4 Nov 2005

Sri Lanka Telecom blocks calls to 11 Pacific countries

5:10 pm on 4 November 2005

Sri Lanka Telecom has blocked all direct dial phone and internet calls to 11 Pacific islands countries due to rogue diallers running up thousands of dollars in charges on unsuspecting customers bills.

Calls to the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Kirabti, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tokelau, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Samoa have been blocked

Rogue diallers change the numbers used in dial up connections to expensive international numbers or offer access to porn sites in return for changing internet access numbers.

The former President of the Pacific Island Telecommunications Association, Stewart Davies, says it's a knee-jerk reaction from Telecom in Sri Lanka

"The Pacific Islands believe that the Sri Lankan regulator has over reacted to a problem, and also are taking the wrong stance because by blocking calls to pacific island people, he basically hurting innocent people, people who do not have any invlovement in this fraud at all."

Stewart Davies says the block will have a negative impact on the tourism in the Pacific as travellers attempt to arrange holidays.