Intervention: Intervenor 251

Document Name: 2015-134.223953.2393559.Intervention(1f@vr01!).html

Copie envoyée au demandeur et à tout autre intimé si applicable / Copy sent to applicant and to any respondent if applicable: Non/No

Intervention: Intervenor 251

Document Name: 2015-134.223953.2393558.Intervention(1f@vq01!).pdf
July 14th, 2015

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CTRC): 
Review of Basic Telecommunications Services for all Canadians 
Submission by:

**** & **** Slik
**** Lake
Lasqueti Island
*** *** Canada

1. Please accept our intervention for file number 8663-C12-201503186 [1][2]. I do not want to appear at the public hearing. As per the directions provided in paragraph 38, this intervention responds to the specific questions listed in Appendix B. Questions from Appendix B are reproduced below in boldface, with the corresponding response and commentary immediately following.

Question 1: Canadians are using telecommunications services to fulfill many social, economic, and cultural needs in today’s digital economy.

2. We object to any narrowing of the scope of communication services to just those involved in today's "digital economy". As detailed in paragraph 9 of the Notice of Hearing, telecommunication services also fulfil many non-economic needs. For the purpose of this intervention, the phrase "digital ecosystem" will be used in place of "digital economy".

a. Explain how telecommunications services are used to meet these needs. For example, uses may include e-commerce (i.e. the online purchase and trade of products or services), e-banking and/or telephone banking, e-health or telehealth services, telework, and distance education. Which of these uses of telecommunications services are the most important to ensure that Canadians meaningfully participate in the digital economy?

3. There is a large variety of uses of telecommunications services in Canada. For the purpose of this intervention, we shall use the following taxonomy:

(a) Civics The use of telecommunications services required to participate as an informed citizen in Canada's democratic system of government (b) Commerce The use of telecommunication services required to manage money, select, and purchase goods

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(c) Community The use of telecommunication services required to participate as a member in a geographic, cultural or common interest group

(d) Education The use of telecommunications services for learning, research and the arts (e) Employment The use of telecommunication services for activities related to earning a living

(f) Entertainment The use of telecommunication services to create and consume media for leisure purposes, including hobbies and non-commercial activities (g) Health The use of telecommunication services for diagnosing, providing and monitoring of health care services

(h) Social The use of telecommunication services to communicate with family and friends

4. For the purposes of explaining how telecommunication services can meet the social, economic, and cultural needs (as categorized above), consider a Canadian citizen located in a rural or remote location. This citizen may be located in a rural or remote location due to many reasons, such as the requirements of their job, the proximity of their family, economic factors, historical ties to the land, etc. Regardless of the reason, as a consequence of the principle of Universal Service [3] enshrined in the establishment of Canada’s first telecommunication service, and the principle of non-discriminatory pricing, no citizen should be punished or denied service as a consequence of their rural or remote location.

5. This citizen has a constitutional right to participate in the civic sphere, specifically, to participate in Canada's democratic system of government. This includes:

(a) being informed, which requires access to government documents, discussion of issues and policies, and criticism of issues and policies,

(b) being able to contact one’s political representative, and, (c) being able to directly participate in elections, plebiscites, referenda, etc.

6. Given that access to government services are increasingly provided online (and in some cases, only provided online), and given plans to move to electronic voting systems, it is clear that mandating non-discriminatory universal telecommunication service is an obligation of the Canadian government to their citizens, rural and urban.

7. Likewise, as health services are also subject to the principles of non-discriminatory universal service delivery, as more and more health services leverage telecommunication services, mandating non-discriminatory universal telecommunication service is an obligation of the Canadian government to their citizens, rural and urban.

8. Finally, we object to any requirement that these services be ranked by importance. All of the forms of communication described above above are important to Canadians, and are essential to ensure that all Canadians are able to fully participate in, as described by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, **** ! of !2 11

"the unique and transformative nature of the Internet not only to enable individuals to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression, but also a range of other human rights, and to promote the progress of society as a whole." [4]

b. Explain which telecommunications services are most important to support these needs and uses. What characteristics (e.g. capacity, mobility, high speed, and low latency) should these telecommunications services have?

9. All telecommunication systems are converging into a common delivery platform based on digital packet-routed networking. However, some services have higher quality of service requirements:

(a) Access to large documents or other files requires sufficient bandwidth in order to provide timely access

(b) Access to stored audio and video resources requires sufficient bandwidth in order to provide reasonable levels of audio and image quality

(c) Audio and video streaming and conferencing requires both sufficient bandwidth and low latency, jitter, and packet loss in order to provide reasonable levels of audio and image quality, and for video conferencing, reasonably low delay.

(d) Interactive systems (games, commerce, etc) require low latency, jitter, and packet loss, in order to allow rapid reaction to changing situations.

