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Jun 21, 2019

Judgment in Favor of P.U.C.; SMART Ordered to Pay Overdue Spectrum Fees

Sheena Pitts

The Public Utilities Commission won its legal battle against Speednet Telecommunication Limited, the parent company of SMART. This morning, the Court of Appeal handed down a judgment effectively overturning the ruling of Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana. In its claim, the P.U.C. asked the courts to order Speednet to pay one point four million dollars in overdue spectrum fees. The case essentially revolved around whether or not Speednet was granted a license. In 2013, P.U.C. granted Speednet provisional authorization for use of the spectrum and in her ruling, Madam Justice Arana decided that no license was granted and until a license was granted P.U.C. can claim fees. Speednet’s attorney Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay argued that P.U.C. gave Speednet permission to operate under the spectrum seven hundred megahertz and said they would have regularized it later on. It is yet to be regulated and Speednet’s position is that until it is done, the P.U.C. cannot lawfully demand payment. Representing the P.U.C. was Senior Counsel Fred Lumor and attorney Sheena Pitts.

 

Sheena Pitts, Attorney for P.U.C.

“Basically what happened was is that Speednet was using services, collecting monies from the public in exchange for those services and they were not paying. They did not adhere to the jurisdiction of the Public Utilities Commission. The Public Utilities Commission sent a letter to say you are to pay and Speednet said, no man we don’t have to pay, even though we don’t have a license we don’t have to pay. And so the matter came to court and what the Court of Appeal we anticipate is saying that where you are providing a service it must be by license and where those services attracts fees which goes to the Public Utilities Commission you ought to pay for it. You do recall that P.U.C. and Speednet they have been in litigation before and what the P.U.C. was attempting to do is saying that in relation to our litigation before there are fees outstanding and we can somewhat use some kind of agreement maybe set off or satisfy what is there and then you make whatever outstanding to us . I cannot say if that was ever done. I don’t think it was though.”


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