense that it now enables, once the device is in place, it can now enable customers to be switched virtually without any premises visit.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1134 Not to provide Vidéotron marketing help here, but what we have been told is that what this is facilitating are basically self‑install procedures for telephony, particularly as customers migrate back and forth.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1135 It is useful to remember in this respect that we are not just talking about a customer here, we are also talking about premises that are sold or rented, in which there are changes in occupants and in which there may therefore be changes in service providers over time, and what these devices are enabling service providers to do is to migrate ‑‑ whoever the occupant happens to be, to migrate the customer service from one network to another with, I would say, maximized convenience.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1136 MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Chairman, if I could. I realize this is a more informal process but we are hearing a lot of ‑‑ how should I put it ‑‑ anecdotal or hearsay evidence about the character of what is going on in the United States. There is no record whatsoever in this proceeding on that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1137 We are not able to respond off the cuff here to say well no, that is an incorrect piece of information or not, and I think it is somewhat prejudicial. So I would ask that perhaps this line of questioning be brought to an end because this doesn't strike me as appropriate.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1138 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you have any comments?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1139 MR. LEGER: Yes. We think ‑‑ the marketplace is advancing. Comments closed on December 20th. We have been doing research. We believe that Vidéotron is actually well aware of what is going on in other marketplaces. So we don't think that this is something that Vidéotron is unable to respond to.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1140 But in any event, we think that this is relevant. We were asked the question, we did not volunteer the question, and we think this should remain on part of the record.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1141 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1142 Counsel.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1143 MR. MORRIS: Well, I will refrain from asking any more questions along those lines.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1144 My final question for Bell Canada is: You mentioned that you didn't agree that Vidéotron if it installed a NID would be required to install any extra inside wiring or drill any holes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1145 What I want to know is if Vidéotron's entry point is different from Bell Canada's, how is it that if it is required to install a NID at Bell Canada's demarcation point that it wouldn't also have to then install inside wiring to link its network to the NID?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1146 MR. LEGER: I think I will let John address that but I can perhaps start on this.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1147 It is useful to remember that in premises where Vidéotron is migrating a customer there is already inside wire that is established. That inside wire is typically established ‑‑ I am going to take my lead from you ‑‑ is typically set up in many cases in what is called a star pattern.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1148 So you have several jacks in a house. They all converge basically at one point, again, typically in a utilities U‑room or area in the basement, and in order to feed all the jacks you have to get a signal from one jack to all the other jacks in the house.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1149 Now in many houses you also have things like alarm systems and these are very, very prevalent in suburban locations and what we are finding is they are becoming more and more prevalent, and in those cases what Vidéotron needs to do, and it has explained this in its technical documentation, is what it does is it typically installs a double jack where it establishes its network demarcation.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1150 Incidentally, I will repeat this again, we are not looking to alter that demarcation. If Vidéotron wants to tell customers that its service obligation ends in the computer room on the second floor, that is not our issue and that is not something that we object to.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1151 But Vidéotron installs this double jack, and particularly in the case of alarm systems but also in many other instances it then needs to bring basically its dial tone down to that common point where all the inside wire converges.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1152 That happens to typically be also where the network interface device would be located because it is in our interest to set that NID at a point where when we are serving that customer we are able to deliver service to all those jacks.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1153 So Vidéotron typically then ‑‑ what Vidéotron does it does not overwire ‑‑ now, I need to back up a little bit here.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1154 At least since the seventies what has been installed inside customers' premises is inside wire that has four little wires inside it, so basically two pairs.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1155 What then happens is Vidéotron uses one pair to bring back its dial tone to this common point and then ‑‑ again, this is particularly so in instances where there is an alarm or some other device that requires that the signal be brought. But typically this is what Vidéotron does and then it connects ‑‑ in order to be able to serve all the other jacks in the house, then it connects back to this common point.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1156 So when we say that there is no need to drill holes or to add additional inside wiring ‑‑ and I need to point out, in fairness to Vidéotron, we are not saying that this is in 100 percent of the cases. We are saying that in a very significant, in fact, overwhelming majority of the cases this is so but we recognize that this is not always the case.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1157 But in a large proportion of the cases Vidéotron today is bringing its signal back down to this point of interface between what was our network before Vidéotron won the customer and the inside wire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1158 Now furthermore, in any event, if Vidéotron is winning over the customer, its installer has to go at that interface and either disconnect the NID, which is what it should be doing in accordance with its own procedures, or what it is currently doing when there is no NID, it cuts the wire, but it is doing all of that at that common point of interface in what I will call the utilities area of the home.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1159 Do I have that right, John? Is there anything missing?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1160 MR. WUNDELE: Yes, I think you are right and I acknowledge a star configuration is one configuration of inside wiring. Loop configuration, series configuration, there could be a mix of all of them.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1161 However, I would say in a very overwhelming majority inside wiring that is in place, that has been in place for over 125 years, different versions of it that are there, do come to one common location. They all end up to where our protector is today.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1162 That being said, to actually have to do any overwiring or drilling holes in walls and floors, I would say it would be the exception more so than the rule, being that the inside wiring that is in place is already there.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1163 There are other connecting devices in that immediate vicinity that may relay all wires together to maintain connectivity of the specific conductors. So it is a central point and would not require a lot of time and would not require a lot of overwiring and drilling of holes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1164 It would provide a great area to be able to put in a device that would provide seamless service for a customer and I guess the really important thing is that it would be able to bridge that customer's network ‑‑ we really haven't talked a lot about that ‑‑ to any service provider's network seamlessly. That is really what the ‑‑ that is the key area that I see in this debate.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1165 MR. MORRIS: Thank you, those are my questions for Bell Canada.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1166 I just have one question for Vidéotron.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1167 Is it necessary to actually cut the inside wire in order to disconnect Bell's network or is it possible to sort of unscrew the lugs or whatever it is that is inside the protector? I mean do you actually have to cut the inside wire in order to do the disconnection?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1168 MR. BÉLAND: I will answer that question in a moment. I would just like to ask as well whether I will have an opportunity to comment on some of the assertions that Bell made in its last couple of answers because there were a number of assertions about Vidéotron's practices that we would like to have an opportunity to comment on.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1169 MR. MORRIS: Well as I understand, you have 20 minutes for cross‑examining Bell and you also have 10 minutes at the end for closing remarks.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1170 MR. BÉLAND: Yes. To your specific question, you cannot have two telephone networks using the inside wire at the same time. You end up with electrical interference problems. So I would assume that Bell would agree with that. You can't have two networks use the inside wire at the same time.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1171 So when Vidéotron is arriving and the customer is dropping all of his or her services with Bell, then the requirement is for Vidéotron to connect the inside wire and to disconnect the inside wire from Bell's network.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1172 To repeat what we stated in our opening statement, the disconnection occurs in one of two ways, either through an RJ11 connector if it exists, which, as you can imagine, is a clean electrical disconnection, or through snipping of the wires if no such RJ11 connector exists. So yes, the wires need to be snipped.
