24 Jun 2003

Telpac upset at Fiji finance minister comments

12:18 pm on 24 June 2003

The Suva-based cut-price American telephone company, TELPAC, has been angered at the Fiji finance minister's description of it as a parasite.

Ratu One Kubuabola's attack came after TELPAC said it was suing TELECOM FIJI and FINTEL for a total of 38-million US dollars for unfair and anti-competitive business practices and misuse of market power.

The finance minister said TELPAC was a parasite because it was using infrastructure worth millions of dollars put in place by the two other companies.

But the Fiji Sun quotes TELPAC's chief executive, Tim Gibbons, as saying his company pays the same ridiculous charges forced upon all businesses in Fiji and still provides services 70 percent cheaper than the monopolies.

Mr Gibbons says Mr Kubuabola has misrepresented that TELPAC is using FINTEL infrastructure.

He says the minister should wake up to the fact that the Southern Cross Cable was provided by a joint effort of the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and Fiji was an add-on and not a principal partner in the project.

Mr Gibbons says TELPAC intends to bring justice to all those who are defrauding the public through sky-high communications pricing.

He says the days of abusing the public trust and hiding fraud through communications pricing are over.