CCJ rules against Guyana telephone company in VoIP case

Port of Spain, Trinidad (CMC) — The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has ruled that the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) breached its contract in disconnecting a customer’s internet service because of his use of Vonage, an internet phone service which uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology.

In a ruling Monday, the CCJ, Guyana’s highest court said it was allowing James Samuel appeal while dismissing the cross appeal of the telecommunications company.

The court accepted the findings of the trial judge that Samuels had not signed any written agreement with GT&T and he was given no notice of any restrictions on his internet usage.

The CCJ held that the Court of Appeal wrongly implied a term into the contract restricting Samuels’ use of his internet service for making and receiving international calls.

It said the issue of implied terms was not raised by the parties and there was no evidence to show how Samuels’ conduct would have affected GT&T’s business.

The CCJ refused to rule on whether Samuels’ action infringed the Telecommunications Act as this was a matter for the Director of Telecommunications. The Court also expressed no view on whether GT&T’s exclusive licence was void based on the Civil Law Act, Cap.6:01 and the Constitution because these matters were not part of Samuels’ original claim.

GT&T was ordered to pay damages and costs as awarded by the trial judge as well as the costs of the appeal before the CCJ.

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