‑‑‑ Discussion off the record
LISTNUM 1 \l 1173 MR. BÉLAND: I can also comment on the logic behind where we are doing the snipping as well because one of the concerns ‑‑ I will get back to my concerns about Bell's responses in general, is they are always ‑‑ and this has been going on for two years.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1174 Bell's concerns and proposals are always prefaced with a litany of allegations of damages that are perpetrated by Vidéotron.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1175 The reason we snip the wires immediately adjacent to the lugs is precisely because we want to make it as simple as possible for Bell to reconnect those wires later. It is not driven by any nefarious motivation. It is expressly for that reason. We are trying to make it as simple as possible for Bell at a later date if it wins back the customer to reconnect those wires to the lugs immediately adjacent.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1176 MR. MORRIS: I guess that is why I am having a little trouble understanding. You mentioned for the reconnection process that Bell would simply have to unscrew the lugs and recoil the wire around them.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1177 Why couldn't the reverse also happen for your disconnection?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1178 MR. BÉLAND: The reverse would be conceivable, that Vidéotron would unscrew the lugs and remove the wire. One of our concerns with that is the potential ‑‑ once you are unscrewing those lugs, that same lug is where the incoming Bell wire is also connected.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1179 You can imagine ‑‑ the incoming Bell wire connects to that lug and then the outgoing customer wire leads from that lug. If we are unscrewing that we are increasing the risk of affecting the incoming Bell connection.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1180 So once again, in a philosophy of trying to minimize any possibility of damage to Bell's network, we choose to snip the wire immediately adjacent to the lug rather than unscrewing the lug.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1181 MR. TAYLOR: I would just like to add a little bit to that. From sort of a property law legal perspective, they don't want to touch Bell's network. So the customer wire is coming in. The minute you get to the lug and you start unscrewing the lug, then you are getting into, arguably, touching Bell's network.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1182 There is the Bell wire coming in onto the lug and if you unscrew the lug and then that wire gets loose and is left so that the next time they try and reconnect it there is some problem, then it would be Vidéotron who would be held responsible or, arguably, would be held responsible for anything that went wrong with respect to that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1183 So by simply snipping the customer wire, they are only touching the customer wire and they do it as close as possible to the lug to make it as easy as possible to reconnect the customer wire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1184 So there is a practicality as well as there is an element of a legal concern there as well.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1185 MR. MORRIS: Thank you. I am finished with my questions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1186 THE CHAIRPERSON: I have got a few questions. So let's get the panel getting some questions, and Michel and Elizabeth as well perhaps.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1187 I am going to raise this up a notch or two. Both parties have talked about referring to the policy objectives of the government. I am going to refer to it as well and I guess I am going to ask this question to Bell initially.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1188 Within the direction it talks about the Commission relying on market forces to the maximum extent feasible. It goes on to say:
"When the Commission is relying on regulation the Commission is obligated to specify the Telecommunications Policy objective that is advanced by these measures and furthermore if they relate to network interconnection arrangements to identify those arrangements or regimes to the greatest extent possible to enable competition from new technologies and not to artificially favour either Canadian carriers or resellers." (As read)
LISTNUM 1 \l 1189 Can you respond to how this proceeding either addresses the specifics of the Telecom Policy objective and how a decision of the Commission will or will not address the issue of interconnection?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1190 MR. LEGER: What we are proposing, we believe, is firmly within the scope and consistent with the policy direction. We are here, in effect, to ask the Commission to mandate both of us to put in processes that facilitate the operation of market forces.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1191 Right now customers are disincented from leaving Vidéotron because they face considerable obstacles in order to migrate. These visits can be costly. They are lengthy, as I pointed out earlier.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1192 We believe that we are not asking the Commission to engage in extensive detailed regulation. We have proposed that to the extent that there is a direction from the Commission to the parties that we will sit down with Vidéotron and work out how the devices, the characteristics of the devices or features of the devices, and we will work out all those details.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1193 Indeed, we have made considerable progress beforehand when we first filed our Part VII, largely on our own. There was a Commission incentive at the outset but it was done largely on our own.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1194 We are asking for the same thing. We believe that that is perfectly consistent with the policy direction and ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1195 THE CHAIRPERSON: All I am asking is which policy objective is being advanced specifically.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1196 MR. LEGER: I can speak to this at a high level. I don't have the policy level in front of me.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1197 Again, what we are proposing promotes competition and reflects minimal intervention in the marketplace. It promotes competition consistent with the policy set out in the Telecom Act. It benefits consumers and it also benefits more generally competition.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1198 Incidentally, it does not favour carriers or resellers, and moreover, it facilitates competition for resellers and for competitors who use our local loops. To our knowledge, Commission, we are still mandated to make local loops available and what we are asking for facilitates the use of our local loops not only by ourselves but by competitors who may choose to offer service using the ILEC's local loops.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1199 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I am going to return to the question that was asked earlier with regard to competition and competitors.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1200 When you run a truck to connect the customer who has previously been a customer of a non‑Vidéotron account, Rogers or Cogeco, what do you find in the home?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1201 MR. LEGER: I think this question ‑‑ I don't want to sound defensive about this but this question really is, I think, the point that was raised earlier by legal counsel. We have had issues with other cable companies. We don't have the same issues that we have with Vidéotron.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1202 When you ask me what do you find in the premises, well, there are instances of problems. We understand, although we have not seen this extensively but we understand that some other cable companies are in fact ‑‑ may be, I should say ‑‑ may be making further progress with the establishment of more advanced devices than those that Vidéotron is doing.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1203 But as I know legal counsel on the other side will object to that, I am not going to make any further comment and I am not proposing to go any further into that subject.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1204 We have had problems with other cable companies but right now our Part VII is against Vidéotron and that is who we are here to discuss.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1205 THE CHAIRPERSON: Bear in mind my previous question related to the policy direction and the fact that the Commission must make decisions that are reasonable for all parties.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1206 You have addressed this issue with regard to Vidéotron. Your territory includes other competitors as well. The Commission's obligation is to make sure that all parties are treated equally. There is an obligation placed upon Vidéotron coming out of this proceeding. There is no doubt that those same issues will be raised by other parties as well.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1207 All I am trying to find out right now is: Are you finding differences in the network that you are reconnecting for non‑Vidéotron accounts?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1208 MR. LEGER: I think it is fair to say that at this point we are not finding the same extent of damage to our network certainly than we have found in Vidéotron's territory.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1209 To be fair, the extent of competition outside the largest centres ‑‑ and by that I mean Montreal and Toronto, and to some extent Quebec City ‑‑ is less extensive, certainly, once you move beyond, again, the urban areas. But the problems we have are principally, again, with Vidéotron.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1210 Now, we understand your concern regarding the rules that may apply to other companies but, frankly, we are before right now is Vidéotron and we are not asking the Commission to mandate anything with respect to any other cable companies. What we are asking for is a decision to resolve our dispute with Vidéotron.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1211 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1212 I have a question for Vidéotron.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1213 I have read and I have heard repeatedly that Vidéotron had at one point agreed to install these NIDs. Can you explain at the time that you did agree to it what was motivating you to do it and why that does not continue?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1214 MR. BELAND: Vidéotron and Bell were engaged in discussions after Bell filed its initial Part VII application and that just reflects a generalized preference, as the Commission, I think, would be well aware, that Quebecor generally prefers negotiated outcomes to regulated outcomes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1215 So we engaged in discussions with Bell about the full range of their concerns and proposals were made in the context of those discussions. We do not accept the characterization that Vidéotron agreed to do that. Proposals were made. Proposals were rejected.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1216 It is not appropriate for one party to take a proposal that may have been made, reject it but then pluck out the elements it likes and claim that the other party agreed to that. Discussions were held and the discussions broke down.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1217 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Those are all my questions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1218 Vice‑Chairman Arpin.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1219 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: My question is to Bell.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1220 You have been talking about the ideal situation having to implement the SVM device. Now, there are always new constructions on their way. There are always households that are renovated.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1221 When you are doing the new wiring, when you are doing renovations whatsoever, are you implementing the SVM device yourself?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1222 MR. LEGER: We are implementing tele‑adaptable NIDs right now. As I think John mentioned earlier, to be frank, SVMs are ‑‑ this is relatively new technology. The concept has been around, the devices have been in production and they have been used elsewhere but this is new technology.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1223 What we are prepared to do though is install them when we go for a premises visit, including ‑‑ and I will turn to a senior VP here ‑‑ including if we were wiring new premises. But we don't want to be the only guys doing this, I guess. That is our concern but we are prepared to ‑‑ and to do so aggressively. We are prepared to install these devices.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1224 But I think it is also useful to bear in mind that one of the benefits that this device provides is basically the automated toggling back and forth between networks. Well, if this device has to work, the concept has to work for both parties. So what we would want is technical agreement on the choice of the actual device.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1225 What we are looking for from the Commission is actually a mandate to go ahead and implement an SVM device. We think that we have identified the best prototype but, frankly, we are open to a discussion as to what that device is.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1226 But back to your question. Yes, we are prepared to do that. Right now what we have been installing and are installing are tele‑adaptable jacks and we have been doing that for a number of years.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1227 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Now, you said earlier that the SVM device price will be around $10 apiece. What is the cost of a NID?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1228 MR. WUNDELE: The costs are actually very similar. We have standardized a new NID device. The actual housing is $12. Modules are about $3 to $5 depending on the different modules. So I would say the cost is anywhere between ‑‑ I would say we can probably average it out around $15 for the esthetic NID device today, that we are using actually today.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1229 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: So whatever the technology uses, the prices, according to you, are rather similar?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1230 MR. WUNDELE: They are very similar, and again, there would be a strong influence on pricing based on volumes, again, regardless of the service provider.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1231 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Thank you, those were my questions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1232 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Duncan.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1233 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I am interested ‑‑ first of all, I wanted to know ‑‑ you said approximately 50 percent of six single‑family residences currently have the tele‑adaptable NID.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1234 Do I understand that 30 percent of your market is MDUs and they are excluded?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1235 MR. LEGER: Well, we need to be careful. MDUs are ‑‑ well, the short answer is MDUs are excluded from this process. There is quite different technology in MDUs. There are also highly developed sets of procedures, which, again, are not before the Commission today.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1236 Is an SVM device a suitable ‑‑ are we advocating SVM devices for MDUs? The answer is certainly not in this proceeding.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1237 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: What percent of the single‑family dwellings then that you have the NIDs installed in, what percent of those ‑‑ is it inside the protector? Because you object to Vidéotron going into the protector, as I understand it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1238 MR. LEGER: No ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1239 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: It is never inside.