The Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) has imposed an obligation on three market players – “Telia Lietuva”, “Tele2” and “Bitė Lietuva” – to ensure the provision of universal electronic communications services in the municipalities of Varėna, Ignalina, Šalčininkai, Švenčionys and Pagėgiai. The decision takes effect on 1 July. Universal service is one of the means of ensuring that all consumers have access to at least a minimum number of services of specified quality. They must be affordable for all consumers, including the most deprived.
The CRA’s investigation has shown that universal electronic communications services of the required quality are currently not provided in the five municipalities.
“One of the key requirements of universal service is to ensure that all consumers have affordable and adequate access to broadband internet and voice services in a fixed location. Just as electricity was once one of the most important drivers of our progress, so now electronic communications are one of the most important. We are steadily moving towards a gigabit society, which is why we cannot leave a single person in our country without a connection,” says Jūratė Šovienė, Chairwoman of the CRA Council.
The CRA’s research showed that in the municipalities of Varėna, Ignalina, Šalčininkai, Švenčionys and Pagėgiai, the networks operated by the operators cover less than 95% of the total number of dwellings in the respective municipality.
Under the procedure, “Tele2” will have to provide universal communications services in the territories of the municipalities of Šalčininkai District and Ignalina District, “Telia Lietuva” will have to provide universal communications services in the territories of the municipalities of Švenčionys District and Varėna District, and “Bitė Lietuva” will have to provide universal communications services in the territory of the Pagėgiai Municipality.
“This will ensure sufficient access to the internet and voice communication services for the inhabitants of these municipalities,” says J. Šovienė
The price caps for universal electronic communications services are as follows: no more than EUR 8.92/month for the population in need or receiving social services, and no more than EUR 26.77/month for the rest. Operator services must provide data speeds of at least 10 Mbps inbound and 1 Mbps outbound, at least 1 GB of data per month and at least 200 minutes of calls.
“This will ensure that the inhabitants of these municipalities have sufficient access to the internet and voice communication services. Operators are obliged to provide services to all consumers who wish to receive universal electronic communications services”, emphasises the Chairwoman of the CRA Council.
95% of requests for the provision of universal electronic communications services would be completed within 60 calendar days or less. The remainder of the universal electronic communications service requests that cannot be fulfilled by the provider within the 60-calendar day deadline would be fulfilled within a different timeframe that is technically reasonable and agreed with the consumer.
Updated on 2023-08-03