Two-year-old rule suspended special offers by incumbents Bell Canada filed a Part VII application in March asking the CRTC to lift a temporary suspension on local service promotion tariff filings that was imposed more than two years ago. The suspension has proven to be more than "temporary," Bell says. It now amounts to an outright ban on the filing of tariffs for local service promotions whether targeted at residential or business users.Bell’s chief regulatory officer, Mirko Bibic, tells Telemanagement that the Commission’s rationale for imposing the suspension no longer applies. Three access-related issues that figured in the decision have been resolved, says Bibic. Access to municipal rights-of-way, access to support structures, and access to multiple dwelling units have each been dealt with. Bell argues that with the removal of those items from the agenda, the policy rationale for refusing to entertain promotion requests has disappeared. Banning incumbents from offering promotions on local services, business or consumer, might have been the right thing to do two years ago. The competitive landscape, however, is changing quickly. As incumbents and competitors alike take advantage of new technology options to sell local service, it’s unlikely that taking the shackles off incumbents to respond to competitor offers will do any harm to the competitive landscape, or give Bell and Telus any undue advantage. Competitors to Receive Database Access The CRTC has ordered Canada’s incumbent telephone companies to provide competitive local service providers with access to telco customer status information. If the arguments advanced by competitors during the run-up to Telecom Decision 2005-14 hold true, this ruling could reduce their provisioning time for business service by up to a day, and generally cut internal costs by providing competitors with timely and accurate customer information. Bell and Telus have one year to provide competitors with access to their databases for information on customer status, customer repair status, and whether or not a customer is served from a remote or Central Office. Aliant, MTS and SaskTel will be given 30 days to file plans to give competitors the same access, once a CLEC indicates its desire for the information. Charges for Migrated NumbersSprint Canada parent company Call-Net Enterprises has filed an application asking the CRTC to approve new charges associated with the migration of telephone numbers from a local service provider to Call-Net. Under current rules, Bell Canada bills Call-Net $3.16 per number migrated to its network. This practice, says Call-Net, is outdated and the rate is too high. Call-Net is asking the commission to approve a new rate, based on Phase II costs, plus a markup of 15%. Expanded Options for Customer ConsentCanadian carriers now been handed a flexible new framework for collecting express customer consent as a result of Telecom Decision 2005-15. The decision adds two broad options to the list: oral consent, where an audio recording of the consent is retained by the carrier; and consent by other methods, so long as a documented record of consent is created by the customer or by an independent third party. In BriefThe U.S. Federal Communications Commission has outlawed cellular spam, posting a list of 189 wireless e-mail domains to which it is illegal to send unsolicited commercial messages. No comparable prohibition exists in Canada. The CRTC has given Bell Canada the green light to increase rates for business lines by 80¢ per line across most of Ontario and Quebec. The increase also applies to lines on one- and three-year contracts. The CRTC has approved a plan to introduce 10-digit dialing in the area code 450 to coincide with the introduction of 10-digit dialing in the 514 area code in October 2006.