Telecoms companies in Antigua clash
ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Thursday July 28, 2011 – Digicel has won a High Court injunction to get the state-owned Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) to stop blocking calls from the telecoms provider’s customers.
The injunction granted yesterday compels APUA to “take all necessary steps to fully restore the interconnection links as between Digicel’s network and APUA’s network”, according to a statement from Digicel.
The company said the interconnection link was severed on Monday evening, causing widespread disruption to telecommunications services in Antigua and Barbuda. This resulted in Digicel customers being unable to connect to both LIME and APUA mobile customers as well as a disruption in connecting to APUA landlines, both residential and commercial.
The disruption has also affected inbound calls to the Digicel Network from all other providers, including inbound and outbound international calls.
“Despite Digicel’s very best efforts, APUA refused to take the necessary steps to restore the link as requested by Digicel. APUA’s refusal to act resulted in Digicel seeking the intervention of the court,” it said in a press release.
Earlier this week, APUA said that it was in no way responsible for the current failure of the competition’s mobile network.
It said the outage was brought about by a complete failure of Digicel equipment. It added that Digicel needed APUA to restore the connection, but still owed the government-owned utilities company more than $4 million.
In its statement, Digicel said it “regrets the fact that inaccurate and incomplete information has been put into the public domain in relation to the commercial matters between Digicel and APUA over the past two days. These are matters which are being resolved through the appropriate channels.”
“Digicel is absolutely confident that it shall be fully vindicated in all these matters. In particular, suggestions that Digicel owes substantial monies to APUA relating to the interconnection relationship are wholly misguided and without foundation.”
Digicel claimed that it has been seeking meetings with APUA in an effort to resolve all outstanding matters since late last year but “APUA has refused to engage substantively with Digicel in these matters which has led to the current wholly unsatisfactory situation”.
The company said it remains committed to resolving all matters “faithfully and responsibly and in the best interests of all consumers in Antigua and Barbuda and would strongly urge APUA to engage with it on that basis”.
Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Telecommunications, Dr. Edmond Mansoor, has pleaded with all the telecommunications providers to use acceptable and well-established mediation routes to settle their differences without having to resort to the disruption of services that greatly inconveniences tens of thousands of people.
He said the Government of Antigua and Barbuda is fully committed to working diligently with all the providers to resolve the impasse in the shortest possible time, as well as to sustain a sound telecommunications regulatory environment.