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To the Editor,

I read with interest your supplement to the Jan 27 issue.

Although I agree that Australian cooperation has been beneficial to the

development of Cambodia, I feel that I must question some of the claims made in

the article "Telstra: a Cambodia success story."

The article claims that the international telecommunications system in

Cambodia is "state-of-the-art" and "one of the most modern anywhere." I dispute

this claim.

I have personally been involved over the last few months with

a billing dispute where we have been billed by PTC for calls to other countries,

including Australia, which were not completed. This seems to arise from the use

of rather old technology, relying on a timer, that assumes that a call has been

answered after a period of perhaps 20 seconds. Calls that ring unanswered for

longer than this are billed, as if completed, at the prevalent rates of up to

$US 4.80 per minute. More modern equipment is available that can monitor calls

to detect whether they have been answered and therefore bills customers only for

completed calls. Cambodia's international call billing system, in my opinion, is

antiquated. Why is this when we pay some of the highest rates in the word?

Although the cause of the problem is clear, requests for a correction of

the problem at PTC have been met with less than state-of-the-art bureaucracy. I

have become aware of many people who have similar problems. Not surprising as I

believe that all international call out of Cambodia are billed with this old


I would like to take this opportunity to encourage Telstra

and PTC to modernize their billing equipment and practices. I also hope that

some of the $20 million in annual revenues will be invested in repairs and

upgrading to the sadly dilapidated land line system within Phnom Penh and


- Lee Forsythe, Phnom Penh



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