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Mar 13, 2019

P.U.C. and Speednet Continue Legal Spar over Spectrum Fees

Eamon Courtenay

The Public Utilities Commission and Speednet Communications, the parent company of SMART, were back in court today. The case revolves spectrum fees which the P.U.C. is charging Speednet. In 2016, the C.C.J. ruled in favor of Speednet, stating that the P.U.C. could not charge seven hundred and ninety-five thousand dollars in spectrum fee from Speednet. P.U.C., however, has since sought to offset the fees to the tune of one point four million dollars against the three quarter million dollars fee. P.U.C. granted Speednet provisional authorization for use of the spectrum in 2013 and then has sought to claim the fees retroactively.  P.U.C.’s appeal was heard before the Court of Appeal this afternoon and Speednet’s Attorney Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay explained that they are upholding Justice Arana’s ruling.

 

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney for Speednet Communications

“The issue is whether or not they can collect the fees without granting a license. So the court has to determine whether or not a license was granted. Madam Justice Arana, who heard it, said that no license was granted and until the license is granted you cannot claim the fees. So they have appealed and we are supporting the decision of Justice Arana.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“However the Justice asked if Speednet was operating unlawfully when it comes to that license because it is still operating and collecting from customers.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“First of all Speednet is operating under its license. It has a clause license, allows it to operate. What it applied is what is called a license for spectrum authorization and what the PUC did was to give them permission to operate under the spectrum seven hundred megahertz and said they would have regularized it later on. They have not regularized it so far and so our position is that until it is regularized you cannot lawfully demand the fees.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“And if that publication is made as well.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Yes, they have to regularize it by making the change in the spectrum and then publishing it in the gazette. Then it becomes official.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“And then Speednet will not have a problem at all in paying the fees?”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Speednet is prepaid to pay any fee that is lawfully charged under the act and the regulations. We said below and we said that to the court again.”

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