PCCW wins round against regulator

PCCW has won the latest skirmish in a battle with the telecommunications regulator over the way it enforces broadband interconnection policy between the fixed-line operator and its rivals.

The High Court yesterday quashed a decision by the Office of the Telecommunications Authority (Ofta) to force PCCW to lease its network to Wharf in May 2002 without detailing terms and conditions.

This followed a judicial review of the decision in July, when a judge ruled that the core policy of broadband interconnection was lawful, but Ofta's decision to leave the details to PCCW and Wharf was 'irrational'.

In a judgment on the remedy yesterday, Mr Justice Michael Hartmann quashed Ofta's direction and awarded PCCW costs.

The judge said: 'While done with the best of intentions and in good faith, [it] nevertheless constituted an abuse of power.'

Although PCCW regulatory affairs director Stuart Chiron admitted the ruling would have little market impact, he stressed that from an administrative law point of view, the ruling was significant.

'What message this sends to the regulators is to remind them about what due process is all about ... the telecommunications authority must act in an even-handed method.'