(e) Access to resources and communication are often required while mobile for uses such as way-finding, reporting crimes/requesting emergency services, etc.

10. The minimum characteristics of telecommunication services are a moving target. Ideally, they shall be defined as the minimum level that does not prevent citizens from engaging in their constitutional and human rights.

c. Identify and explain the barriers that limit or prevent Canadians from meaningfully participating in the digital economy (e.g. availability, quality, price, digital literacy, and concerns related to privacy and security). Identify which segments of the Canadian population are experiencing such barriers.

11. Current barriers include:

(a) Unavailability of high speed low latency network access to a significant percentage of rural locations in Canada. While many rural locations do have high latency access, (via satellite), this creates a “second-class citizen”, who are unable to fully participate due to the inability to use services that require low latency (such as network-based audio and video conferencing).

(b) Quality of service is often poor in rural areas. Service is disrupted due to weather and failures, and is often not restored for days to months.

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(c) While price of access is fairly uniform, price of bandwidth and capacity per month varies widely and can be prohibitively expensive in many rural locations. Disproportionately high bandwidth and capacity per month costs can effectively prohibit citizens from working or even living in a rural location.

(d) Privacy and security are woefully lacking, as a consequence of an industry culture that de-prioritizes privacy and security, and a widespread lack of skills and knowledge required to implement systems that are secure and that are capable of protecting privacy. This creates a (legitimate) fear of using telecommunication services. Furthermore, the actions of governments to invade the privacy and actively weaken the security of their and other citizens has created a crisis of trust. Resolving the issue of trust, privacy and security are key challenges for the 21st century, especially as the use of network services becoming more and more critical for general life.

12. These factors often make employment and participating in today’s connected world impossible from rural locations, and contribute to forcing people to move from rural to urban areas, often with significant negative consequences. It is also critical to ensure that service is provided, along with encouragement and training, to ensure that Canada’s most disadvantaged are fully able to participate, including the disabled.

d. Identify and explain any enablers that allow Canadians to meaningfully participate in the digital economy (e.g. connected devices and applications).

13. Inexpensive optical service. Ruggedized low-cost all-optical FTTH for rural service has not been pursued by the private sector due to the lack of high-intensity profit. Emerging technologies to allow extremely low capital, deployment and operational costs makes universal fibre services feasible on a national scale, including Canada’s ****. The Government of Canada should invest in research and development to bring down costs, then either provide service directly, or provide incentives to ensure that private and community organizations provide service. [5] 14. Universal citizenship identification. Provide a secure method of two-factor identification to ensure that a chain of trust can be established for online services that require identity. To ensure that the existence of such an identity service isn’t abused, it is critical that this is ONLY required for services where this is mandatory [6], and that anonymous services are also allowed to exist to ensure full freedom of speech.

15. Embrace electronic mail services. Expand Canada ****’s mandate to include providing secure e-mail and payment services for all citizens. Revenue can be generated by providing secure business-to-citizen services, which will cover citizen-to-citizen services. Part of these services shall include address, identity verification, and payment services for commerce.

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e. As Canada’s digital economy continues to grow and evolve during the next 5 to 10 years, which telecommunications services are Canadians expected to need to participate meaningfully? Specify how your responses to parts a) through d) above would change based on your answer.

16. The development and implementation of Public policy related to telecommunication has three main phases:

I - Development of Government policy and political decision making (What) II - Establishment of policies and programs (How)

III - Construction of infrastructure to implement developed policies and programs (Do) 17. While phases I and II have time horizons measured in years, phase III has a time horizon measured in tens of years. As a consequence, all answers MUST be be grounded not just in the present, but must be predictive of future uses.

18. Academic studies of the adoption and use of technology rely on multiple methodologies, one of which is Technology Diffusion Model [7]. This approach uses historical information to determine the delays and rates of adoption when a technological gradient exists between different nations. This model is especially relevant for the CRTC to consider, because it is a) grounded in historical data, b) based on technology use patterns already existing in other nations, and c) is easily testable.

19. To quote **** Gibson, “the future is already here, just not very evenly distributed”. The best way to see what is going to come in the future is to look at other cities and countries that have deployed universal broadband services and provided next-generation network-based services. Two examples include **** Korea and Japan. In the past, when Canada was a world leader in telecommunication, Canada was an example of what was to come in the future.

Hopefully we can reclaim this position as a leader, rather than a follower, or worse, a laggard.

Question 2: The Commission’s current target speeds for broadband Internet access service are a minimum of 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload, based on uses that consumers should reasonably expect to make of the Internet. Are these target speeds sufficient to meet the minimum needs of Canadians today? If not, what should the new targets be and what time frame would be reasonable to achieve these new targets?

