Another decision that the Court of Appeal handed down today has to do with Speednet Communications Limited, the parent company of Smart. For background, in 2011, Speednet filed a lawsuit against the Public Utilities Commission, PUC, as it relates to fees that it had been required to pay for its telephone service. The PUC had charged Speednet seven hundred and ninety two thousand dollars for a total of 7,925 channels at one hundred dollars per channel. That amount for Speednet was too high and so it took the matter to the courts. The Supreme Court threw out the case but Speednet appealled in 2013 and today the Court of Appeal dismissed the case-except in one respect as explained by PUC’s Attorney, Senior Counsel Fred Lumor.
“Speednet’s contention is that the fees are too large and expensive and it was due to misinterpretation of the schedule fees by PUC. So they asked the court to clarify the meaning of the schedule, the court rejected the appeal but partly accepted the argument of Speednet so the appeal was allowed to a certain extent; meaning that the fees ought not to be paid in advance but should be paid in arrears since Speednet has paid PUC the fees in advance, the court ordered that PUC should pay interests on over $700,000 which Speednet paid to PUC as fees in advance; meaning the PUC would have to make payments of 6% interest on that money back to Speednet. The court says, however, since Speednet is to pay fees to PUC they can set it off against future payments. So in a nutshell that was the decision handed down this morning. It’s a very importance case because there is a schedule of fees and there is misinterpretation for what channel the PUC levies fees for, the number of channels that the telecommunications use to make phone calls, internet services and so on and if the court had accepted Speednet’s argument it meant that Speednet would have been paying little or nothing for those channels. The Court accepted the PUC’s interpretation of the channels so that the court upheld that the over $700,000 in charges annual for those fees is the correct fee to be paid. So all the doubt and confusion is removed.”
Attorney Andrew Marshalleck represented Speednet.