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1240 MR. LEGER: The NID is never inside the protector. It is typically ‑‑ the process we have followed for the last ‑‑ I guess since the transfer of inside wire in the mid‑90s has been to install a NID.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1241 If you look at it, sort of broadly speaking, our network comes in, so from the right, and then there is a protector which is designed to protect from electrical spikes, I guess, and then on the left side, the customer side of the protector would typically be where the NID is installed. But they are distinct devices.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1242 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: So as far as Vidéotron's current practices then, they should be able to disconnect to your satisfaction at a NID in 50 percent of the single residences?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1243 So we are getting down here and in my mind I am trying to understand the magnitude of the problem because as you are making a lot of general statements about the way Vidéotron is disconnecting and the damage that is being caused, it is difficult for me to understand if I don't try to get some numbers around it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1244 So in this instance, what we are talking about here is Vidéotron's procedure should be adequate to disconnect at least in 50 percent of the instances because the NIDs are already there?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1245 MR. LEGER: Yes, that is correct, assuming that they followed the procedure that they have told the Commission. That, as I mentioned earlier, is not our experience.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1246 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: At least in the submission ‑‑ I think it was in Videotron's ‑‑ maybe it was their December 20th letter ‑‑ that they were referring back to the procedure that just ended, or the process that just ended, and they talked about TELUS and Shaw and how they meet on a regular basis to address problems, and I think they found, in one instance, that they had two issues: one was Shaw's, and one was TELUS'.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1247 Have you ever made any effort to get together and call Videotron representatives out to discuss or look at exactly what the problems are?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1248 MR. LEGER: I think that was the initial intent of our application, and there were discussions. They broke down.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1249 Have we had further discussions ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1250 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Do you think that might be a possibility on a going forward basis?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1251 MR. LEGER: We think that discussion is ‑‑ we are going to need discussion, frankly, as I mentioned earlier, particularly if we are going to implement something more than just, basically, a jack.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1252 We think there will need to be discussion, and we are certainly happy to do that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1253 MR. BELAND: Commissioner Duncan, if I may; again, many of Bell's responses are wrapped in a wrapping of allegations, and I would like to state for the record that the procedure, which Videotron has repeatedly stated that it adheres to and is willing to continue to adhere to ‑‑ which is, when there is a tele‑adaptable NID, that is when our technician will disconnect the customer's inside wire from Bell's network.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1254 That is something we do today. That is something we propose to continue doing, and have every intention of continuing.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1255 We have never denied that there are errors that occur. Bell has photos of some of the errors that have occurred. But any suggestion that Videotron is saying one thing and doing another, or has no intention of adhering to what it is promising, or what it is proposing here, is offensive.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1256 We have been willing, from the very beginning, to set up whatever processes are necessary to rapidly detect errors, exchange between the companies information related to errors, and to pull in those individual technicians that did those installations, and have them re‑trained, or whatever other actions are necessary.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1257 I would just like the record to be clear on that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1258 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Thank you, Mr. Beland.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1259 MR. LEGER: Could I add to that, if I may?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1260 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Sure.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1261 MR. LEGER: I think it is useful to point out ‑‑ frankly, we are not sure that there is a lot of benefit to be served by us throwing accusations at Videotron and Videotron throwing them back to us, but I think it is useful to point out that we had, traditionally, a claims process that was established between Videotron and ourselves to deal with compensation when one of us damages the network, or the other, and that claims process has, essentially, broken down now.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1262 I am advised that Videotron is not accepting any claims from Bell Canada regarding damage to the network, because of, in part, this proceeding, and because of, in part, the litigation that we have initiated before the court.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1263 There is a certain breakdown of processes here between the companies, and we are certainly looking forward to fixing that, but right now, I would say, there is certainly room for progress.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1264 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I have a question on the Scotch Locks and disconnecting the ‑‑ Videotron's practice of cutting, rather than undoing the ‑‑ I don't know if you call them lugs, or whatever, but you have both the Bell property and the subscriber's under this lock.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1265 Videotron doesn't want to unscrew that, as I understand it, so they cut the customer's portion.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1266 How much slack would normally be there?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1267 In how many instances would you end up having to splice or replace that whole piece of wire?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1268 I would expect that there would be some slack.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1269 MR. WUNDELE: Yes, there is. I would say, in a good percentage of the dwellings that are there, the wiring ‑‑ again, the wiring, if it's cut with sufficient slack, yes, it is able to be reconnected.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1270 But, again, the action, I think that is ‑‑ it has to be reconnected. There is no way around it, unless there is, you know, another alternative solution that provides a means of doing that without having to take that action.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1271 MR. LEGER: It is important to compare ‑‑ whether our guys need to install a whole new device, a whole new cable, or simply remove the Scotch Lock, and then there is slack, or there isn't slack, the fact is, there is still work there, which, if there wasn't, it wouldn't need to be done.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1272 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes. So there is the issue of: if there was no NID. That's correct. I understand that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1273 MR. LEGER: And we have been installing NIDs.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1274 Again, our initial request was for Videotron to do that, so that, when customers go back and forth and their networks shift between one service provider and the other, all that needs to be done to convert the customer is, at worst, the removal of a jack and the reconnection of that jack to another network.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1275 Now, as I said earlier, there have been advances in technology which, we think, are far superior to that process. But if worse comes to worse ‑‑ and to be frank and fair to Videotron, our original request was for the installation of what we call tele‑adaptable NIDs.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1276 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I have one last question on the SVMs. Your proposal, as I understand it, is that both parties would start to install SVMs. That is the ideal, that is what you would like to see.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1277 It is my understanding that the telephone company ‑‑ and I know that, in my house, I can't remember ever having to have a telephone service call. I have never had a problem. Touch wood, never, and that's for years.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1278 So, generally, you wouldn't be going to the customer's home.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1279 What percent would you estimate, over the next five years, if we were to impose this SVM scenario ‑‑ what percent would fall on Videotron installing, as opposed to what percent you would be installing?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1280 If you are not normally making visits, what would be the occasion for Bell to install an SVM?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1281 MR. WUNDELE: Basically, what we have discussed and what we think is an excellent, I guess, percentage ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1282 I can't throw out any percentages, but we could look at ‑‑ what we are entertaining is the all‑new install. So any new installs that Bell Canada would initiate, regardless, whether they be actually new installations ‑‑ and I am considering new construction.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1283 I am just talking about a new install in an existing dwelling or a new dwelling. We would install, systematically, SVMs.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1284 In other instances where we have new developments and areas where there is a lot of churn, that is another area where we would definitely entertain putting in SVMs.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1285 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Do you normally not, in a churn, just do that remotely?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1286 MR. WUNDELE: No, not remotely.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1287 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: You don't?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1288 MR. WUNDELE: No.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1289 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Sir, if you move from A to B, you have to get ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1290 MR. WUNDELE: In the case that there is an existing service there, yes. Then we don't have to ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1291 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: So you wouldn't be doing the SVM in that instance.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1292 MR. WUNDELE: Yes, I'm sorry.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1293 If there is an existing service in place, and that person moves out and another person moves in, we don't have to physically visit that residence.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1294 So, in that scenario, no.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1295 We do have conversions that we are doing in areas where we upgrade networks, where we do have to access customer dwellings to make network changes in the area. That could, potentially, be another area that we could look at placing SVMs, to extend, really, the potential of getting, I would say, a sufficient quantity in place over time, for our network, for our customers, and then try to ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1296 I can't speak Videotron's figures, but their footprint, as it expands, they would do, reciprocally, the same thing.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1297 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Videotron, of course, is generally making house visits, as I understand it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1298 MR. WUNDELE: Yes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1299 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Are you suggesting that, at every visit, they would, if it wasn't already installed, install an SVM?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1300 Like, if there was a service call for some other reason?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1301 MR. LEGER: Only on the telephony side.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1302 I think it is useful to bear in mind here that it is true that Videotron is winning over customers, and because of their technology choices they are performing premises visits whenever they win that customer.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1303 But we have been installing NIDs for many years, and when we compare what Videotron is doing today with what Bell Canada might be doing today, yes, we recognize that, right now, there are probably fewer occasions for us to be going into customers' premises to perform repair work or installation work, although I have an aside to that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1304 We also need to recognize, though, that for many years we have been installing NIDs. So, if we are going to compare 10 years of NID installation with the current ‑‑ however many customers Videotron has, I think the numbers even out quite a bit more.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1305 Having said that, we are also looking at ‑‑ we are deploying network in new developments, and in areas like the Toronto suburbs, where there is extensive construction going on. Again, our proposal is to, in effect, roll out this technology there as well.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1306 I just want to make sure that the senior VP here is comfortable ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1307 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: If everybody is in agreement.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
LISTNUM 1 \l 1308 MR. LEGER: Are we looking at a significant imbalance? There may be ‑‑ for a short period of time there may be an imbalance, but if you look at the overall picture, we don't think there is much of an imbalance.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1309 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I have one comment to make, and then I will stop.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1310 I guess, from the way I am thinking, the NIDs that you have installed, I assume, are as a result of the rules changing, making the homeowner responsible for their inside wire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1311 I assume that is how the NIDs came about.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1312 I am actually, really, just focusing on, if we were to direct Videotron and Bell, from this point forward, to do SVMs, I am trying to think to myself: Is it a greater burden on one party or the other.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1313 That is my comment.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1314 THE CHAIRPERSON: Did you want to respond to that?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1315 THE CHAIRPERSON: The next stage is to have the parties cross‑examine each other. If that is the next step, then I suggest we take a break for 15 minutes and reconvene at 10:40.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1025 / Suspension à 1025
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1043 / Reprise à 1043
LISTNUM 1 \l 1316 THE CHAIRPERSON: I believe we are at the stage now where there will be questioning by Bell Canada of Videotron, followed by questioning by Videotron to Bell Canada, for 20 minutes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1317 So over to Bell...
