NCN-01 — Procedures for Network Change Notices and Disclosures of New Terminal-to-Network Interfaces

Issue 1
January 2002

Spectrum Management and Telecommunications Policy
Terminal Attachment Program Procedures

©Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Industry (Published in 2002)


This document describes the obligations of telecommunications carriers with respect to network change notices and new terminal-to-network disclosures, and provides the notification procedures to be followed. This document supersedes, in part, CP-01 Certification Procedure, Issue 8.

This document will be reviewed and amended from time to time on the basis of experience gained. The Department encourages comments and suggestions that will enhance the effectiveness of this procedure. These may be forwarded to:

TAPAC Secretariat
Directorate of Telecommunications Engineering and Certification
Industry Canada
Suite 1302A
300 Slater Street, 13th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0C8


Issued under the authority of the Minister of Industry

R.W. McCaughern
Director General
Spectrum Engineering Branch

1. Purpose

1.1 This document describes the obligations of telecommunications carriers with respect to network change notices and new terminal-to-network disclosures, as required by Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Telecom Letter Decision 94-11, and provides the notification procedures to be followed. This document supersedes, in part, CP-01 Certification Procedure, Issue 8.

1.2 The words "Industry Canada" and "the Department" are equivalent in this document.

2. Related Documents

2.1 Terminal Equipment Technical Specifications - These are Industry Canada documents that prescribe network protection and other mandatory technical requirements for terminal equipment. The Terminal Equipment - Technical Specifications List can be found at the Web site:

3. General Information

3.1 Additional information on this procedure can be obtained from:

TAPAC Secretariat
Directorate of Telecommunications Engineering and Certification
Industry Canada
300 Slater Street, 13th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0C8


4. Network Changes

4.1 General

4.1.1 Carriers shall provide notice of planned network changes that may require amendments to Terminal Equipment Technical Specifications as described below.

4.2 Major Network Change

4.2.1 A Major Network Change occurs when the technology used to provide customer service is changed in such a manner that an amendment to the Terminal Equipment Technical Specifications is required and the basic network interface functions of lawfully connected terminal equipment within an affected area become incompatible with the network. For example: If the Terminal Attachment Program had existed during the conversion of manual telephone sets to dial telephone sets, this would have been considered as a Major Change. A Major Network Change may occur when digital or fibre technology is introduced to the network in a major service area on a mandatory basis.

4.2.2 Notification Procedure

  1. The applicant for the major network change shall issue a Network Change Proposal to the Department with supporting technical detail, including what is needed to permit terminal equipment to operate in a manner compatible with the network. Such information shall be made available in the public domain.
  2. The Department will then convene Terminal Attachment Programme Advisory Committee (TAPAC), including affected groups and interested parties, for review of the Network Change Proposal in order to either:
    1. ''agree in principle'' to the proposal and support the issuance of a two-year Network Change Notice; or
    2. recommend that network protection technical specifications be developed. When the technical specifications are approved, TAPAC would recommend the issuance of the two-year Network Change Notice.

4.2.3 In the first case, the Department will request TAPAC to develop appropriate network protection technical specifications and at the same time issue the Network Change Notice. If a major problem area is identified at any time during the two parallel activities, TAPAC must be reconvened to determine if the problem warrants a deferral in the Network Change Notice schedule. If it is determined that deferral is justified, both the Network Change Notice and the issuance of the network protection technical specifications will be deferred pending resolution of the problems. Deferral of the Network Change Notice due to the lack of consensus shall only be valid when supported by technical arguments that the necessary network protection requirements are not as yet completely defined.

4.2.4 In either of the above cases, a Network Change Notice by the carrier will be made in writing to the Department and the carrier's known affected subscribers.

4.3 Minor Network Change

4.3.1 A Minor Network Change occurs when the technology used to provide a subscriber service is changed in such a manner that some terminal equipment becomes incompatible with the network. Such changes may or may not result in amendments to the Terminal Equipment Technical Specifications.

4.3.2 A six-month advance notification in writing must be provided to the Department and the carrier's known affected subscribers when there is a reasonable expectation that lawfully connected terminal equipment will be rendered incompatible as a result of such changes.

4.4 Compatibility

4.4.1 Some compatibility problems may be identified only after the initial installation of network equipment. For the next scheduled installation of such network equipment, the carrier will provide written notification corresponding as closely to the intervals specified in Section 4.2 or Section 4.3 above, as is reasonable in the circumstances.

4.4.2 For example, when a subscriber has the choice of utilizing a service such as Dual-Tone Multi Frequency (DTMF) or Call Forwarding no notice is required. This is because existing terminals would remain compatible with the network.

4.5 Subscribers Requiring Notification

4.5.1 A carrier's notice is limited to known affected subscribers within the service area and to the Department. The Department will notify all certificate holders, declaring parties and TAPAC members of these changes.

5. Disclosure of New Terminal-to-Network Interfaces Under the Terminal Attachment Program

5.1 Purpose of Disclosure

5.1.1 Disclosure is intended to:

  1. provide timely information to manufacturers to facilitate competitive supply of terminal equipment for attachment to services for which terminal connection is permitted; and
  2. provide an environment which encourages telecommunication services development.

5.2 Definitions

5.2.1 Non-Proprietary Interfaces are interfaces that are documented in specifications developed and agreed to in a recognized public standard body or open forum. As a minimum, the specification must have received approval at a level able to do so where it can be expected that this specification will receive formal approval by the top level of the recognized public standard body or open forum. A standard body or open forum is one which typically provides access to the process of formulation of specifications to all interested parties. Standard bodies include, but are not limited to, organizations such as Canadian Standards Association (CSA), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), American National Standards Institute (ANSI) (TIA, T1, IEEE) and European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). The Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) Forum and the Frame Relay Forum are examples of open forums.

5.2.2 Proprietary Interfaces are those which do not meet the criteria stated above under Non-Proprietary Interfaces. An interface specification which contains any proprietary requirements shall be considered to fall into the proprietary category.

5.3 Disclosure Process

5.3.1 A disclosure may be provided by any carrier for any service. A disclosure is required when a carrier introduces a new or augmented terminal-to-network interface for which the CRTC requires a disclosure, where such a new interface will not affect the operation of existing terminal equipment.

5.3.2 The disclosing carrier shall make disclosure notices available to the TAPAC chairperson and all other interested parties, such as TAPAC participants, Industry Canada Terminal Attachment Program Certificate Holders, declaring parties, recognized testing laboratories and competing carriers according to a distribution list maintained by Industry Canada. The distribution list will be maintained based on the interest demonstrated. Disclosure notices are available at the following TAPAC Web site: (Interested parties are required to register on this site to receive automatic notifications of new disclosures).

5.3.3 The carrier may disclose for a trial and commercial service simultaneously. However, if the disclosed interface is changed during or after the trial - a new disclosure shall be required.

5.3.4 Changes to disclosed interfaces require that a new disclosure be issued as per this disclosure process.

5.4 Disclosure Categories

5.4.1 Interfaces disclosed are divided into two categories:

  1. Category A: non-proprietary interfaces, which have been agreed to in recognized public standard bodies or open forums, and interfaces previously disclosed to Industry Canada using the disclosure process shall be disclosed at least three months before the commercial service date.
  2. Category B: proprietary interfaces that do not meet the criteria for interfaces in category A above shall be disclosed at least ten months before the commercial service date.

5.5 Trials

5.5.1 Disclosure shall be provided prior to a trial during which the carrier is planning to test a new interface or where the design of an interface may be affected. Trials are not mandatory. The disclosure shall indicate the coverage and timing of the trial. Should the disclosed interface be modified during or after the trial - a new disclosure will be required.

5.6 Content of Disclosure

5.6.1 The disclosure will provide fundamental information regarding the proposed network service. The source from which detailed interface disclosure information can be obtained will be included, e.g., contact point (name, address, telephone number) of the manufacturer of network equipment or the network provider and the fees applying for the provision of documents.

5.6.2 The disclosure shall also include:

  1. the disclosure category proposed by the carrier disclosing;
  2. packaging information, if available, including information on whether services will be bundled for the purposes of tariffing;
  3. sufficient level of details to ensure complete interoperability of terminal equipment with the service provided such as a technical description of the parameters at the terminal-to-network interface which would provide for interoperability and interconnectivity; and
  4. the expected date of commercial service. When the disclosure is performed on behalf of a group of carriers then the expected date of the commercial service for each carrier shall be specified.

5.7 Clarification Process

5.7.1 As a first course of action, interested parties should seek clarifications from the carrier or representative of the carrier who disclosed the interface. This direct approach should be used even after the disclosure period has expired.

5.7.2 During the disclosure period, if a party does not agree with the proposed category or answers received from the disclosing party to technical queries on the disclosed interface, it can request Industry Canada to initiate a clarification process to attempt to clarify the situation and to review the category of the disclosure. This process will be achieved by opening discussions (e.g., meetings) between the carrier, Industry Canada and the parties seeking clarifications.

5.7.3 Industry Canada will notify the CRTC when a clarification process has been initiated. In the same manner the carrier will inform Industry Canada of the filing of a tariff for which disclosure was made.

The process and discussions will be documented in a report to the CRTC by Industry Canada. If no consensus can be reached, Industry Canada may also offer a recommendation of its own in its report. It is important to note that even though this clarification process can be initiated based on technical questions on a disclosed interface, interface specifications cannot be altered in this process unless the process highlights technical errors which are corrected by the originator of the interface specification. If the disclosed interface is changed as a result of the clarification process - a new disclosure will be required.

5.7.4 Parties are encouraged to raise their concerns as early as possible in order to allow for the timely production of Industry Canada's report.

5.7.5. After the disclosure period has expired, a new clarification process can be initiated at the request of a concerned party which requires further clarifications from the party that disclosed the interface. However, complaints from a concerned party on the implementation of an interface by the carriers should be addressed to the CRTC.

6. Information Notices

6.1 Notices about an interface or other aspects which are not considered to be a network change as per Section 4 or a disclosure as per Section 5.3 may be distributed as an Information Notice. The clarification process will apply, but only to the extent that someone would question the applicability of the Information Notice status which is not subject to a disclosure period.

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