Intervention: Government of Yukon (Intervenor 254)

Document Name: 2015-134.223970.2397484.Intervention(1fdws01!).pdf
July 13, 2015 Government of Yukon 1 of 15
July 13, 2015
Mr. John Traversy
Secretary General
Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission
Ottawa, ON *** ***
**** Mr. Traversy:

Telecom Notice of Consultation 2015-134 Review of Basic Telecommunications Services Executive Summary

1. Access to fast, affordable, and reliable telecommunications and information services is essential for Yukon homes and businesses, and the evolution of technological capabilities and customer expectations will require continuing upgrades to the standards and levels of service available.

2. Currently there are notable barriers which limit the full participation of Yukon homes and businesses in the digital economy:

a. High-speed services are not universally available throughout Yukon, speeds are lower and price levels are higher than elsewhere in Canada.

b. High usage charges are a significant burden for customers and in some case a deterrent.

c. There is a significant lack of competition in services, which restricts choice, limits innovation, and does not provide price discipline.

d. There is insufficient investment in infrastructure, due to the limited market opportunities, and the absence of competitive pressure on the incumbent.

e. The concentration of facilities ownership (telecom, cable and wireless) with Northwestel and its affiliates represents a significant structural barrier to choice and innovation.

3. The Commission should now revise the definition of basic service to include high-speed or broadband Internet access, at speeds of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload by the end of 2016, and establish an aspirational goal for broadband service in Canada of 100 Mbps down and 30 Mbps up.

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4. Market forces and current government funding together are not sufficient to ensure that access to the new basic service is available to all Canadians. This is especially the case in Northern Canada, where competition has not yet, and may not ever, provide sufficient impetus to ensure ubiquitous access to basic service.

5. Where market opportunities exist, the private sector will provide services that customers want, but where demand is not sufficient to overcome barriers to entry, it is necessary for governments to act to reduce those barriers, if the policy objectives are to be met.

6. Consistent with the policy objectives, there must be a continuing obligation to ensure that all Canadians, and particularly those at the economic and geographic margins, have and continue to have access to the level of telecommunications services sufficient to enable full participation in the digital economy.

7. The Government of Yukon recommends adoption of a basic broadband subsidy that would allow extension of high-speed access to communities in all regions of Canada at comparable prices, and the establishment of a transport subsidy that would allow the necessary infrastructure investments to be made.

8. The subsidy programs would be designed to incorporate the operation of market forces wherever possible, with the end goal of enabling the development of competition.

Introduction

9. The Government of Yukon has a long-standing interest in the development of telecommunications in Northern Canada, and wishes to be included as an intervener in this proceeding.

10. The regulatory and policy framework which governs the provision of telecommunications in the **** is a critical in shaping the economic and social development of Northern Canadian communities, and the Government of Yukon commends the Commission for undertaking this review of the services which all Canadians will require to fully participate in the digital economy.

11. While it is a matter of record of which the Commission is well aware, the Government of Yukon believes it is important to emphasize the disproportionate significance that access to advanced telecommunications has for the development and welfare of communities in Yukon and across the ****, which are often small, isolated, and extremely reliant on connections with larger centres for basic needs like education, healthcare and emergency services.

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12. This review of basic telecommunications services represents, for Northern customers, the culmination of several regulatory proceedings undertaken by the Commission addressing issues relating to Northwestel and how the provision of quality, reliable, and affordable telecommunications services will be provided to Northern customers.

13. The Notice of Consultation asks for consideration of both the policy objectives in Section 7 of the Telecommunications Act, and the Cabinet Directive to the Commission. The Government of Yukon submits that the Section 7 objectives represent the fundamental principles on which consideration of basic service must be based.