20. This level of bandwidth is woefully insufficient. Many countries are standardizing on 100 Mbit/sec bidirectional service, and even 1 Gbit/sec services. Furthermore, targets for latency and jitter are missing. A maximum latency of 40 ms to any other point in Canada should also be established. With moderate public investment, universal broadband service at these bandwidths and latencies could be deployed to every Canadian household within ten years.

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Question 3: Which services should be considered by the Commission as basic telecommunications services necessary for Canadians to be able to meaningfully participate in the digital economy? Explain why.

21. The minimum level of service necessary for every Canadian is unfiltered access to the Internet packet-switched network at the bandwidth rates described above. Two classes of service should be supported:

(a) Essential services. These include emergency, health, civics, postal, general web access, and all other non-commerce-related services (today’s equivalent to library services). These should be provided at no cost.

(b) Paid services. These include access to licensed media, value-added software (such as video-conferencing, online games, etc)

22. At no point should the principles of network neutrality be violated. Every packet should be equal. However, commercial providers of paid services should be required to charge an Internet Services Tax (IST) to help support the infrastructure that they leverage.

a. Explain whether the underlying technology (e.g. cable, digital subscriber line, fibre, fixed wireless, mobile wireless, and satellite technology) should be a factor in defining whether a telecommunications service should be considered a basic service.

23. FTTH should be considered a basic service, as it is the lowest cost per home/Gbit/sec. Cable, DSL and fixed wireless are legacy infrastructures and should be phased out in favour of services running over the FTTH network. For mobile and satellite services, bandwidth levels should be scaled back based on the restrictions imposed by current technology and available spectrum. This would result in there being a separate basic service for mobile access.

b. Identify, with supporting rationale, the terms, conditions, and service characteristics under which basic telecommunications services should be provided. Should any obligations be placed on the provider(s) of these services? If so, what obligations and on which service provider(s)?

24. Basic service is the right of every citizen. Costs for basic service should be collected as part of federal taxes, being split into four areas: research, advancing the art, deployment, and operations. A model similar to our single payer medical system should be established for service provider reimbursement. No special terms and conditions should be established. If it’s legal, it’s legal. If it’s not, we already have laws to cover it. No citizen should ever be disconnected from the network, which would be a violation of their human rights.

25. Service providers would be obligated to provide service to anyone in their service area. For each subscriber, they would be obligated to ensure network neutrality and ensure the privacy of all traffic. They would be rewarded based on service reliability, integrity, resiliency, **** ! of !6 11

performance, and customer responsiveness. If service providers elect to not provide service, the government will either provide the service, or if cheaper, contract another service provider to provide service. This higher cost will come out of the total tax dollars available, and thus reduce per-subscriber revenue, encouraging broader service delivery.

c. What should be the prices for basic telecommunications services and how should these prices be determined? Provide rationale to support your answer.

26. Basic services should provided at no cost, with revenue to pay for service coming from taxes as described above. Funds collected from taxes on paid services are distributed based on the total amount collected, weighted by the number of subscriber Gb/s provisioned bandwidth. This creates an incentive for service providers to encourage Canadians to use their service.

Question 4: Can market forces and government funding be relied on to ensure that all Canadians have access to basic telecommunications services? What are the roles of the private sector and the various levels of government (federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal) in ensuring that investment in telecommunications infrastructure results in the availability of modern telecommunications services to all Canadians?

27. No. Market forces will cherry pick the most profitable subscribers and try to drop all other subscribers. Furthermore, they will not invest in R&D to reduce costs for these non-preferred subscribers. Thus, the government MUST invest to ensure that the cost of providing universal service continues to fall over time. The role of the private sector should mirror the structure set up with our single-payer public health care system [8].

Question 5: What should be the Commission’s role in ensuring the availability of basic telecommunications services to all Canadians? What action, if any, should the Commission take where Canadians do not have access to telecommunications services that are considered to be basic services?

28. The Commission’s role should be to ensure that service is universal and non-discriminatory.

If Canadians are denied access, the commission should ensure that service is provided, as described above.

Question 6: In Telecom Regulatory Policy 2011-291, the Commission stated that it would closely monitor developments in the industry regarding the achievement of its broadband Internet target speeds to determine whether regulatory intervention may be needed. What action, if any, should the Commission take in cases where its target speeds will not be achieved by the end of 2015?

29. The Commission should target communities and citizens where target speeds will not be achieved as their top priority for providing FTTH service as described above.

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Question 7: In Telecom Regulatory Policy 2013-711, the Commission stated its intention to establish a mechanism, as required, in Northwestel’s operating territory to support the provision of modern telecommunications services. Such a mechanism would fund capital infrastructure investment in transport facilities (e.g. fibre, microwave, and satellite), as well as the cost of maintaining and enhancing these facilities. The Commission considered that this mechanism should complement, and not replace, other investments from the private sector and governments, including public-private partnerships.

