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SpeedNet triumphs after Belizean frequency fracas

9 Mar 2018

The Belizean Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has reportedly been unsuccessful in its attempt to charge SpeedNet Communications (trading as Smart) BZD1.4 million (USD685,800) in overdue spectrum fees relating to its use of the 700MHz band, which was first issued in 2011. Eamon Courtenay, the attorney for SpeedNet, told Channel 5 News: ‘Madam Justice Arana totally agreed with SpeedNet and said that judgement is given in favour of SpeedNet; the fees are not due, and most importantly, she granted a permanent injunction against the PUC, barring the PUC from demanding these fees from SpeedNet.’

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ended months of impasse in 2016, when it ruled that the PUC could not charge the cellco excessive spectrum fees; SpeedNet had previously lost the case in the lower courts. Complicating matters, SpeedNet is only in possession of a provisional licence, meaning that the PUC could technically revoke the 700MHz permit. Courtenay added: ‘They need to do what is right: reassign the spectrum, issue a licence, and charge fees going forward. In the meantime, SpeedNet will continue to use it with their provisional approval.’

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