BUSINESS BRIEFS

New telecoms bill to come in February

SLOVAKIA'S Transport, Post, and Telecoms Ministry will publish a draft bill on electronic communications on its web site next month to stimulate public debate on the issue before the matter goes to parliament.

The law on electronic communications will replace Slovakia's current telecoms law and will incorporate new EU legislation governing telcoms and Internet operators. The new law should become effective from January 2004.

Alternative telecoms operators have heavily criticised Slovakia's current telecoms law, which they say prevents competition between new operators and the former monopoly Slovak Telecom (ST).

Although ST's fixed-line telecoms monopoly ended at the beginning of 2003, the current law does not require the dominant telecoms provider to open its network to competition, say alternative operators.

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