Commission seeks comments on setting rules for local service forbearanceThe CRTC is looking to set the stage for local residential and business service forbearance (Telecom Public Notice 2005-2). The commission is not wasting any time as it expects to release a decision about five months following the close of the proceeding. The CRTC plans to hold a public consultation in September. The commission also noted that it will, as a part of the proceeding, rule on a previous local forbearance application filed by Aliant Telecom Inc. Network Letter will have more on the local forbearance proceeding in an upcoming issue.ILECs can use promotionsIncumbent telephone companies are now allowed to use promotional offers, something that has been prohibited for about two years. In Telecom Decision 2005-25, the CRTC ruled that promotional offers are a generally accepted business practice, and that ILECs will be allowed to use them as long as they follow certain safeguards. Promotions can’t be limited to customers of competitors, the promotion period can’t be longer than six consecutive months, and carriers must wait six months to offer a new promotion involving the same local wireline service. Network Letter will have more on the promotions decision in an upcoming issue.Commission releases three-year working planThe CRTC has released its three-year working plan for April 2005 to March 2008. “In telecommunications, the commission will aim to increase Canadians’ access to high-quality, reasonably priced and innovative telecommunications services that meet their needs. It will also continue to promote sustainable competition in telecommunications markets,” reads a statement from CRTC chair Charles Dalfen. In wholesale and access, the commission plans to address the Ethernet regime in 2005-2006, while addressing wholesale services for next generation networks. Within the first year of the new working plan, the CRTC will also deal with outstanding municipal access arrangement issues in the cities of Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver. On the social policy front, the consumer bill of rights proceeding will also be finalized in 2005-2006.CRTC releases decision on price floors, backs away from proposed changesThe CRTC has backed away from proposed changes to price floors it had put out for consideration in December 2003 (Telecom Public Notice 2003-10). The new rules (Telecom Decision 2005-27) are not retroactive and don’t affect existing customer contracts. The decision, released on April 29, denies a proposal by Rogers Communications to prohibit incumbent telephone companies from bundling local exchange services with forborne services. The ruling also denies a request from TELUS to price services below the imputation test price floor. Network Letter will have more on this in an upcoming issue.MTS Allstream gets green light for fibre lay in VancouverMTS Allstream has been given the go-ahead on an interim basis to build a transmission line at Station Street in the City of Vancouver. In Telecom Decision 2005-26, the commission granted the company the right to a specific build, but denied a larger application MTS Allstream filed earlier this year. The company has been fighting with the city for a number of months trying to access to municipal property so that it can build additional transmission facilities to support customer demand.Nortel remains on CreditWatch from S&PStandard & Poor’s Rating Services has maintained a status of CreditWatch with developing implications on Nortel Network, despite the company’s recent proposed acquisition of PEC Solutions. “From a strategic perspective, the acquisition is aligned with Nortel Networks’ objectives of increasing its presence in the federal and government space, and improving its expertise in web-based and security-related technologies,” S&P analyst Mark Mettrick said in an April 26 news release. The acquisition is, however, not likely to provide Nortel with a material increase in core telecom equipment revenue, notes the credit rating agency.ICT revenue to be higher than costs: Conference BoardA new report from the Conference Board of Canada notes that revenue in the country’s information and communications technologies industry will outstrip costs in the sector in 2005. Industrial Outlook: Canada’s Information and Communications Industry indicates that ICT production and revenue growth will slow in 2005, but that slower growth will be offset by a moderating cost increases. This trend will produce profits of nearly $4 billion in 2005. The Conference Board notes that profits will increase a further 10% next year before an expected slowdown between 2007 and 2009.FTTP growing in United StatesFibre-to-the-premise (FTTP) deployments are increasing rapidly, according to research from In-Stat. The research firm notes that locations equipped with fibre will grow from 1.9 million registered in 2004 to nearly 12 million in 2009. This growth rate is, however, tempered by the fact that it is a small percentage of overall households and business in the United States. In-Stat estimates that there are approximately 110 households in the country. The research firm notes that the percentage of premises passed by fibre will climb to the 40% range over time.CRTC accepts TELUS-proposed changes to filing requirementsThe commission has made several changes to its extensive slate of regulatory filing requirements that apply to TELUS Corp. The CRTC estimates that it has reduced the work associated with such filings by as much as 70%, excluding quality of service reports associated with two decisions made this year. The full list of changes was listed by the commission in an April 25 letter to TELUS EVP Janet Yale.