9 Jul 2003

Fiji's monopoly telecommunications company accused of "ripping-off" customers

10:31 am on 9 July 2003

The Fiji-based budget American telephone company, TELPAC, has filed a criminal complaint against the country's monopoly international telecommunications provider, FINTEL.

Fij TV reports that TELPAC has accused FINTEL of re-routing Internet signals meant for the United States through Australia and New Zealand, causing delays and massive cost increases to customers.

TELPAC says it has proof of this re-routing and is calling on the government to take action against FINTEL or it would take criminal proceedings itself.

TELPAC's chief executive, Tim Gibbons says since Fiji is using only one per cent of the capacity of the Southern Cross cable there is no justification for the re-routing.

Under Fiji law anyone found guilty of delaying telecommunications messages is liable to both a fine and a term in prison.

TELPAC says FINTEL delays thousands of messages a day and is liable for each violation.

Mr Gibbons says this is an abuse of the pricing structure and economics and FINTEL owes Fiji consumers a lot of money.