EXAMINATION BY BELL CANADA
LISTNUM 1 \l 1318 MR. LEGER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1319 I have a couple of questions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1320 First, could Videotron confirm, our understanding at least, that when discussions broke down last year regarding the installation of NIDs, this had nothing to do with compliance with standards?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1321 There was no technical issue, or there were no technical concerns with the installation of NIDs in and of themselves? This was not the reason that negotiations broke down?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1322 MR. BELAND: Negotiations broke down because we weren't able to reach a global agreement.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1323 If you are asking, is there any uncertainty as to how a NID device gets attached to a piece of copper wire, I don't think there is uncertainty there. There are certainly complexities about how you go about putting in place a NID device in a variety of different inside wire configurations and alarm systems, and all of the configurations you get into. I am not sure that I really understand the scope of your question.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1324 MR. LEGER: Let me rephrase it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1325 What I would like from you is confirmation as to whether or not it is the case that negotiations broke down for technical reasons regarding the installation of NIDs.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1326 MR. BELAND: When negotiations broke down, the discussions, obviously, weren't completed.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1327 Had we agreed to continue discussions at the time they had broken down, we would have then entertained more detailed discussions about wiring configurations and so on.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1328 So I think there would have been a lot more material still to discuss.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1329 MR. LEGER: Perhaps I can ask you about that, then.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1330 Wasn't it the case, when negotiations broke down, that we had ‑‑ I will say virtually, but I think we had actually reached agreement on the model of NID that would be installed.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1331 MR. BELAND: No, I don't agree with that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1332 MR. LEGER: Okay. Let me try this slightly differently then.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1333 Weren't we down to, basically, one model that, in fact, Videotron had identified and tested?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1334 I think there may have been another model that we discussed, but we were really down to the choice of the actual device.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1335 MR. BELAND: Prototypes of devices had been exchanged, but, no, I wouldn't ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1336 I think you are trying to pluck out pieces of the discussions and say that those were resolved, but those were not.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1337 The discussions broke down. As I stated earlier to the Commissioner, the discussions broke down.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1338 MR. LEGER: They broke down over who would pay, I guess.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1339 Could I also ask you to confirm that the simple act of installing a NID does not, in fact, require over‑wiring?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1340 MR. BELAND: I am sorry, I didn't hear the entire question.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1341 MR. LEGER: Let me repeat then.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1342 Could you confirm that the simple act of installing a NID does not require over‑wiring?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1343 MR. BELAND: No. I wouldn't agree with that statement as a general statement, no.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1344 The place where you are asking us to install a NID may have no relation whatsoever to our network. It would be an odd thing for us to do, to install a NID and then just leave it hanging there, with no utility to us.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1345 MR. LEGER: But the NID would be installed ‑‑ again, it is my understanding that there was agreement that the NID would be installed at, basically, the juncture, or the junction, between the customer's inside wire and the existing network.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1346 MR. BELAND: I think that is one of the problems that has been circulating around the table today. Basically, you are asking us to install a NID, or upgrade a NID, at your interconnection with the inside wire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1347 I think that is the fundamental problem here.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1348 We question whether that is Videotron's role.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1349 MR. LEGER: Thank you, I have no further questions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1350 THE CHAIRPERSON: We move now to Videotron cross‑examining Bell.
EXAMINATION BY VIDEOTRON LTÉE
LISTNUM 1 \l 1351 MR. TAYLOR: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1352 I will see if I can be faster, but I am not sure that I can be.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1353 I only have two areas that I would like to explore, and the first has already been touched on by Commissioner Duncan, Scotch Locks.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1354 Bell seems to object to the placement of Scotch Locks on the customer inside wire. My first question is: Does Bell use Scotch Locks ever?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1355 MR. LEGER: The short answer to your question is, no, we do not object to the use of Scotch Locks, where appropriate.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1356 Our position, of course, is that, in this case, the use of Scotch Locks, although appropriate for the purpose that you have identified, which is simply to isolate the network, is not consistent with good customer service.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1357 What I mean by that is, again, providing the ability of customers to migrate to another network.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1358 MR. TAYLOR: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1359 Obviously, Videotron does that for a particular purpose, to isolate the wire, and you understand that, so that's fine.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1360 The second question ‑‑ and this may be partly, I think, because people are using words a little bit loosely. What I want to explore a little bit is opening the box.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1361 I understand that there is the protector, which is Bell's network, and Videotron doesn't get into that part of it ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1362 MR. LEGER: Your client doesn't agree with that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1363 MR. TAYLOR: But when we are talking about opening up a box to find ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1364 The description you gave earlier was that you would open up the protector, and then there would be the customer side, which is where the NID would be. Right?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1365 And then you have a diagram in "D", where you are talking about an outside configuration facility, where there is a customer side.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1366 My only point is that I want to ‑‑ to give you the answer that I want to hear, sometimes it is necessary to open up something to see the NID.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1367 Is that not the case?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1368 MR. LEGER: I am sorry, we just want to make absolutely sure that we understand the question.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1369 MR. WUNDELE: Mr. Taylor, if I may, different devices exist, but they are basically broken down into two. There are protectors, a protector being an electrical protection device, which goes to a ground, for any survoltage, or any transient voltage coming in ‑‑ lightening strikes and stuff like that. It takes the ground from the Bell Canada outside wire and drives it to ground, so there is no damage, basically, to the customer premises or the Bell network.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1370 It is a protection device.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1371 There is no interface jack. It is hard‑wired to the ground, to what we call the "tip and ring" of the line, and it has carbon protectors, or gas modules.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1372 This is, I would say, the older, or the oldest version that we have out in the field today.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1373 Then we had, I would say probably around 2001/2002, other devices, which are demarcation‑type devices, in the formal form that exists today, which is basically a housing ‑‑ I talked earlier about a three‑pair device, which contains ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1374 The box is broken down into two areas. The left‑hand side of the box is only accessible to the telco, or the ILEC service provider, and the right‑hand side of the box ‑‑ with a screwdriver, the customer is able to access just that half.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1375 Now, the left‑hand side has the same electrical protection that exists in a protector. However, it is a modular‑type unit. It clips in, it has a ground, and it does exactly the same electrical protection, and it has a little jumper, which will come over onto the customer side, which is on the right‑hand side of this box. It terminates there. The ILEC network terminates on one side of this little block, where there is that tele‑adaptable cord, which you disconnect and isolate the network, and then the ISWs all terminate in there.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1376 That is predominantly the customer side, what is recognized as the customer side, versus the ILEC service provider side.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1377 MR. TAYLOR: Right. This is not trying to be tricky, I am just trying to get clarity on this point.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1378 That entire facility has a cover on it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1379 MR. WUNDELE: Yes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1380 MR. TAYLOR: So, in order to actually unplug the NID, the Videotron technician needs to open that cover, and what the Videotron technician, when they open that cover, will see is, on the left‑hand side there will be the Bell protector, or the Bell network, with the electrical grounding and all of that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1381 And then, on the customer side, on the right‑hand side, that is where the NID is, and that is where he is supposed to unplug.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1382 Is that correct?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1383 MR. COLE: Not entirely.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1384 I just want to make sure that we understand what a NID device is.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1385 The cover, which is accessible, is accessible by anyone.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1386 When you open the device, on the left side there is another cover, over the Bell‑owned protector side of the device, which is not to be opened and tampered with, in any way, shape or form, by anyone other than a Bell technician, in particular because we have strict compliances and standards, in terms of electrical installation, and standards that we have to adhere to.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1387 The right side of the device is accessible by the customer, is clearly identified as such, and customers are instructed to open the device and to remove the jack when they are trying to isolate their inside wire for the purposes of doing repair, and for other reasons.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1388 The device is clearly marked, and the top cover can be accessible by anyone, and it is clearly identified as such.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1389 MR. TAYLOR: I don't want to beat a dead horse. Anyone includes the Videotron technician, who can, therefore, open the overall box, see the customer side, and unplug the NID.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1390 MR. COLE: Yes, except there is one problem with your question.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1391 I believe where you are trying to go is, you are confusing a protector with a NID, and they are different devices.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1392 I just want to make it clear that in your diagrams, in what you have submitted, a protector is Bell‑owned property. There is no customer side to a protector, there is a side of that protector where the inside wire connects.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1393 It is a different device, and it is very much a different standard on which we operate with that device.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1394 MR. TAYLOR: Right. That is why I prefaced this set of questions by saying that I think there has been a little bit of looseness in the use of language, because both ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1395 Videotron has, on occasion, used the word "protector", when, clearly, what they were referring to is that type of facility that can be opened up in order to get to the NID; and Bell itself, I believe, in its written submission of December 10th, talks about the customer side of the thing.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1396 What I really want to do is to make sure that everybody understands there is a box, you open up the box, on one side there is the Bell facility, don't touch the Bell facility ‑‑ you can't touch the Bell facility ‑‑ and on the other side of the box there is the NID, and you unplug the NID.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1397 In order to unplug the NID, you have to open up that box to start off with. That is the only issue I wanted to clarify, and I believe that you agree. That is the only way you can unplug the NID. The customer can do that, and the Videotron technician can do that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1398 Those are my questions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1399 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1400 Counsel, do you have any follow‑up questions?
