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Dec 17, 2009

Chief Justice gives Telemedia 48 hour deadline to hook up Smart

Story PictureThere was another remarkable decision in the court today and it has to do with the government controlled Telemedia and Speednet. Last Thursday executives of the country’s two telecommunications providers faced each other in the courtroom of Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh. The CJ ruled then that the injunction that Speednet sought against Telemedia, the dominant telecom provider, would be upheld. The C.J. directed that Telemedia would no longer engage in activities to interrupt Speednet’s services. Telemedia was also obligated to restore all the services that had been disrupted prior to coming to court and to reinstall all equipment that had been removed from Speednet’s antennas located on Telemedia compounds. But Telemedia didn’t comply and Speednet’s attorneys had to return to court this morning. Speednet’s attorney, Andrew Marshalleck, says that this time Telemedia has forty-eight hours to comply with the Chief Justice’s order.

Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney for Speednet
“The trouble that we had since last week Thursday when the orders were made, the things that the court ordered B.T.L. to do, they had not yet done. So we went back to court to have the court fix a firm deadline within which everything that is required to be done is done. And the court made that order this morning and ordered that all the services and facilities that were provided prior to the disruptions be restored and that they be restored within forty-eight hours of today’s ruling. So a firm deadline has been set and B.T.L.’s explanation has been they have certain difficulties with the wording of the order and that the court also sought to clarify and made clear that it’s the very services that Speednet enjoyed prior to the disruptions that had to be restored. What was being proposed by B.T.L. was to offer some alternative services.”

Jose Sanchez
“What alternative services?”

Andrew Marshalleck
“I’m not familiar with the technical aspects of it, but they were offering instead of the unfiltered E1 service, some international direct line which is apparently a different thing. The court made clear this morning, however, that they are to go back to the same service that Speednet enjoyed that service was E1 international services.”

Jose Sanchez
“What about the Smart equipment at St. Thomas?”

Andrew Marshalleck
“The equipment that was removed by B.T.L. are also to be reinstalled and that must be within the same forty-eight hours.”

Jose Sanchez
“So by weekend everything will be back to normal.”

Andrew Marshalleck
“Hopefully. What that does then is set the stage for contempt or other court proceedings to follow in the event that there is noncompliance, not withstanding this very clear deadline. I think that thinking as commercial people do, the holiday season, the upcoming week is a very busy season for telecommunications. I think the dragging of feet has to do with those commercial considerations.”

Marshalleck says that Telemedia offered to reconnect Speednet to towers in Ladyville and Benny’s for a fee. Well, we’ll see what the next move is since the Public Utilities Commission has been on the airwaves declaring illegal the contract between Speednet and Telemedia, even while it claimed it had not seen it.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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