Both TELUS Corp. and MTS Allstream Inc. filed Part VII applications this month with the CRTC seeking compensation for upgrading a substantial portion of their payphones with TTY devices. The two companies follow a similar application filed by Bell Canada last month that says unforeseen events out of its control have caused these expenditures, and it is for that reason it should be allowed to use deferral account monies to pay for the TTY installations. The petitions stem from a follow-up proceeding to the July 2004 Telecom Decision 2004-47, which ruled on access to pay telephone services (NL, July 20/04).  MTS Allstream notes that according to its estimates it will have to roll out an additional 1,235 TTYs to payphones throughout Manitoba. The company says it will cost approximately $2.8 million to do the upgrades. It wants to recoup the money, it says, and should be allocated a recurring drawdown from its deferral account of $812,000 annually over a four-year period.  TELUS says that it will cost the company about $4.74 million in upgrade costs to deploy an additional 2,820 TTYs. It also believes the commission should redistribute that money in the form of four annual drawdowns of approximately $1.42 million each. Bell Canada writes in its application that it will have to spend an estimated $42.4 million to upgrade its numerous payphone installations. Equally it wants the commission to allow it to drawdown $12.4 million annually over a four-year period to recover the cost of deploying 15,772 TTY units over the next 10 years. The three applications have, however, raised concerns with the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, which notes that the situation regarding deaf users of payphones hasn’t changed since TTY payphone obligations were originally introduced. "The expenditures have thus hardly been brought about by unanticipated events beyond the control of the affected Company," PIAC writes in response to Bell Canada’s September 17 application.  PIAC’s Michael Janigan notes that while the lobby group’s written comments refer specifically to the Bell Canada applications, the arguments would be true for the other two. "I would think they would be applicable to either…but I rather doubt there’s going to be a disposition that’ll be different on one than the other," he tells Network Letter.  All three companies highlight paragraphs 144 to 148 as evidence that the upgrade costs can be considered an unforeseen event. They add that, in fact, the CRTC invited the ILECs to file requests for compensation. Pointing to paragraph 150, MTS Allstream writes: "…the Commission indicated that the ILECs may file a request for an exogenous factor to recover the costs of upgrading pay telephones with TTY units."  PIAC notes in its comments on Bell Canada’s application that even if the company was able to "leap the hurdle" of having TTY payphone upgrades considered an exogenous factor, the subject matter still fails to meet the definition of an exogenous adjustment.  Janigan continues: "The problem is that (the applications) don’t meet the test of being an exogenous adjustment, something being beyond the control of the company."  "In the view of the Consumer Groups, any expenditure on TTY upgrades may only be considered as part of a proceeding to set rates for payphone services," PIAC concludes.  MTS Allstream and TELUS propose that if the commission doesn’t accept the deferral account drawdown argument, they propose that the expenditures be considered an exogenous factor assigned to the "non-residential sub-basket." Teresa Griffin-Muir, VP regulatory affairs at MTS Allstream, explains that if this would allow them to contribute less to their deferral accounts as opposed to taking a drawdown.  Bell Canada did not propose a similar alternative in its arguments.