QUESTIONS BY THE COMMISSION
LISTNUM 1 \l 1401 MR. MORRIS: Yes, I have one question for Bell.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1402 I am trying to get more clarity as to the impact of what you are proposing with regards to the SVM.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1403 Can you explain the difference between the double jack that Videotron installs when it migrates a customer to its service and the NID ‑‑ the tele‑adaptable NID that Bell has been installing up to now in terms of customer migration?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1404 MR. WUNDELE: Yes, I would be pleased to.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1405 I think it is important, when we look at the two‑way RJ 11 jack that has been installed by Videotron, specific to their facilities, or their demarcation point ‑‑ whatever it may be in the house ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1406 And there is nothing really ‑‑ there is nothing that we are challenging here.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1407 However, that point is the point where they introduce their VoIP dial tone into the customer's inside wiring. It's at that point that they ‑‑ I will use the term "push" the VoIP service, within the customer's residence, toward all of the other jacks.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1408 However, to address the clashing networks, there is a requirement to have to go down into a ‑‑ where all of this inside wiring comes down ‑‑ and we mentioned earlier that it goes to either an electrical panel or it goes outside, but there is a common area where all of the inside wiring is terminated in the majority of single‑dwelling units, or single‑family units today.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1409 That area happens to be where we have our demarcation point, and that is where there is a demarcation between the ILEC's network and the customer's inside wiring network.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1410 So Videotron, by installing their two‑way jack, introduces the Voice‑over‑IP dial tone, activates all of that inside wiring now with the Videotron dial tone, they proceed to go to the basement, and they have to disconnect, and, really, that is where the area of concern is.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1411 When you have to disconnect, if you just disconnect the wire, you have to reconnect all of the others. You can't just disconnect one wire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1412 And it varies with configurations. If it is our configuration, you have to make sure that you maintain connectivity and continuity with the copper of each conductor.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1413 So if you have five rooms that are being fed from a star configuration that happen to be down in the customer's electrical panel, well, you have to bridge ‑‑ I will use the colours specific to the standard inside wiring today, red, green, black, yellow. You have to connect all your reds together, you have to connect all your greens, your yellows and your blacks. You are only using maybe red and green.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1414 So in that case you would be able to bridge them together at that single point. And at that point is really where it is important that if you put a device in place where you have this, you are able to terminate and properly terminate and establish a standard, and I think really the important thing is establishing that standard, which isn't there today, specific to customer inside wiring, a standard of interconnection between service providers. It really provides that opportunity and, as we see it, is really an opportunity and a requirement to put a standard in place to manage that specific area.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1415 Now, that area happens to be that is where the network terminates for an ILEC. Theirs is ‑‑ Vidéotron, excuse me, cableco, may vary in locations. But that common area is really where the problem resides and by putting in a static device regardless of ‑‑ their double‑sided jack is just the introduction point for their service, is really to focus in on this other area and have a standard to terminate.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1416 MR. MORRIS: I guess what I am trying to get at is when you install the tele‑adaptable NIDs that you have been installing, Vidéotron has to go and unplug the RJ11 connector if it wants to install its network, right? It then installs a double jack at its demarcation point, right?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1417 So if Bell wants to go and ‑‑ if Bell manages to win back a customer, it goes and disconnects the double jack that Vidéotron installed. So it seems to me like they are parallel devices in a sense.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1418 The NID that you have installed doesn't allow Vidéotron to connect to it, it just allows it to disconnect and isolate the wire. And similarly, the double jack that Vidéotron has installed allows you to go and easily isolate their network.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1419 But they seem to be parallel devices and I just wanted to get a sense if they are not.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1420 MR. WUNDELE: The device that Vidéotron puts in is basically just a double RJ11 type device that the customer unplugs to remove ‑‑ basically if they are migrating off of the cableco service, they are unplugging there and basically plugging in at the demarc.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1421 In the case that there is a NID, an official NID in place and a recognized NID that is in place where the customer can connect in, we now have a connectivity over the network for the ILEC.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1422 So it is really the customer has to the most part of this. The customer has to make sure he does this.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1423 If, for whatever reason, in terms of coordinating the orders between ‑‑ let's say, on an order where a customer is migrating from a cableco back to Bell or to ILEC and for whatever reason the modem is still plugged in upstairs and it is still introducing ‑‑ even though it may not be putting necessarily dial tone, maybe you are introducing some form of battery on the line. We try and turn off the service. The customer ‑‑ we may not visit that customer.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1424 If the customer realizes that they have a demarcation in place, they connect everything in, we should be all right, we shouldn't have to roll a truck. The service would be transparent to the customer.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1425 However, the customer doesn't know what they should or should not disconnect and this is where, with a ‑‑ and again, I will come back to a device that has that intelligence that does it for the customer based on ring tone for activation for one service provider or another.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1426 The customer wouldn't have to make these decisions: I have to unplug this, I have to plug in that, I have to do this, I have to do that. We remove that element from the customer, which has ‑‑ and I am not saying they are not knowledgeable or they may not have that specific skillset to understand what I have to do and not have to do, which, in turn, could add increased costs for the customer.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1427 In the case that a truck would be rolled and it is caused by something in the customer's inside wiring, it would increase costs for the customer and we are trying to avoid that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1428 MR. MORRIS: But just to be clear, the NIDs that you are currently installing would require a customer to ‑‑ if Bell won that customer back, would have to plug that jack back in?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1429 MR. WUNDELE: The customer would have to plug that back in.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1430 MR. MORRIS: Yes, right. Okay.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1431 THE CHAIRPERSON: I have one question or comment. Maybe both parties can respond to it because maybe it is me who is confused, I don't know.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1432 I heard two different things. One, I heard Vidéotron say Bell wants them to install a NID at a place that may not be opportune for them and may require overwiring and I heard ‑‑ I think I heard Bell counsel say that they don't object to a NID being on the second floor or any other demarcation point that Vidéotron so chooses.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1433 Are those conflicting statements or is it just me?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1434 MR. LEGER: That is not quite what we said. What we said was that we recognize that Vidéotron has a different network interface with the customer than we do, which may be at the second floor.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1435 Vidéotron is installing, as we understand it, a double jack, as John explained, and in one of the two receptacles in the double jack, that is where Vidéotron's dial tone comes in. Vidéotron's network interfaces the customer's network at that point and I believe that is Vidéotron's position, that its network interface device, I guess, being the jack, is located on the second floor.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1436 But as we have explained, Vidéotron needs to do more than deliver service on that second floor at that second jack, at that two‑receptacle jack, because it doesn't necessarily feed dial tone to the rest of the household when it does that, particularly in cases where there is a star configuration and especially in cases where there may be more complex configurations and/or an alarm.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1437 So what Vidéotron then needs to do ‑‑ as John indicated, there are two distinct, I will call them circuits, inside that inside wire, the red‑green pair and I guess it is the yellow‑black pair. Now, what Vidéotron does is it uses one of those two pairs to bring in its dial tone and then it brings it back down to that common point where the rest of the customer's network in effect interfaces with ‑‑ previously interfaced with our network but now will be interfacing with Vidéotron's network.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1438 It is a bit ‑‑ I was going to say cute but it is a little ‑‑ it requires some, I guess, conceptual, almost a picture, but Vidéotron is in effect using the second pair of the customer's inside wire to bring its signal down to this common interface point, typically in the utility room.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1439 So what they are saying ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1440 THE CHAIRPERSON: So does Vidéotron have to overwire or not?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1441 MR. LEGER: No, it doesn't.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1442 MR. BELAND: I think the last two questions from yourself and from staff really focus on one of the key issues to understand here.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1443 Fundamentally, in the way staff described it, we have a symmetry here. You connect at your place, I connect at my place. When I connect, I disconnect you. When you connect, you disconnect me. Fundamentally, there is a symmetry there.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1444 What Bell is attempting to portray is that in fact that symmetry doesn't exist, that Vidéotron has a fundamental requirement to get from its place over to the Bell place in order to provide Vidéotron service.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1445 That is fundamentally what Bell is saying, is it is not as simply as you plug in, we plug in. While you are plugging in, you need to get all the way over to my place and while you are there, why don't you install some sort of dual service provider NID?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1446 That is the argument Bell is making and it is factually untrue. In the majority of cases, in fact a substantial majority of cases, the only thing Vidéotron needs to do down at the Bell demarcation point is disconnect Bell. That is it. That is the way it is in my own house and that is the way it is in a substantial majority of cases.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1447 We have never denied that there are some cases depending on configurations that alarm companies have brought in and that sort of thing that add complexity, we have never denied that there are some cases where we may need to be moving about elsewhere in the house doing some work and that that might afford an opportunity to see some coordination with Bell. In fact, that is one of the reasons we engaged in discussions with Bell.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1448 But on a fundamental factual basis, it is incorrect for Bell to state that Vidéotron has a service requirement to bring its service back to Bell's demarcation point in order to provide telephony service to the subscriber. It is factually incorrect.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1449 MR. LEGER: We are maybe getting down to a bit of semantics here. We are not saying that it is necessary for Vidéotron to get back to our customer interface but it is typically necessary for Vidéotron to get its signal back to some common point in the customer's inside wire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1450 There are many configurations, we recognize that, and they are not all straightforward and simple but Vidéotron, unless it intends to feed only one jack in the home, does typically need to connect to an interface to that inside wire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1451 Now, I need to add to that that we are talking about what Vidéotron and we, I guess, appear to be disagreeing about but one thing that we have to reiterate here is that what is happening today is when Vidéotron is disconnecting the inside wire, it is causing damage.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1452 We can discuss for a long time whether Vidéotron needs to bring dial tone to one point or the other in the household but the fact remains that where there is not currently a NID, we are finding that their technicians are messing around with ‑‑ whether it is inside our installations or with the inside wire or with our customer drops and we have got a lot of instances of damages.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1453 We have complained about this to Vidéotron, we have filed a Part VII and we have, in fact, sued them. And again, I don't want to get into the merits of that lawsuit but we have in fact sued them and our concern is the damage that is being caused to our network as well as the damage that is being caused or the impacts on the customer's inside wire, which will require a substantial amount of work. We can debate whether it is 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour but it is work that doesn't need to be performed.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1454 When the Commission issued a Public Notice, it said we want a proposal that minimizes ILEC work and that makes migration ‑‑ and I am simplifying here ‑‑ but that makes migration to other service providers reasonably ‑‑ and I will use the word ‑‑ "straightforward."
