The incumbent telephone companies think the CRTC is not giving them enough time to prepare for the review of price floor safeguards and they are asking for a delay in the proceedings. Meanwhile, comments that have begun trickling in suggest that someone is orchestrating public responses to the CRTC. On November 3, Sheridan Scott, Bell Canada’s chief regulatory officer, and Willie Grieve, VP public policy and regulatory affairs at Telus Communications Inc., sent an application asking for changes to Telecom Public Notice 2003-8 (NL, Oct. 28/03). The filing, submitted on behalf of Bell, Telus, Aliant Telecom Inc., MTS Communications Inc., SaskTel, Télébec, and Telus (Québec) Communications Inc., seeks to push back the submission deadline to Jan. 16, 2004, rather than the November 24 deadline established by the CRTC. "Once approved, the interim rules proposed in PN 2003-8 are, in fact, final for the period they are in effect," the ILECs write. "The issues raised by the proposed interim rules are both serious and complex and cannot be fully canvassed in the interim process envisaged by the commission. Therefore, the companies request that the process for the interim determinations be consolidated with the process for final determinations and that this final process be accelerated to provide for the filing of submissions earlier in the New Year." Call-Net Enterprises Inc. and Allstream Corp. have filed a joint response opposing the application. Call-Net’s VP of government affairs thinks the request is unnecessary. "It is simply a blatant attempt to draw out the process. It delays the potential implementation of the commission’s proposals and ultimately the final resolution of the issues the commission has identified," Ian Scott tells Network Letter. "What the ILECs are in effect saying in that is the commission doesn’t have the right to initiate a process without almost the informed consent of the ILECs, which on its face is absurd." The incumbents say that having only 30 days to produce comments is too short a time period, even by CRTC standards. Ian Scott disputes that, saying many proceedings give participants a month to formulate their replies. It’s not as if the commission doesn’t have a wealth of material to draw from already, he notes. There have been several proceedings recently dealing with contracts, bundling rules and other issues, and complaints have been filed by Group Telecom, EastLink, and Rogers Cable Inc., among others. In addition, the CRTC is in the middle of a five-year plan to produce annual reports on the state of telecom in Canada (NL, Dec. 20/00). Similar lettersThe commission is already receiving comments on PN 2003-8, allegedly from disinterested citizens. Strangely enough, two missives are nearly word-for-word similar. The letter from Ron and Pam Smith differs from that of Gail Nicholson only in the use of "we" and "our" rather than "I" and "my". Both notes are critical of the ILECs and praise the regulator’s move to change the price floor mechanisms. Several industry insiders NL spoke with had not seen the comments prior to being contacted. No one had heard of an organized campaign to coordinate comments nor would they speculate on who may be behind it. Two other correspondents attacked the CRTC for even bothering with the issue in the first place. John Fischer dismisses the proposals as "micromanagement" while Jeremy Pathy provided a pithy analysis. "Is it possible for you incredibly stupid people to make your regulations apply to other markets, so that my competitors cannot offer my existing customers lower prices," he writes. "Or better yet, tell my customers that they cannot demand lower prices because charging them less hurts my competition."