5 Oct 2004

Ireland bans phone calls to nine Pacific Island countries

1:43 pm on 5 October 2004

Ireland has formally banned normal direct dial telephone calls to nine Pacific Island countries.

The Irish telecommunications regulator, ComReg, has taken the step in order to fight so-called modem-jacking, by which computer hackers use telephone lines to mask their identities.

Ireland had given the countries until today to register what it called appropriate business and residential numbers.

The countries affected are the Cook Islands, Norfolk Island, Tokelau, Solomon Islands, Wallis and Futuna, Nauru, Tuvalu, Kiribati and French Polynesia.

The Cook Islands Telecom chief executive, Stewart Davies, says he accompanied the country's ambassador to the EU on a trip to Dublin last week.

Mr Davies says Ireland's major telecoms companies have agreed not to enforce the ban, and only one minor operator is heeding it.

Mr Davies says he's hopeful the ban can be lifted altogether in the near future.

The general manager of Solomon Telekom says the country's ambassador also went to Dublin last week.

Marty Robinson says he's not heard of the outcome of the Solomon Islands' diplomatic mission.