LISTNUM 1 \l 1455 Well, that is not what is happening and Vidéotron has reiterated its existing insulation procedures and its existing insulation procedures do not do those things and we are facing damages which need ‑‑ again, they need to stop.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1456 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are the procedures they are not following the same as those that are in their installation manuals or are they deviating from those?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1457 MR. LEGER: One of the problems we have had with their installation procedures is they are at a ‑‑ and I know the Vidéotron folks get quite annoyed, and if I was them, I probably would too. But our perception of these materials is that they are at this level and when you look at them, there shouldn't be damage.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1458 To be fair, they have provided warnings to the technicians, you know, don't mess with Bell's wire, don't mess with Bell's facilities. What we are finding in practice is that those procedures, while they may be followed as far as they go, again, what we are finding is that we have got a lot of damage.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1459 Is this a question of going back and Vidéotron rewriting its procedures and we are consuming another year? Who knows?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1460 THE CHAIRPERSON: Let me ask the question this way. If Vidéotron staff followed their procedures 100 percent, would we be sitting here today?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1461 MR. WUNDELE: At this time, I would say yes because at no point in time have we acknowledged that our protector is a demarcation device and that wires should be cut.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1462 For a NID device, it is a whole different story. There is an interface device, there is an official demarcation, a technical way, with an RJ 11 tele‑adapt plug, that a customer can isolate their network, or a Videotron technician can isolate a customer network from an ILEC network.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1463 In all of the other cases where there is not that interface ‑‑ right now, in their documentation, it states to cut the protector as close as possible to the terminals, and isolate with a Scotch Lock.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1464 That is Bell Canada property at that point. That is still Bell Canada property today.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1465 THE CHAIRPERSON: What part is not Bell's property? What would you propose they cut, and where?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1466 MR. WUNDELE: We are not proposing to cut anything. What we really need, and what we are looking for, is to establish an interface device that will provide that standard of how to isolate two networks.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1467 THE CHAIRPERSON: But I hear them saying that to do that incurs costs and is not in their best interest.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1468 So my question to you is, if we are going to have a second floor module somewhere, and you need to have your network disconnected, without affecting the quality of your network, what would you propose as a secondary alternative?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1469 MR. WUNDELE: Our original is the two‑way SVM, and the secondary was a static NID device, which is what we had entertained in previous negotiations.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1470 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you have a comment that you want to make?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1471 MR. BELAND: The only comment is that Bell has just demonstrated that, really, what they are stuck on is the policy issue that the Commission has already ruled upon.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1472 Bell is here because they want to see dual service provider NIDs, and I would submit that the Commission ruled on that in Decision 2007‑105.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1473 It is not an issue that is specific to Videotron, or to Bell for that matter.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1474 The record of the proceeding under PN 2007‑3 is full of statements from cablecos and ILECs indicating that they disagree that there is a public interest in seeing these devices installed.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1475 You could look at statements made by TELUS, for example ‑‑ TELUS‑CRTC‑4, an interrogatory. TELUS states very matter of factly that what Shaw does is, they snip wires, and TELUS then, when they re‑win the customer, when they win back the customer, they "attach" the wire without difficulty.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1476 I think we are dealing with a situation where Bell refuses to accept the Commission's ruling in Decision 2007‑105.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1477 MR. LEGER: Again, the Commission issued a ruling in 2007‑105 that there was no requirement on a national level to install NIDs.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1478 Recognizing that, the Commission also acknowledged that there was a need to resolve the issue between Videotron and Bell Canada, and that is what we are here to fix.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1479 There is a problem, and to say that TELUS has no problem with what Shaw is doing, frankly, is irrelevant to us.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1480 There is a problem in Bell Canada territory. We have provided ample evidence of cases. I have a whole slew of photographs of additional instances that are going to require us to go and perform work in premises, and the problem we need fixed here is the one between Bell Canada and Videotron.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1481 The Commission did not say in 2007‑105 that there was no problem that needed to be fixed between Videotron and Bell Canada. In fact, it created this proceeding to address the Bell Canada/Videotron dispute.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1482 So to say that we are reviewing and varying and challenging or appealing the decision, we are not doing that, but there is a problem and it needs to be fixed.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1483 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1484 Are there any other questions?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1485 Vice‑Chairman Arpin.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1486 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: You have a copy of the written submission that Videotron gave us this morning, I hope.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1487 MR. LEGER: No, we don't have a copy of the submission from this morning.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1488 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Could Videotron make one available?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1489 MR. BELAND: I'm sorry, I had asked that Bell be provided copies. My apologies if you didn't receive them.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1490 MR. LEGER: We weren't sure that we were going to be seeing it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1491 MR. BELAND: We had given eight copies, asking that Bell be provided one, but I think we may have one or two more. I will check.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1492 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: There are three pictures in this presentation, if you want to take a minute to look at them.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1493 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: The first one is entitled "Bell Canada Demarcation Point with NID".
LISTNUM 1 \l 1494 If I heard you well today, on top of the demarcation point is a cover, which has been removed, and, if I heard you well, there is a second cover over the centrepiece.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1495 That is what you said earlier. Am I right?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1496 MR. LEGER: That's correct.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1497 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: If you look at that picture, you see that the cover has been removed. Obviously, that covers the portion that Bell owns.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1498 Is that right?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1499 MR. COLE: That's correct.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1500 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Now, looking at the right‑hand side, there is the NID. What will Videotron ‑‑ and it seems to me that it has not been done ‑‑ do when they disconnect?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1501 Will they remove the orange wire and the white wire that we see in that picture?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1502 MR. WUNDELE: No.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1503 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: No. What will they do?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1504 MR. WUNDELE: They will remove the tele‑adapt plug, which is kind of like a little black rubber boot on ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1505 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Oh, I see. Okay.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1506 MR. WUNDELE: That, essentially, breaks the interface between the two networks ‑‑ customers and the ILECs.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1507 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Okay. And that's a telephone jack.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1508 MR. WUNDELE: That's an RJ 11, standard ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1509 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: It is, essentially, a J 11.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1510 Will they put theirs over there?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1511 MR. WUNDELE: No.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1512 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: They only remove it, period.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1513 And they will, at their own demarcation point, whatever it is, put an RJ 11 in.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1514 Okay.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1515 Now, if I go to the next picture, on the following page, obviously it is entitled "Bell Canada Demarcation Point without NID".
