TIO suit "pointlessly expensive" but necessary: Exetel

Explains decision to sue the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman to customers

Exetel has issued a detail customer communiqué detailing why it had decided to sue the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), a government agency it describes as a “rogue organization.”

In a letter to customers, the ISP’s chief executive, John Linton, said the decision to sue the TIO — a move first reported by <I>Computerworld Australia </i> in October — came after 12 months of deliberations.

“We did it because we, by 'force' not by our own desires, are a 'member' of the TIO and we object to being a member of a rogue organization that insists we pay to belong to it but dismisses our totally legitimate complaints about the way 'our organisation' operates without any consideration for the correctness of its day to day actions or for the efficacy of its own actions,” the letter reads.

“So for the whole time of our 'belonging' to the TIO we have raised specific objections to many different aspects of how the TIO conducts its daily affairs with the net result that we our legitimate concerns have been dismissed by 'clerks' who have difficulty in spelling 'ADSL' let alone understanding the first thing about how it works.”

According to the ISP, for most of 2010 it had sought to settle its issues with the TIO out of court, in order to prevent further overcharging to telcos.

“Apart from monthly legal bills no other result has been achieved. Our legal advisors, after almost 12 months of attempting to reach a sensible resolution from the TIO's legal personnel have now advised us that the only way of sensibly getting an answer from the TIO is to get a court to order them to do so,” the letter reads.

“Therefore we have begun that long and pointlessly expensive process.”

In Exetel’s statement of claims, cited by Computerworld Australia in October, the ISP said it was seeking damages for losses incurred as a result of alleged breaches in the way the TIO investigated customer complaints and enforced financial undertakings.

The telco also demanded the TIO cease the behaviour which led to the alleged breaches of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Services Standards) Act, breach of contract and also breach of duty of care.

In September, Exetel’s lawyers sent the TIO a letter claiming there were grounds for the telco to bring an action against the TIO in response to its fines.

Exetel signs up with NTT

In the customer newsletter Linton also noted that the ISP had signed a contract with Japanese telco giant NTT to provide additional IP bandwidth. The ISP has also added a fourth point of presence at Equinix in Sydney for disaster protection.

"NTT will allow faster routes to Japan, South East Asia and the Indian sub continent as well as a different path to the USA/Europe via the Telstra owned Endeavour cable via Hawaii," the letter reads.

NTT was selected as an alternative to Southern Cross routes between Australia, the US and Europe.

Linton wrote that the initial upgrade would be 1.2 megabits per second (Mbps), but this would serve to test all aspects of the services as well as being the first 10Mbps connection the ISP had to its IP providers.

Follow Tim Lohman on Twitter: @TLohman

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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