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I4free Pays Own Legal Costs



Free internet provider i4free says it is untrue that anyone other than itself is behind the legal action against Telecom which i4free has been forced to mount in order to save its business.

i4free chief executive Annette Presley said Telecom's claims made on national television that CLEAR Communications was behind the legal action were incorrect, and were typical of the kind of misinformation Telecom was using to obscure the real issues.

"We are paying our own legal bills which we envisage will become a huge part of our costs," she said. "It will probably cost us in the order of $1million in legal fees to take this issue to completion, and that money was earmarked for the further growth and development of our business."

These costs were being borne by i4free alone and no other party, she said.

Legal costs now jeopardised the 100-or-so new jobs over the next 12 months that had been planned for in i4free's business plan.

"CLEAR Communications are taking their own proceedings against Telecom," she said. "This is in relation to the damage to their business. The only area we have asked CLEAR for support was to fight Telecom's claim in the High Court that we were too small to fight this injunction."

She said that during a preliminary hearing, Telecom had argued that i4free was too insubstantial a company to proceed with its injunction. Telecom wanted a $1 million bond as a means to try to dereail our legal proceedings before they had begun. In this respect, and only in this respect CLEAR had provided the Courts with a document to indemnify i4free against any counter-claim from Telecom for damages.

"CLEAR are both a supplier and competitor to i4free. We are a 100% kiwi owned private company that has no allegiance or affiliation with any particular carrier We are, however, greatly appreciative of CLEAR and the other carriers and competitors support throughout this ordeal."

She said that i4free was a small but solid company made up of partners with excellent business track records. There was no question as to their commitment and ability to survive so long as they had proper legal access to their customers.

Annette Presley said that, following Friday's court ruling, Telecom had removed its restriction from the i4free 0867 access numbers and traffic to its service had quadrupled with no impact on the Telecom exchange.

"i4free has experienced zero blocking or overloading," she said.


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