LISTNUM 1 \l 1516 What will they do in this instance?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1517 And, Videotron, you will have an opportunity to give your own view on that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1518 What will they do in this instance?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1519 MR. WUNDELE: Obviously, first, gain access to the actual device. Once access is determined, they will test the ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1520 You see the ISW a little further down?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1521 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Yes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1522 MR. WUNDELE: That has been removed. We don't see the Scotch Locks here, but, traditionally, they are putting Scotch Locks on each ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1523 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Okay. So, in this instance, it has been removed.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1524 MR. WUNDELE: Yes, we don't see it ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1525 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: We don't see it, but from your own knowledge and experience, you know it has been removed.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1526 MR. WUNDELE: Yes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1527 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: This is also Bell property.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1528 MR. WUNDELE: Yes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1529 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Are you saying that it should not have been opened?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1530 MR. WUNDELE: Yes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1531 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: So what should they have done?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1532 MR. WUNDELE: What we are stipulating is, we have to determine a location ‑‑ another location ‑‑ where that is to take place, with a specific standard.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1533 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Okay. And the third picture, obviously, only shows the Scotch Lock.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1534 MR. WUNDELE: It is the same thing as above, except it is an older ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1535 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Yes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1536 MR. WUNDELE: But it has a grey cover on top of it. That's not here. Some may have, some may not, depending if they are inside or outside.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1537 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: I see.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1538 MR. WUNDELE: Inside, sometimes, there is no cover. Outside they normally have a ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1539 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: What you are saying here is, on this one there were not two covers. There was only one cover.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1540 MR. WUNDELE: On this one here.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1541 The one on the bottom, it comes with a cover. Traditionally, if it is installed outside ‑‑ exterior ‑‑ it would have a cover on it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1542 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Yes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1543 MR. WUNDELE: And if it's interior, like at the electrical panel inside ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1544 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: I see.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1545 MR. WUNDELE: ‑‑ it may or may not have a cover on it. It's not required.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1546 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Okay.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1547 Going back to these three pictures, after hearing what Bell just told us about their procedure, what is your ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1548 Taking the first picture here, would you agree that there was a cover over the centrepiece?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1549 Second, why has it been removed?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1550 MR. BELAND: I don't know where this particular picture was taken.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1551 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Well, I see it in your own submission, so I am wondering ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1552 MR. BELAND: Yes. And the second cover, let's call it ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1553 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Yes?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1554 MR. BELAND: ‑‑ is not present there.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1555 This photo Videotron possesses and used for this presentation, but I don't want you to take from this that it is Videotron's practice to open ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1556 I think we wanted to show you what a full device looks like, but we have made it clear that the only cover we open, and the only cover we are interested in opening, is the one that lets us get to that little telephone jack, to disconnect it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1557 So my apologies if a picture with the second cover open might have led you to believe that we believe we should open the second cover. That is not the case.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1558 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: That same picture is in your submission, or in your manual, because I found it earlier today, and I had seen it before when I was reading the material.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1559 That picture, as you said when you made your oral presentation this morning ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1560 It is Slide 36 in your submission of December 10th.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1561 It is the same picture. Yes, I would say that it is the same picture.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1562 MR. BELAND: Claude has just mentioned to me that these pictures exist for training purposes, to show technicians what these devices look like.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1563 Maybe we should be paying Bell a royalty for the use of the picture of the entire device, but it is not to suggest in any way ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1564 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: We are not in the intellectual property field.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
LISTNUM 1 \l 1565 MR. BELAND: It is not to suggest in any way that Videotron's practice is to open the inner door.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1566 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: When I look at the second picture that you have provided us ‑‑ and it applies also to the first picture, as well as the third one ‑‑ and they were all part of your earlier submission ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1567 Do you agree that in this instance, taking the second picture, removing the wire was not the proper way to do the installation?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1568 That is what Bell said.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1569 MR. BELAND: No, we don't agree at all. In fact, the discussion we had near the beginning of the day today was, given that there is no tele‑adaptable demarcation at this location, at the Bell demarcation point, we believe the reasonable thing for us to do is to cut the wires.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1570 And what we expressly do is cut the wires as close as possible to the Bell protector, in order to make it easier for Bell to reconnect them later.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1571 That is why, frankly, we find it somewhat illogical for Bell to be saying: Don't cut them there, cut them farther away.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1572 Because, by cutting them farther away, we would make their job more difficult.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1573 What we are doing is, we are going as close as we can to those two little screws, those lugs, snipping there, once again, in the express intent that when Bell wins back the customer, they will be able to easily reconnect the wires.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1574 In fact, I would go back to my quotation from TELUS. That is what TELUS has stated in its territory. This is what Shaw does, and TELUS finds it, matter of fact, easy to reconnect those wires.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1575 MR. TAYLOR: Just by way of clarity on this, the wires that are cut are the customer's inside wire, they are not the Bell wires.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1576 They are cutting the customer wire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1577 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Back to Bell ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 1578 Yes?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1579 MR. LEGER: Let's be careful here. When they are going inside the protector, clearly that is not the customer's wire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1580 From the outset of the inside wire regime, going back to the early nineties, we have specified that there is a certain amount of wire on the customer's side of the protector for which we are responsible and which is ours.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1581 Now, to be fair, if there is not a NID in place, that point can be difficult to establish, we don't deny that. But the idea that going and cutting right up against the protector, customer wire, at least in our view, is not correct.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1582 But in any event, you know, again we keep coming back to the cutting and the idea of cutting here. Wherever you do cut you are going to create a problem for the customer when the customer wants to migrate, because you are going to require work on that wiring to establish an interface which, if there was already a NID installed would be there, but you are going to create an issue for the customer to migrate.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1583 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Now, this morning, Mr. Leger, there were a good number of allegations made in the Bell presentation. Are they allegations of situations that occur two years, three years ago or are they current allegations, things that say will have happened yesterday?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1584 MR. LEGER: They are current. You know, I mean Vidéotron is installing services. We are, in some instances, winning back customers, customers are migrating back and forth. We are experiencing this right now.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1585 John had some of his guys go out and it is quite an exercise to do this, incidentally, but go out and take some pictures. We have got pictures of very very recent instances where, again, we are finding more of this damage. So, no, this is not something that happened three years ago and is not happening anymore. Our position is it is continuing to happen.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1586 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Okay. Does Vidéotron have any comment? Otherwise, I am through.
CLOSING REMARKS BY VIDÉOTRON LTÉE
LISTNUM 1 \l 1587 MR. BELAND: Once again, Vidéotron acknowledges that errors happen. We do hundreds of thousands of installations a year, errors happen. But we also have a rigorous training program and inspection program for both our in‑house technicians and our contracted technicians.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1588 So I mean once again, as we stated earlier, to the extent that any bilateral processes can be improved to rapidly identify errors and have them corrected as soon as possible, have the error brought to the individual technician's attention, we are always ready to do that. In fact, let us not forget that errors also happen elsewhere during an installation. Errors, in general, are not a thing that we like to see, so we are always ready to find ways to correct errors.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1589 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1590 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Does anybody else have any questions?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1591 Commissioner Duncan.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1592 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes, I just don't want to leave here without a complete understanding.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1593 So the NIDs are not an issue, you are satisfied? If there is a NID in place you are satisfied with the way the disconnection is done? Where there is not ‑‑ well, I will let you answer that one.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1594 MR. LEGER: What we are saying is that even when there is not a NID in place we are finding problems. Should we be finding these problems? In our view, absolutely not. On this score, we think ‑‑ you know, we recognize Vidéotron's procedure is already telling its technicians to pull the RJ 11 connector out of the jack, but in reality this is not what is consistently happening.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1595 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: But you don't have a problem with the procedure that is written then, it is the experience that you are talking about. And so a few minutes ago when you cited that you were having problems when people were coming back to Bell, I guess what I don't know if I don't have the whole picture is I don't know when they disconnected from Bell in the first instance. So I don't know if it was before Vidéotron implemented these measures.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1596 I mean, I know when you are dealing with a lot of people, people do make mistakes, we can all agree with that, everybody makes mistakes, so we understand that. What I don't know from the example you gave is if that customer had disconnected from Bell before Vidéotron implemented the improvements that they have indicated they have put in place.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1597 MR. LEGER: Well, you know, we are not able to place a date on each and every disconnection that Vidéotron does. What we are saying is that the problem continues, it continues where there is a NID. But remember, our main problem here is with respect to where there is no NID and all the problems that customers are going to face.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1598 So we have two issues. One, where there is a NID, procedures aren't being followed. And I am not saying they are never being followed, but they are not being followed all the time. But where there is no NID, we are inevitably facing significant work to be able to migrate these customers. And again, you know, we have put forward a solution which will fix this and which will also improve the customer's experience. It really is a customer experience issue that is before us today in our view.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1599 MR. BELAND: Commissioner Duncan, if I can just comment as well. You made a good point about the fact that when a problem is detected you don't necessarily know that the error was committed the day or the week before. And it is important to point out that there are other parties that access the ensemble of inside wiring at a residence, in particular alarm companies. Alarm companies open up and go into these same devices that we have been discussing, do configurations of inside wire at different locations in the home that sometimes can be a little strange. And we don't think their standards are necessarily as high as our own or Bell's.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1600 So it is sometimes difficult to find out exactly what happened when a particular problem is found but, again, that doesn't take away from our willingness always to put in place whatever procedures we can to identify errors.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1601 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Thank you for that clarification. I am just wondering, short of dictating that the SVM be put in place, what is the solution?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1602 MR. COLE: Short of?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1603 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes. If we don't go that route what will be sufficient?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1604 MR. LEGER: What we I guess had negotiated, what we thought we had negotiated with Vidéotron last year, which was the installation of NIDs where they aren't currently in place and the use of them where they are.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1605 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: And if that was a decision, to put the SVMs in, then the 45 per cent that are currently in place, would you propose that you would do a mass upgrade on those or how would those 45 per cent be addressed?
LISTNUM 1 \l 1606 MR. LEGER: WE are not proposing a mass refit of devices nor are we, I think, proposing a mass refit of devices by Vidéotron, although clearly that would be our preference, but that is not what we are asking the Commission to do.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1607 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay, thank you very much. Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1608 THE CHAIRPERSON: That concludes this portion of the hearing.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1609 We will take a 15‑minute break and conclude with two 10‑minute final submissions from each of the parties. We will resume at 10 before 12:00.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1138 / Suspension à 1138
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1151 / Reprise à 1151
LISTNUM 1 \l 1610 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back. We are in the final stage and I would ask Bell Canada to make their final closing remarks and that will be followed by Vidéotron.