14. The Government of Yukon further submits that the policy objectives identified in the Notice of Consultation represent the appropriate basis for consideration of the issues in this proceeding, and would underline the references to “all regions” to reinforce the importance of ensuring that Northern Canadians have access to a telecommunications system that provides the same opportunities to “safeguard, enrich and strengthen the economic and social fabric of Canada.” 15. With respect to the Policy Direction, Yukon notes that the opportunity to rely on market force to achieve policy objectives in the **** is drastically restricted by the limited market prospects offered to competitors because of high costs and very small market opportunities. Nonetheless, policy solutions must be designed with the requirements of the Policy Direction in mind, therefore the solutions proposed will specifically address these terms.

16. This intervention will provide the Government of Yukon’s responses to the questions identified in the Notice of Consultation, in the order which those are arranged. Yukon expects that these positions will be refined as the proceeding unfolds, and reserves the right to comment on any issues within the scope of the proceeding that are not addressed in this document.

Canadians’ Evolving Needs for Telecommunications Services

17. Telecommunications and the related information services available to Canadians assume an increasing importance in all aspects of everyday life, and as noted in the Notice, are not static but continue to evolve, as technology and applications provide ever newer and more useful adjuncts for individuals, businesses, and institutions.

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18. In Yukon telecommunications and information technology services today meet the following needs:

a. Access to fast, reliable, and affordable telecommunications allows Yukoners to neutralize the disadvantages of distance and remoteness, through being able to engage in the digital marketplace, both as consumers and as global competitors.

b. High-speed access provides rural and remote communities the opportunity to access distance learning and equalize their access to news, information and entertainment.

c. Modern, fast and efficient networks allow government services, health and education to be provided more comprehensively, and at lower cost.

d. The existence of a high-speed, reliable telecommunications infrastructure is a critical enabler for business development and economic growth, particularly in communities where physical proximity and ease of transportation are limited.

e. Access to reliable and affordable telecommunications is of significant benefit to cultural connectivity and community building amongst small and remote settlements, offering the prospect of greater interaction and participation.

19. The Government of Yukon submits that the question as to what are the most important services for Yukoners cannot be answered in an absolute fashion, because of the continuing evolution of services and technological capabilities. The question is better answered in a relative way: the most important telecommunications services to support the needs of Yukoners are those which allow our businesses, residents and visitors to have access to services that are comparable in quality, reliability and price to those offered elsewhere in Canada. Ideally, all Yukon customers would have access to equivalent capabilities to the best available in the rest of the world, and Yukon businesses would have access to services that enable them to compete in the global marketplace.

20. Currently there are notable barriers which limit the full participation of Yukon homes and businesses in the digital economy:

a. High-speed services are not universally available throughout Yukon, speeds are lower and price levels are higher than elsewhere in Canada.

b. High usage charges are a significant burden for customers and in some case a deterrent.

c. There is a significant lack of competition in services, which restricts choice, limits innovation, and does not provide price discipline.

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d. There is insufficient investment in infrastructure, due to the limited market opportunities, and the absence of competitive pressure on the incumbent.

e. The concentration of facilities ownership (telecom, cable and wireless) with Northwestel and its affiliates represents a significant structural barrier to choice and innovation.

21. These limitations are more severe in rural and remote communities, many of which do not have access to modernized facilities, and do not enjoy the same speeds, reliability and price that are available in larger communities.

22. The Government of Yukon believes that the proliferation of devices and the increasing number of applications for fixed and mobile devices (as well as the integration of communications devices and applications in other technologies, like vehicles) greatly enables the participation of users in the digital economy. Furthermore, the increased access to information about how to use, adapt or troubleshoot devices and applications also enhances the ability of users who make the most of their access to the digital world; however, the ability of Yukoners to take full advantage of these enablers is limited by the lack of universal access to high-speed, reliable, and affordable service.

23. The Government of Yukon submits that access to affordable, reliable, and high-speed telecommunications and information services is essential for Yukon homes and businesses, and the evolution of technological capabilities and customer expectations will require continuing upgrades to the standards and levels of service available. For those services and applications yet to be developed, all Canadians should have access to the services and capacity needed to be competitive in the global marketplace which is the digital economy.

