Fresh spanner in works to delay hearing on controversial ILD service

8 Feb 2012

Bermudan newspaper The Royal Gazette writes that the government is attempting to delay a hearing on Digicel’s controversial international long-distance (ILD) telephony service – offered some have claimed ‘illegally’ via its sister company Transact – ramping up the cost and acrimony which has sucked in several of the Island’s telecoms operators. Counsel for the Crown, Maurice Cottle, submitted a letter to the Telecommunications Commission yesterday seeking to delay the proceedings, prompting an angry response from Digicel’s lawyer Jan Woloniecki, and causing TeleBermuda International’s lawyer to note that the ‘clock was ticking to the commercial detriment’ of the company every day the case was delayed. The hearing has, however, been adjourned ‘until further notice’ for the Commission to consider the Crown’s latest appeal.

In brief, Digicel maintains that its ILD service is lawful and that along with Transact, they are acting ‘wholly within the terms of their respective licences’. The telcos originally went to court to force rival operator CellOne to provide interconnection for the service. However, the government and TeleBermuda International continue to object to Digicel’s launch – despite a December 2011 Supreme Court ruling which confirmed the court had ‘fully discharged Digicel and Transact from their undertaking in respect of the provision of international long-distance services. The Judge further refused applications made by the defendants to issue an injunction against Digicel and Transact from providing international services in Bermuda’. In his December ruling, the chief justice agreed with Digicel that the provision of services by Digicel-Transact enjoyed ‘the presumption of legality’ leaving the pair free to continue offering them to Bermudans. The case rumbles on.