CLOSING REMARKS BY BELL CANADA
LISTNUM 1 \l 1611 MR. LEGER: Over to you, Mike.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1612 MR. COLE: Okay. I will just make a few points and then turn things back to J‑F.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1613 First of all, I will just introduce myself quickly. As Senior Vice‑President of Operations I have a responsibility, direct line accountability for the actions of over 6,000 technicians in Bell Canada who day in and day out are responsible for installation repair. I work closely with John who has 31 years in the business. And there is a couple of points that I think I just want to make as a representative of Bell, but also as a representative of Bell that understands the impact that this lack of alignment is having on customers.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1614 First of all, the lack of a standard predictable method in which to isolate properly the customer's internal network causes problems. Having direct experience for the actions of 6,000 technicians I know that technicians make mistakes. I also know that when technicians are presented with multiple procedures, they are presented with multiple situations, it can become confusing. And the individual that bears the brunt of that impact is the customer.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1615 We haven't even talked about situations today where a Vidéotron technician goes into a home they can't find the protector, the protector is hidden behind drywall. The customer has renovated their basement. They don't know if it was on the outside or the inside of the house. We haven't talked about those situations.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1616 We haven't talked about the general confusion of a customer who is moving into a new home that was formerly served by a competitor and they don't know what has been done to their internal network.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1617 We haven't talked about situations where a customer who authorizes work, but does not understand what tampering or damage has been done to their own internal network should they decide to make a decision to go to a different competitor.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1618 That lack of standard makes it extremely difficult for us and for competition to flourish. In cases where customers are moving between homes, homes that have been served by Vidéotron, we have a 10 to 30 per cent higher rate of failure of our installs and the installs fail because there is not an agreed to technical standard. And I am not complaining on behalf of Bell, but the customers exposure to those damages in those instances of failure of being able to properly reconnect their network are very high.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1619 So agreement to a standard is what we ‑‑ you know, I think we lost an opportunity a year and a half ago quite honestly. We took a discussion very far down the road and we couldn't agree at the last minute on how we would proceed forward. But we had agreed that a standard was important and the standard was important to the customer.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1620 After those talks broke down, it became about, you know, cost, who bears cost, whose entry point are we talking about, it became about semantics, we lost focus on the customer.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1621 So I think that we advanced discussions far enough. I just want to reiterate that this is having an impact on customers in Vidéotron territory. I have a deep understanding of what it takes to get technicians to do a job in a repeatable standardized fashion and what we have now does not allow that to happen.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1622 I turn that back to J‑F.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1623 MR. LEGER: Once again, to reiterate, the focus on this proceeding needs to be on the customer experience. Vidéotron, we think, have focused on the Vidéotron experience or the Vidéotron convenience, but the focus needs to be on the customer.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1624 I will read to you from what I understand to be paragraph 15 of Vidéotron's submissions of 10 December, which in effect summarizes Vidéotron's proposal where in Vidéotron states:
"Vidéotron notes that the connection of the customer inside wire, CIW, to Vidéotron's network involves the installation of a new double jack as illustrated in diagram 2. In the event that a customer chooses to terminate service with Vidéotron the CIW can be disconnected from Vidéotron's network by unplugging the RJ 11 at that jack. This is a simple process which is convenient for Bell Canada and the customer, it does not require any repairs to or reconfigurations to the customer inside wire." (As Read)
LISTNUM 1 \l 1625 This, commissioners, we think symbolizes one of the fundamental problems here. This may be simple from a Vidéotron standpoint, but in fact it gives rise to a huge amount of problems when customers, for whatever reason, might decide to migrate their service to another service provider, could be to Bell Canada, it could be a service provider who uses our loops, but in any event, customers will be facing problems.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1626 Now, we have proposed a solution, whether it is a NID, the installation of NIDs on a ‑‑ I was going to say a mandated basis, but certainly in accordance with Commission direction basis ‑‑ or, as we are proposing, the installation of something that is a little more sophisticated but provides substantially more customer utility, namely the SVM, the focus here needs to be on customers.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1627 Now, the proposal we have put forward, and just to be clear because I believe there were questions late in the questioning period earlier, what we are saying is if we are first to go into customer premises, we will install a device. A NID is the fallback, our preference, again, is the SVM. And we will cover, of course, the costs associated with that. If Vidéotron are first, then they do the same thing.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1628 Now, we need to recognize, however, that we have been installing devices and assuming the cost for them for several years. We have covered, we believe, approximately 45 per cent. We recognize that there is still a 65 per cent to cover out there, but we think that it is fair to recognize that we have already NID‑ed, so to speak, 45 per cent of the premises. So the suggestion that well you guys aren't going to do as many needs to be prefaced with a recognition that we have been installing these devices.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1629 We think this is a reasonable proposal that focuses on the customer and the customer's convenience.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1630 Now, the order we are requesting, and this goes back to a question from the Vice‑Chairman, was to whether we are consistent with the policy direction and, more specifically, with the telecommunications policy.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1631 Well, our proposal, we believe, is consistent with the policy, in that it enhances the efficiency and competitiveness of telecommunications at a national level, 7(c) I believe. And we also believe that it is consistent with 7(b), which is to provide reliable, and this is important to emphasize, reliable and affordable telecommunications services of high quality in urban and rural areas.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1632 Again, our proposal does that. It enhances the efficiency of telecommunications by simplifying customers' experience, and it enhances reliability and affordability by ensuring that when service providers migrate customers, they do so, as Mike pointed out, in accordance with a standard which is predictable.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1633 Those are my comments. Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1634 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Bell.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1635 We will now hear from Videotron.
SUBMISSIONS BY VIDEOTRON
LISTNUM 1 \l 1636 MR. BELAND: To begin, Videotron would like to thank the Commission panel and staff for the time they have put into this hearing. We believe this process has provided an opportunity for the issues to be aired and examined thoroughly.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1637 Hopefully, this has brought an enhanced clarity to the nature of the dispute between Videotron and Bell Canada, a clarity which will assist the Commission in its deliberations.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1638 The issue before the Commission is the process that Videotron should follow when disconnecting Bell Canada's network from the customer's inside wire at a residential premise.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1639 Bell Canada's proposal that Videotron install NIDs at Bell Canada's demarcation point does not address this issue, and, more importantly, has already been rejected by the Commission in Decision 2007‑105.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1640 In the proceeding leading to Decision 2007‑105, Bell Canada stated that Rogers, Cogeco, and Mountain Cable were each disconnecting Bell Canada's network in the same "improper way" as Videotron, and that they should all be required to install a NID at Bell's demarcation point.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1641 All of the cable carriers, SaskTel, and MTS opposed Bell's approach.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1642 The Commission rejected Bell's arguments.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1643 In Decision 2007‑105, the Commission found that customers could, and did, change service providers without NIDs being installed. The Commission also found that it would be contrary to the objectives of the Telecommunications Act, and the requirements of the government's December 2006 policy direction, to impose a regulatory obligation to install a NID, and thereby interfere with market forces.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1644 There is no basis in fact or law for distinguishing the disconnection of Bell Canada's network from customer inside wire, where Videotron is the cable LEC, from the process that is followed when another cable LEC is involved. It would directly contradict the Commission's conclusions in Decision 1007‑105 and conflict with the government's policy direction if the Commission were to accept Bell Canada's proposal and unnecessarily interfere with market forces.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1645 Bell Canada's approach must be rejected.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1646 In contrast to Bell Canada's proposal, Videotron's proposed process is simple and efficient, and meets the requirements identified by the Commission in Decision 2007‑105.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1647 The process followed by Videotron minimizes the amount of work that the ILEC must do to reconnect its network to the customer inside wire. If there is a NID at Bell Canada's demarcation point, the RJ 11 connector can be plugged back into the NID.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1648 If there is no NID, then all that needs to be done is to remove the Scotch Locks on the customer inside wire and re‑attach the customer inside wire to the lugs.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1649 In addition, the Videotron process does not remove or alter the customer inside wire, so as to impair the ability of Bell Canada, or any other service provider, to use the customer inside wire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1650 Videotron's network can be disconnected from the customer inside wire simply by unplugging the RJ 11 connector at the double jack, which constitutes the Videotron demarcation point. The customer inside wire remains useable by Bell Canada or any other service provider.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1651 Overall, the Videotron process is extremely simple and efficient.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1652 To sum up, the Bell Canada proposal has already been rejected by the Commission in Decision 2007‑105. There is no basis in fact or law for reversing the Commission's conclusions and requiring Videotron to install NIDs where no other cable LEC is required to do so. Bell Canada's proposal must be rejected.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1653 The disconnection procedure followed by Videotron and proposed in this proceeding is fundamentally the same as that followed by all other cable LECs across Canada. It is simple, and intended to protect both Bell Canada's network and minimize inconvenience to the customer.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1654 The Videotron procedure avoids the addition of unnecessary inside wiring within the customer's premises, permits Videotron's network to be disconnected from the customer inside wire by simply unplugging the RJ 11 connector at the Videotron demarcation point, and permits Bell Canada's network to be reconnected to the customer inside wire by either plugging in the RJ 11 connector at the Bell Canada demarcation point, if a NID is present, or by reconnecting the customer inside wire directly to the lugs at the demarcation point, if no NID is present.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1655 Finally, the Videotron procedure requires each LEC to take full responsibility for its own network and its own demarcation point.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1656 Videotron puts in place a tele‑adaptable connection that can be simply unplugged at its demarcation point. It is Bell's responsibility to do the same at its demarcation point, if it wishes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1657 This places maximum reliance on market forces, as required by the policy direction.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1658 We submit that the Videotron procedure is appropriate, and we thank you for your time and attention.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1659 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1660 This concludes the hearing. I want to thank all parties and staff for their work and effort in bringing us to this point.
LISTNUM 1 \l 1661 As we said earlier, we will have a decision out by January 29th. Thank you.
‑‑‑ Whereupon the hearing concluded at 1206 /
L'audience se termine à 1206
Bill Curley Monique Mahoney
Jennifer Cheslock Sue Villeneuve
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