24. The Government of Yukon submits that the Commission’s target of 5/1 Mbps, which was established in Decision 2011-291 (in a proceeding that began in January of 2010), is insufficient to meet the expectations of most Canadian telecommunications users today, because of the dramatic and increasing growth of consumer and business applications which require more and more bandwidth. It must be expected that any static target for improvement in Internet access speeds will be eclipsed by growing demand and expanding capabilities.

25. The question posed in the Notice of Consultation suggests the possibility of a standard based on, “uses that consumers should reasonably expect to make of the Internet.” In a competitive market where there are alternative suppliers for Internet access, it can be expected that customer demand will spur investment, innovation, and price discipline; however, in rural and remote areas where competitive alternatives are fewer – and particularly in Yukon where July 13, 2015 Government of Yukon 6 of 15

telecom, cable and wireless ownership is concentrated in Northwestel and affiliates – it is necessary for regulatory standards to provide the impetus for improvement that the market cannot.

26. Two years ago, in our Final Argument on the review of Northwestel’s Modernization Plan, the Yukon Government submitted that the Commission should adopt a minimum basic standard for broadband speeds throughout Canada of 15/Mbps download and 1Mbps upload, together with establishing an aspirational standard of 100Mbps download and 30Mbps upload. Northwestel has recently committed to provide 15/1 speeds to terrestrially-provisioned communities, though there remain some Northern communities that do not have access to even the 5/1 standard.

27. The Yukon Government is concerned that due to the circumstances of the Northern market, a minimum standard for broadband speeds of 15/1 Mbps could become the de facto ceiling, which would result in Northern customers to once again fall behind other Canadians.

28. Given the continuing evolution of technology and customer expectations, the Yukon Government recommends that the Commission adopt a standard for broadband access speeds of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. We would also recommend that 100/30 Mbps be established as national objective consistent with enabling full participation of all Canadians in the future digital economy, and that the Commission direct development of a plan and schedule that would define the requirements to achieve this objective.

29. The Yukon Government submits that the target speeds should also be applied to the provision of broadband Internet access to business in the ****. Many businesses in Yukon, particularly in smaller communities, are small, proprietor-run enterprises that may have more similarities to residential users than to businesses in larger centres. To provide small Northern businesses with the full capability to thrive in the digital economy, the same regulatory protections should be applied to those interests as for residential customers.

The Commission’s Role Regarding Access to Basic Telecommunications Service 30. The Government of Yukon submits that it is important for the purposes of addressing these questions to establish a common understanding of the concept of basic telecommunications service, and how it has evolved over time.

31. The concept of basic service was originally associated with the extension of telecommunications connectivity to every community, which was considered essential for communication as well as July 13, 2015 Government of Yukon 7 of 15

for access in emergencies. Initially this did not require more than simple access to a local network, which in rural areas may have been achieved through party lines.

32. As networks were extended, and telephone access became more ubiquitous, expectations for what should be part of basic service changed to include individual line service, and direct dial access to long distance, as well as the (now seemingly archaic) requirement to provide a copy of the paper telephone directory.

33. With the introduction of terminal competition, the prospect of consumer choice was raised, with the result that “basic” service could be equated with the minimum level of service, equipment and features. As network capabilities improved, it became possible to offer additional calling features, like number identification and voice mail, which were not initially considered part of the definition of basic service and were therefore not subject to either the obligation to provide, or to the same affordability pricing constraints as local basic service.

34. In Decision CRTC Telecom 99-16 the Commission laid down the then-current understanding of what should be included in the concept of basic service:

a. Individual line service with ****-Tone dialing, provided by a digital switch with capability to connect via low-speed data transmission to the Internet at local rates.

b. Access to the long distance network.

c. Enhanced calling features including access to emergency services, voice message relay service, and privacy protection features.

d. Access to operator and directory assistance services.
e. A copy of a current local telephone directory.

