Bell employee suggested waiving 911 fees in North: emails
Internal Bell Mobility emails read before a judge Tuesday in Yellowknife show Bell employees suggested waiving 911 fees in the North back in 2007.
Plaintiff James Anderson launched the class action lawsuit against the company for charging fees for the service in areas where 911 service doesn't exist.
During the cross-examination of Mike Martins, a former vice-president with Bell, Anderson's lawyer read from a string of internal Bell emails sent in 2007 of which Martins was a part.
In the emails, customer service reps and management talked about receiving complaints from customers in the territories about the 911 fee.
The Bell employees were looking for guidance on how to deal with those complaints and at one point a Bell director suggested that the 911 fees needed to be removed.
Martins said that director didn't have the responsibility to make that decision, saying it was simply an opinion.
He also said it was impractical, since Bell can't track if people move to a location with 911 or if those services change.
In another email, a Bell employee said that should someone in the territories launch a class-action lawsuit, Bell would have no defence.
Iain Grant, who has researched 911 services in the country, testified for Anderson's side on Tuesday that Bell's practice of charging people in the North for a service which doesn't exist is an anomaly.
He said elsewhere in Canada where there is no 911 service, there is no 911 fee, except in the three territories and in Fort Nelson, B.C.
Grant also testifed that Northwestel, which provides telephone service in the territories, did not charge customers the 911 fee until it was acquired by Bell in 2003.
He also said Bell Mobility’s competition in the North, Ice Wireless, does not charge the fee.
Bell called its own expert, Chris Kellett, who said Canada's telecommunications regulator, the CRTC, does not require wireless companies to provide 911 services.
He said it's always municipal governments that decide to install and fund those services.