State Duma adopts universal service amendments, including choice of operators

7 Apr 2020

Russia’s lower house of parliament the State Duma has adopted a law reforming universal communications services (UCS) which mandates the provision of public Wi-Fi internet services to all villages with over 100 residents while making it mandatory to deploy mobile network services to all remaining settlements with 100-500 residents which currently lack any cellular connection. The law also contains provisions to appoint UCS operators for certain regions, whereas to date state-backed fixed line operator Rostelecom has held the status of exclusive Federation-wide UCS provider. As reported by ComNews, the law officially removes a previous requirement to deploy ‘collective access points’ as part of UCS, due to a lack of demand for such usage, while universal payphones are to be upgraded with public emergency warning facilities.

The existing UCS mandate of Rostelecom (which owns cellco Tele2 Russia) included the provision of payphones in remote settlements throughout the Federation, public Wi-Fi access points in settlements of 250-500 people plus collective internet access points in larger villages.

Russia, Rostelecom, Tele2 Russia