35. The Government of Yukon submits that the Commission should now revise the definition of basic service to include high-speed or broadband Internet access, which is arguably essential to the ability of Canadian homes and businesses to fully engage in the digital world, including not only the opportunities to participate in the global marketplace of goods and services on a competitive basis, but also to take full advantage of the education, government, and health services/applications that are, or will become available, as well as to fully exploit the potential to build and enhance their identities, communities, and culture, as is consistent with the overriding policy objective of the Telecommunications Act.

36. The Government of Yukon further submits that the Commission should consider moving beyond a list of services definition and examine whether it would be more effective to focus on the provision of capabilities to offer those services – the distinction being that the traditional July 13, 2015 Government of Yukon 8 of 15

concept of basic service, tied to the obligation to serve, implicitly assumes that one provider will provide both the necessary facilities, and the basic service. To allow more scope for competitive supply of services, and to better enable concordance with the policy priorities of relying on market forces wherever possible, consideration should be given to a more comprehensive consideration of what “basic” truly entails.

37. The underlying technology should not, in Yukon’s view, be a factor in defining whether a service is basic, though if the definition were to focus on the capability of facilities to deliver basic services, then consideration of the underlying technology may become relevant. This would certainly be the case when considering a subsidy regime, which should be designed to provide incentives for enhanced or upgraded technology.

38. Since the purpose of re-defining basic telecommunications service is to enable Canadian customers to meaningfully participate in the digital economy, the focus is better placed on customer requirements than on any distinctions in the underlying technology. At the same time, Yukon does recognize that some technology options may not be feasible in some parts of the country.

39. It is a difficult challenge to establish the terms and conditions for the new definition and approach to delivering basic service while enabling (or at least not impeding) the operation of market forces for the provision of those services. In Yukon this challenge is complicated by concentration in facilities ownership by Northwestel and its affiliates, and, as the Commission noted in Decision RP 2012-771, Northwestel’s “transport infrastructure will to be sufficient to meet competitors’ capacity requirements or to meet service expectations for all customers.” 40. One solution to the transport problem would be to consider establishing an “obligation to connect” on Northwestel, to ensure that sufficient backbone facilities are available for the delivery of broadband capabilities to all Yukon communities. This would require the incumbent company to commit to plans and schedules for completing upgrades to its transport network, and be accountable for meeting the obligation.1

41. With broadband capacity available on a community basis, the option would exist for entry by other providers to deliver services within the community, paving the way for forbearance, and reducing the scope of Northwestel’s obligation to serve. The existing Commission approach to balancing local exchange forbearance with the residual obligation to serve would be applicable 1

Yukon acknowledges that the network, topography, and demographic differences between Northern regions may require this obligation to be viewed separately, with different terms and conditions.

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here as well. To protect consumers, the Commission would require that any provider of basic service obtain approval before discontinuing service to a community.

42. It will also be necessary that pricing for access to the backbone enable alternate providers to deliver services within the communities, while ensuring that there is appropriate compensation to the transport provider. This will be addressed further in the comments on the transport subsidy.

43. Ideally, the prices for basic service should be determined by the market, but in areas where a subsidy may be required to provide basic service, the Commission must retain pricing oversight.

As a preliminary suggestion, Yukon would propose that the Commission set a ceiling price that is reasonably comparable to what is available in similar communities elsewhere in Canada. It will also be necessary for the Commission to carefully assess the viability of competition where nascent and smaller entrants are competing with Northwestel, because of the risk of building a business in these small and fragile markets.

44. Yukon submits that pricing for basic services in rural and remote Northern communities must also reflect affordability concerns, as many of the customers in these communities may be of limited means. At this point Yukon would take the position that an appropriate ceiling price should address affordability concerns, but may comment further on the issue in the future.

45. The Government of Yukon submits that market forces and current government funding together are not sufficient to ensure that access to the new basic service is available to all Canadians. This is especially the case in Northern Canada, where competition has not yet, and may not ever, provide sufficient impetus to ensure ubiquitous access to basic service.

46. The necessity of re-regulating Northwestel’s retail Internet services illustrates that the potential for entry in this market is not sufficient to discipline prices and protect the interests of consumers, therefore the Commission must have a continuing oversight role.

47. The existing NCF subsidy provides a general revenue transfer to offset incumbent costs in High Cost Serving Areas, but does not enable targeted support of specific infrastructure needs, and has not yet been adapted to provide support for alternative service providers.

48. The Government of Yukon believes that the private sector and various levels of government can and should have roles in attaining the policy objectives of providing all Canadians with the capabilities to fully participate in the digital economy, for their own benefit, and for the nation.

49. **** principles and practical experience demonstrate that where market opportunities exist, the private sector will provide services that customers want. But where demand is not sufficient to July 13, 2015 Government of Yukon 10 of 15

overcome barriers to entry, it is necessary for governments to act to reduce those barriers if the policy objectives are to be met.

50. Given the charge to attain the objectives through use of market forces wherever possible, government and regulatory policies should enable, encourage, and in some cases incentivize, private sector investment, either explicitly or implicitly. At the margins where market forces may not reach – whether those be economic, geographic or other – it will be necessary for governments to provide more direct assistance in achieving the policy objectives.

51. Yukon notes that Northwestel may represent a special case with respect to the role of the private sector, as is seems that all investments must meet a “positive business case” which appears to prevent strategic or pioneering investments that might have longer term benefits for customers and ultimately the company.

52. The Government of Yukon also believes that regional and other levels of government need to be engaged in the development and implementation of basic broadband service, especially in Northern regions. Regional and local governments are in the best position to represent the comprehensive interests of local communities, and have the perspective to identify what benefits and opportunities may be realized for the community as a whole. Engaging various levels of government will also clearly demonstrate where value can be realized and pave the way for their investments, where that is possible.

53. The Government of Yukon submits that the CRTC is in a position to do what no other agency of government can do to ensure that all Canadians have comparable opportunities to fully participate in the digital economy. The Commission’s leadership is required in both the design and implementation of the solutions for provision of basic broadband service throughout Canada.

54. The Commission’s role in ensuring availability of basic telecommunications to all Canadians should include:

a. Defining the mandate.
b. Identifying or developing the means to provide subsidies.

c. Establishing the mechanism that is efficient and competitively neutral.

d. Monitoring and overseeing effective implementation.

55. With respect to the subsidy measures, the Commission should ensure that the solution is as efficient and transparent as possible and is directed towards achieving specific, measurable objectives and that there is accountability for performance. It will also be important to establish July 13, 2015 Government of Yukon 11 of 15

priorities that optimize public benefits and are coordinated with other initiatives and funding opportunities.

56. Where there are Canadians who do not have access to basic broadband services, the Commission may initiate a process whereby a transport or a basic service project is defined and implemented using the recommended subsidy mechanisms described.

57. As noted, the Government of Yukon believes that there must be accountability for the commitments to invest in the necessary transport infrastructure or to provide basic broadband service. In Telecom Regulatory Policy (TRP) 2011-291, the Commission acknowledged the possibility of regulatory intervention where target speeds are not met. It is submitted that the first step that should be taken is for the CRTC to initiate a show cause proceeding, requiring the service provider to demonstrate why the targets remain unmet. Further measures could include withholding subsidy payments, requiring performance bonds, or other measures.

58. With respect to the transport subsidy described in TRP 2013-711, the Government of Yukon remains convinced of the necessity to establish a mechanism to ensure necessary investments are made in transport infrastructure in the ****. We are not sufficiently aware of the infrastructure gaps or the comparative circumstances of service providers outside Northwestel’s territory and are therefore not in a position to comment on the need for a similar mechanism elsewhere in Canada.

59. The Government of Yukon submits that based on the recent evidence of Northwestel’s recurring concern to establish a “positive business case” for each investment, such as the extension of 15/1 broadband speeds to 48 terrestrial communities, and the apparent reluctance to commit capital to transport infrastructure projects that were included in the Modernization Plan, such as the **** Crossing-Dawson City fibre, Yukon residents and businesses will continue to lag behind other Canadians. We believe that it is essential to implement a mechanism to support infrastructure investment in Yukon and would welcome the opportunity to participate in the design and the operation of such a mechanism.

60. The Government of Yukon envisions that the transport subsidy mechanism would be coordinated and overseen by the Commission, utilizing a group of stakeholders that would include regional or local governments, to establish priorities, assess benefits, and establish funding commitments. Project costs would be reviewed, probably by an independent costing specialist and funds allocated from the National Contribution Fund (NCF) or other specialized July 13, 2015 Government of Yukon 12 of 15

fund, up to a maximum level to be determined. The Commission would monitor implementation and would ensure that subsidy payments are made for on-time and on-budget performance.

61. With respect to the question on the potential impact of such a mechanism on private sector and government programs, the Government of Yukon submits that without a CRTC-led initiative, there is little to no prospect of stimulating private sector investment in infrastructure, and little, if any, opportunity for government programs to have effect unless Northwestel is engaged.

Through the intermediation of the Commission, it is our belief that there is a greater likelihood of reaching an appropriate consensus on infrastructure investment and funding.

Regulatory Measures for Basic Telecommunications Services

62. Consistent with the policy objectives, there must be a continuing obligation to ensure that all Canadians, and particularly those at the economic and geographic margins, have and continue to have access to the level of telecommunications services sufficient to enable full participation in the digital economy.

63. As noted earlier, the necessity of introducing market forces into the consideration of basic service and the obligation to serve requires some adjustment or accommodation for those markets where competition might be slow to take root. This will require an easing of the obligation to serve where competition may be enabled, but given the fragile nature of the Northern markets, and the example of the need to revoke forbearance of Northwestel’s retail Internet services, there is an indisputable need for ongoing Commission oversight.

64. In Yukon’s view, broadband Internet capability must be included in the definition of basic service, because of the value placed on fast, reliable, and affordable Internet access by Canadians, and also because it is essential to their full participation in the digital economy.

65. Yukon does not believe it is necessary to change the local service subsidy regime: the need to provide support for the higher cost of local access in Northwestel’s Band H1 remains, and there are benefits to treating a broadband subsidy separately, to facilitate the prospect of competitive supply. Similarly there should be no changes required to Northwestel’s price cap regime, since there is already in place a Retail Internet Services Basket.

66. Yukon does not have specific recommendations on the contribution collection mechanism at this time, but would suggest that the base of contribution-eligible revenues be extended widely to recognize the breadth of benefits from increased broadband access.

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67. The Government of Yukon submits that the logical corollary of including high-speed or broadband Internet access in the definition of basic service in order to facilitate the participation of all Canadians in the digital economy is that basic service must be subsidized. Where the costs of providing the service would result in prices higher than what other Canadians might expect to pay for comparable service, subsidy support is required.

68. In this submission the Government of Yukon has identified the requirement for two different funding mechanisms to support the provision to telecommunications services that meet the national policy objectives. The mechanisms described are specific to the operating territory of Northwestel, and specifically Yukon, but might be applicable or adaptable to other regions.

69. Yukon proposes the following approach for the operation of funding support for broadband basic service where a community is unserved, or underserved, at the defined standards:

a. A service provider may make application to a CRTC-designated administrator for subsidy support to deliver broadband capability to a community.

b. The application for subsidy support would specify the amount of subsidy needed by that service provider to be able to offer the service at a price that is demonstrably comparable to communities elsewhere in Canada. It may be appropriate to set a fixed percentage limit on the level of subsidy contribution.2

c. To allow for the option of engaging market forces, the service proposal and subsidy request would be transparent, so that alternative providers might make their own proposals.

d. Subsidy payments would be made on the basis of the number of customers served, which would allow for portability.

70. The source of funding for the basic broadband subsidy should be the NCF, or a separately designated program operating under the same terms and conditions. The Government of Yukon would support a measure that establishes a sunset provision for the basic broadband subsidy, to encourage improved efficiency and ultimately the establishment of competitive options.

