WorldCom Canada Ltd. (MCI Canada) has filed a Part VII complaint against Bell Canada, alleging that the phone giant refuses to give it CRTC-sanctioned interim competitor digital network access (CDNA) service rates. The regulator notified both parties on May 17 that it will handle the complaint on an expedited basis, and has set an oral hearing before three commissioners for June 28. The commission sent interrogatories to MCI Canada and Bell Canada on May 18. The two parties have until May 31 to respond. MCI Canada’s position is outlined in an April 30 complaint letter to the commission. It is asking the CRTC to issue an order directing Bell Canada to apply the interim CDNA rates approved by the commission in Telecom Decision 2002-78 to all the digital network access (DNA) services provided by Bell Canada to MCI Canada since June 1, 2002 (NL Update, Jan. 6/03). That is the date that the CRTC’s decision became effective. MCI Canada accuses Bell Canada of using the "corporate fiction" of its former subsidiary Bell Nexxia to deny it a right it would otherwise be entitled to exercise if it had contracted directly with Bell Canada. MCI Canada tells the CRTC that its predecessor company, UNNET Canada Ltd., was not given the option of obtaining services directly from Bell Canada. Bell Canada told MCI Canada in a May 2003 letter that it doesn’t qualify for the interim CDNA tariff because it had not dealt directly with the phone company for the DNA services. "All negotiations had to be conducted with Bell Nexxia, which was in keeping with Bell Canada’s policy at that time which required ISPs to negotiate their service arrangements directly with Bell Nexxia as opposed to Bell Canada," writes MCI Canada VP and general counsel John LaCalamita. "Although this practice was questioned by some of Bell Canada’s ISP customers, Bell Canada and Bell Nexxia assured them that they would not be treated any differently than any other service providers and that their account information would always be maintained in confidence. Little did MCI Canada know that, four years later, Bell Canada would use the corporate fiction of Bell Nexxia to argue that MCI Canada’s so called ‘choice’ of contracting party (i.e. Bell Nexxia) disqualifies it from using commission mandated tariffs." MCI Canada further tells the CRTC that Bell Canada noted during the price cap proceeding that several of Nexxia contracts (including the MCI Canada contract) actually involve the provision of Bell Canada tariffed services by Bell Nexxia acting as Bell Canada’s agent. Bell Canada also argues that the CDNA doesn’t apply in the MCI Canada instance because accesses sold under that contract were bundled with other services to provide a non-standard price to MCI Canada, a provider of Internet access and other packet data services based on Internet Protocol (IP). MCI Canada responds that since its contract with Bell Nexxia had not been approved by the commission and was found to be offside with the CRTC’s tariffing and bundling rules in Decision 2002-76, the services being provided under those terms are in direct violation of section 25 of the Telecommunications Act. "Given these considerations, MCI Canada submits that Bell Canada should not be permitted to invoke the terms of an illegal contract in order to prevent a customer from availing itself of a legal and valid tariff," writes LaCalamita. "As a final observation, MCI Canada notes that even if it could be argued that its contract with Bell Nexxia constitutes a valid bundled service arrangement (a matter which MCI Canada does not concede), MCI Canada submits that Bell Canada’s refusal to provide MCI Canada with interim CDNA pricing for the DNA services referenced in the contract is contrary to both the spirit and the intent of Decision 2002-78." The company further points out that the CRTC determined that it was in the public interest to release competitors from their contracts with the ILECs so that they could avail themselves of the new tariff.