30. The approach described above is an example of a mechanism to support the provision of modern telecommunication services for Canada’s ****.

a. Explain, with supporting rationale, whether there is a need for the Commission to establish such a mechanism in Northwestel’s operating territory. As well, explain whether there is a need for such a mechanism in other regions of Canada.

31. Canada’s **** has some of the lowest availability, lowest reliability, lowest speeds and highest latency of Canada. Thus, it should be a priority. As described above, service should be universal, so this mechanism would be Canada-wide.

b. What impact would the establishment of such a mechanism have on private sector investment and government programs to fund the provision of modern telecommunications services?

32. The approach described above would encourage the private sector to focus on areas where they can profitably delivery high quality service. In other areas, government R&D and deployments would reduce the costs to the point where they would be open to the private sector.

Question 8: What changes, if any, should be made to the obligation to serve and the basic service objective?

33. As described above, there should be an obligation to service and basic service objectives for all Canadian citizens.

Question 9: Should broadband Internet service be defined as a basic telecommunications service? What other services, if any, should be defined as basic telecommunications services?

34. Broadband Internet is the basic telecommunication service. All other services will be subsumed as IP services over this network.

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Question 10: What changes, if any, should be made to the existing local service subsidy regime? What resulting changes, if any, would be required to the existing regulatory frameworks (e.g. price cap regimes)?

35. See above.

Question 11: What changes, if any, should be made to the contribution collection mechanism? Your response should address, with supporting rationale, which TSPs should be required to contribute to the NCF, which revenues should be contribution-eligible and which revenues, if any, should be excluded from the calculation of contribution-eligible revenues.

36. See above.

Question 12: Should some or all services that are considered to be basic telecommunications services be subsidized? Explain, with supporting details, which services should be subsidized and under what circumstances.

37. See above.

Question 13: If there is a need to establish a new funding mechanism to support the provision of modern telecommunications services, describe how this mechanism would operate. Your response should address the mechanism described in Telecom Regulatory Policy 2013-711 for transport services and/or any other mechanism necessary to support modern telecommunications services across Canada. Your response should also address, but not necessarily be limited to, the following questions:

38. See above.

a. What types of infrastructure and/or services should be funded?

39. FTTH to all Canadian citizens and proportionately scaled wireless data services for all Canadian citizens.

b. In which regions of Canada should funding be provided?
40. All regions of Canada.
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c. Which service providers should be eligible to receive funding, and how should eligibility for funding be determined (e.g. only one service provider per area, all service providers that meet certain conditions, wireless service providers, or service providers that win a competitive bidding process)?

41. All service providers that are able to meet the performance criteria set out above. When two or more providers express a desire to provide service, the provider that is selected is the one that will bill the government a lower cost while still meeting the set performance criteria. Additional weightings should be given to small businesses, minority and women owned businesses, etc. (We should be helping those who are oppressed and need the help) This should mirror the system set up for Canada’s single-payer health care system.

d. How should the amount of funding be determined (e.g. based on costs to provide service or a competitive bidding process)?

42. There should be a cap on payment for services, as per our single-payer health care system.

This cap should be determined to balance a healthy service provider industry and ensuring a low cost to Canadian taxpayers.

e. What is the appropriate mechanism for distributing funding? For example, should this funding be (i) paid to the service provider based on revenues and costs, or (ii) awarded based on a competitive bidding process?

43. As described above.

f. Should any infrastructure that is funded be available on a wholesale basis and, if so, under what terms and conditions?

44. As described above.

g. Should the Commission set a maximum retail rate for any telecommunications service that is subsidized?

45. Yes. As described above, the retail rate for basic telecommunications service should be set to zero, with costs covered via taxes.

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h. Should this mechanism replace the existing residential local wireline service subsidy? If so, explain how the existing subsidy should be eliminated, including details on any transition period. In addition, explain whether the small ILECs and/or Northwestel should be subject to any special considerations or modifications for this transition period.

46. Yes. There will be ample work and revenue to transition over to this proposed model, which will allow existing ILECs and providers to grow their business. For higher cost service areas, such as Canada’s ****, the government of Canada can partner to work on R&D and initial deployment to ease the transition to profitable service operation.

References

[1] http://crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2015/2015-134.htm?_ga=1.197075052.152841645.1435187883 [2] http://crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2015/2015-134-1.htm?_ga=1.197075052.152841645.1435187883 [3] https://www.tc.gc.ca/media/documents/mediaroom/charter_e.pdf [4] http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/17session/A.HRC.17.27_en.pdf [5] https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/vwapj/ovum.pdf/$FILE/ovum.pdf [6] http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/sin/protect/provide.shtml [7] http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/08-093.pdf [8] http://www.cfhi-fcass.ca/Libraries/Hospital_Funding_docs/CHSRF-Sutherland-HospitalFundingENG.sflb.ashx ***End of document***

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