71. The Government of Yukon submits that an effective mechanism for funding transport services in the ****, as contemplated in TRP 2013-711, would operate as follows:

a. The process begins with either a request made to the incumbent for transport connection project by an alternate provider, a community, or the consensus priority 2

The limit might be set at 25% for example, consistent with the type of markups allowed by the Commission in setting wholesale prices.

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established by the stakeholders council, or an alternate provider, group or community could propose a transport infrastructure project.

b. The incumbent, on receiving the request, is obliged to develop a project proposal, pursuant to the “obligation to connect” which must include the expected subsidy contribution. The proposal would also include the company’s “business case” assessment, with expected returns and markups. To ensure transparency and fairness, the proposal must be publically accessible.

c. A designated CRTC staff person or group3 would receive and review the proposal, which should include an independent costing assessment.

d. The implementation plan for the transport project would include timelines, funding provisions4 and progress payments.

e. CRTC staff of group would monitor progress on implementation, and administer subsidy payments consistent with progress milestones.

72. The funding support for a transport subsidy should come from a federally-established fund, consistent with the need to satisfy the policy objective to “strengthen the social and economic fabric of Canada and its regions.”

73. The Government of Yukon submits that any funding mechanism that is adopted should have the end goal of enabling the development of sufficient competition, therefore prospect of open entry must be preserved, and consideration given to sunset provisions whereby subsidy support will diminish over time, requiring service providers to improve efficiency.5 74. The Government of Yukon submits that transport infrastructure that is funded by a mechanism contemplated in TRP 2013-711 must be made available on a wholesale basis to other service providers. The rationale for providing subsidy support for transport infrastructure is that it erases a barrier critical to the growth and development of telecommunications services in the region, therefore it is necessary to allow all providers to take advantage of the improvement.

3

Yukon has, in previous submissions, recommended review by a stakeholder group selected to represent the interests and priorities of the particular are affected. While we continue to believe there is merit in engaging stakeholders in the process, it is likely that priorities for transport projects are obvious without the stakeholder input.

4

The option of involving a stakeholder group in the process would enable the possibility of other funding support, where, for instance, another level of government may see benefit in contributing to the project.

5

If there are remaining affordability concerns in a community those might be addressed through a more targeted subsidy.

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75. Yukon would further submit that because the transport infrastructure has benefited from funding support, that the Commission take that into account when setting wholesale prices, which should accordingly include a lower percentage markup.

76. The Government of Yukon notes that it may be appropriate to relax this requirement in the event that a transport subsidy supports investment in facilities by a party other than the incumbent carrier, such as in the case of a community fibre build. In such instances the Commission should assess the requirement for wholesale access and prices on a case-by-case basis, because of the difference in scale and bargaining power of Northwestel.

77. The transport infrastructure subsidy will be applied on a project by project basis, and will not replace the need for a local service subsidy in high cost areas. With respect to the basic broadband service subsidy, there must be a provision to prevent “double dipping” where a local service provider might obtain funding support for both Primary Exchange Services (PES) and broadband over DSL on the same facilities.

Conclusion

78. This proceeding represents a very significant opportunity for Canada to establish policies and mechanisms that will fulfill the mandate described in the policy objectives of the Telecommunications Act, and to enable Canadians in all regions to take full advantage of participation in the global digital economy.

79. The Government of Yukon commends the Commission for undertaking this initiative and looks forward to participating in the process.

Benjamin **** ******@***.com
Senior Business Development Advisor
208 **** Street - Suite 201, Whitehorse, YT *** ***
Jim **** ******@***.com
Cc. Northwestel, **** Yeullet (******@***.com)
-- End of Document --
mailto:******@***.com

Intervention: Government of Yukon (Intervenor 254)

Document Name: 2015-134.223970.2394456.Intervention(1fbk_01!).html

Please see attached intervention by the Government of Yukon.Raisons pour comparaitre / Reasons for appearanceGovernment of Yukon wishes to appear to answer any questions that may arise from our intervention in regards to including broadband into the basic service objective and the mechanism through which to do so.