Upper house rejects universal service bill

11 Jul 2013

The Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, has reportedly rejected a bill reforming the key principles of the country’s universal services provision. The bill – which has already passed through the State Duma, or lower house – included a clause allowing telcos to use mobile technology to extend services to rural and remote areas, rather than traditional fixed line access types. In previous years companies have been obliged to construct payphones and public internet access points in all settlements with a population of over 500 people. It is understood that senators have voiced their concern at the apparent disregard for existing payphone deployments, and the potential ramifications of such a decision.