Cariaccess files lawsuit against Cable & Wireless
December 22, 2006

Cariaccess files lawsuit against Cable & Wireless

Cable & Wireless is staring down the barrel of a big gun as CARIACCESS brings a lawsuit against the telecommunications giant for “serious financial and other loss” of profits estimated at EC$116 million.

The lawsuit was filed on Friday, December 15, 2006, in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.

Cariaccess, owned by Vincentian, Anthony Gunn, is also suing the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC), the country’s telecommunications regulator. After years of tension and bickering between Cable & Wireless and the NTRC which saw both entities squaring off in court they now find themselves in the same boat with this latest lawsuit.{{more}}

Cariaccess said they received a licence from government in 2002 to offer broadband Internet service however it is alleged, in its writ, that it was prevented from launching the service as Cable & Wireless impeded it from making an interconnection with its (Cable & Wireless) network.

Among the particulars of unreasonable or uncompetitive behaviour posited by Cariaccess to the Court is that Cable & Wireless “offered Internet access to the market at the retail rental rate of $999 per month unlimited access for a 1544 kbps (T1) plan”.

It however quoted Cariaccess “a cost of $34,632 per month for the same 1544 kbps plan from June 14, 2002 to January 20, 2006 when it reduced the quote for a 1544 kbps bandwidth of service to $17,229 but the retail rental rate was reduced to $299.99 per month”.

CARIACCESS has charged that the NTRC failed to enforce its regulations which prohibit Cable & Wireless from imposing wholesale prices on its potential rivals that were in excess of its own retail prices for broadband access.

CEO of Cable & Wireless, Daryl Jackson, said he was aware of the lawsuit but declined to comment on it.

Apollo Knights, Director of Telecommunications in the NTRC also declined comment as the case was sub judice.

Cable & Wireless spent the last few years battling its main rival Digicel for the hearts of Vincentians in and outside of the courtroom. During that time several tactics costing millions of dollars by both entities were employed to stave off competition, all to the benefit of the customers. Today, the mettle of the telecommunications giant is about to be tested with this new round of litigation.