Telephone Charges for Community Centres

Res #: 38-03A
Number: 38
Year: 2003
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: SaskTel

Resolution No. 38-03A

WHEREAS, SaskTel charges business rates for telephone service to rural community centers and rinks; and

WHEREAS, SaskTel has announced its intention of increasing the cost of service to rural businesses; and

WHEREAS, the telephones in such facilities are there mainly for emergencies, and are seldom used to make such calls;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that SARM lobby the Provincial Government to instruct SaskTel to reduce the rates for service to these facilities to equal those charged to rural residences.

Response from Donald R. Ching, President and CEO of SaskTel:

SaskTel classifies a customer's service as either being business or residence for the purpose of applying an access rate according to its primary use. A residence classification applies when the service is used primarily for domestic or family purposed. SaskTel's General Tariff – Items 100.15 and 100.20, as regulated by the federal government through the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) provides that all lines must be classified as either business or residential.

SaskTel classifies telephone service as business when it is used primarily for commercial, industrial, professional, institutional, governmental, vocational or occupational purposes. This classification applies to not-for-profit organizations, community facilities, and other similar groups. A community center is open to the public and does not serve a domestic or family purpose; therefore SaskTel classifies service as business.

While SaskTel appreciates that telephones within rural community centers may be used mainly for emergencies, SaskTel cannot offer rural residential rates to community centers. It is important to note that even with the increase in business local service rates approved by the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission on March 18, 2003, business customers in Saskatchewan will still have either the lowest or among the lowest rates in the country. Even with the business local service rate increase in high cost areas, SaskTel will continue to subsidize the cost of providing this service to these areas (by approximately $4 million).

SaskTel operates in a highly competitive communications industry where declining long-distance revenues have compelled the company to ensure that its local access service rates more accurately reflect the cost of providing these services. It would be hard for SaskTel to justify giving one group of customers lower rates without extending similar treatment to a wide range of other customer groups. I hope the I have explained the reasons for the rates that SaskTel is charging community centers. SaskTel values the business of all of its customers. And, the corporation will continue to work hard to ensure that basic telephone access service remains affordable for all of its customers.