Letter from Industry Canada Responding to Requests to Delay Stakeholders Session Scheduled for May 23, 2008

May 2, 2008

Mr. Ken Engelhart
Senior Vice President - Regulatory
Rogers Communications Inc.
333 Bloor Street East
Toronto, Ontario
M4W 1G9

Mr. Barry Chapman
Vice President - Regulatory Affairs
Bell Mobility
110 O'Connor St., 6th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 1H1

Mr. Michael Hennessy
Vice-President, Wireless, Broadband and Content Policy
215 Slater Street, 8th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 0A6

Dear Sirs:

The following is in response to your letters requesting that the stakeholders session scheduled for May 23, 2008 be postponed until after the upcoming Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) auction, which starts May 27, 2008. In your letters you have also asked that we limit participation at the session to provisional licensees resulting from the auction and current licensees. Further, you raised concerns with respect to the process used by Industry Canada for setting final arbitration rules.


The stakeholders session is scheduled for May 23, 2008, before the start of the AWS auction. One of Industry Canada's objectives in doing so is to provide as much certainty as possible to bidders who will potentially be making substantial investments in the AWS auction. Furthermore, the Department intends to establish the arbitration rules expeditiously to enable the implementation of the roaming and tower sharing conditions of licence at the earliest possible time.

While the Department realizes that this date coincides with the last day of the AWS mock auction, it is anticipated that the participants for each session would be from different areas of the company, hence representation at both events would cause minimal, if any, conflict. Department officials have spoken to many other stakeholders and the vast majority would like to proceed with the session as planned in order to establish the rules without delay, confirming that this was a higher priority than resolving the conflict of dates.

Stakeholder session participation

The Department recognizes that holding the stakeholders session prior to the auction means that it will not have the advantage of knowing which companies will ultimately be successful in the auction. That being said, the decision which announced the conditions of licence stated that the session would be open to those who submitted comments in the consultation as well as other stakeholders who will be subject to, or affected by, the roaming and sharing conditions of licence. As is the Department's usual practice in consultation processes, all interested parties are welcome to provide comments and written submissions which the Department will post on its website. With respect to attendance at the stakeholders session, the Department had indicated that it may restrict participation to increase the efficiency of the session and ensure that those most affected by the new rules can attend. As such, attendance at the stakeholders session is going to be restricted to those who submitted comments in the consultation (Gazette Notice DGRB-010-07) , qualified bidders in the upcoming AWS auction, and current radiocommunication carriers or their representatives.

Process for setting rules

In Gazette Notice DGRB-002-08- Conditions of Licence for Mandatory Roaming and Antenna Tower and Site Sharing and to Prohibit Exclusive Site Arrangements the Department provided amended licence conditions which included a new procedure whereby companies would be sent to binding arbitration to settle any outstanding business disputes relating to mandated roaming and antenna tower sharing. The Notice also announced that Industry Canada would be organizing a stakeholder consultation session to assist the Department in developing arbitration rules and procedures. You have indicated that you consider there to be only limited opportunity for comment during the development of these rules.

The Department will be sending a copy of the draft rules to session participants and interested stakeholders and accepting written comments. A record of the stakeholders session along with all comments received, will be posted on the Department's website. Interested parties will then be provided an opportunity to submit reply comments. Feedback from the session, along with all written submissions received, will then be considered by the Department in formulating the final rules which will be published in the Canada Gazette and incorporated by reference into the conditions of licence. We consider that this will provide ample opportunity for input.

Industry Canada is planning to go ahead with the stakeholders session as planned on May 23, 2008.

Michael D. Connolly
Director General
Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulatory Branch

Date modified: