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Number of public payphones likely to fall

THE SLOVAK Telecommunications Office (TÚ), Slovakia’s telecoms regulator, is to require that public payphones are distributed evenly and at least one such phone with disabled access is available in every community. This is the substance of a proposed regulation from the TÚ stipulating how public payphones and services for medically disabled users should be provided which it has submitted for inter-departmental review, the SITA newswire wrote.

THE SLOVAK Telecommunications Office (TÚ), Slovakia’s telecoms regulator, is to require that public payphones are distributed evenly and at least one such phone with disabled access is available in every community. This is the substance of a proposed regulation from the TÚ stipulating how public payphones and services for medically disabled users should be provided which it has submitted for inter-departmental review, the SITA newswire wrote.

“The proposed measure from the TÚ has been filed because of the need to amend the existing regulation of the number of public payphones, and due to the growing penetration of mobile phone services and decreasing interest in provision of public payphones,” the office’s spokesman, Roman Vavro, said. The new measure means that the total number of public payphones in Slovakia should fall.

The TÚ explained that the proposal, which should come into effect from November 2008, is intended to prevent the clustering of payphones merely in order to fulfil existing requirements to maintain numbers. The office will now require them to be evenly distributed.

“The main purpose of the proposed measure is to reduce the number of public payphones in cities and ensure there is at least one payphone in every municipality, which will also have barrier-free access and special equipment for disabled users,” Vavro said. The number of public payphones in each municipality should now be in proportion to its number of inhabitants.

The company set to provide universal service, including meeting the new accessibility requirements for public payphones, is Slovak Telekom (ST). At present, it operates about 7,400 public payphones. ST told SITA that it must maintain about 7,130 public payphones in order to meet current TÚ regulations. To conform to the new measure, their number could decrease to 4,850.

Slovak Telekom has expressed satisfaction with the TÚ move, which it said would ensure more effective provision of a universal service.


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