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Russian telecom operators announced a 20% increase in communication prices due to free Internet

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Today it became known that that telecom operators in Russia will raise prices for communications if the state does not offer compensation for providing subscribers with free access to socially important sites. It is claimed that telecommunications companies will arrange tax benefits that will allow them to cover losses from the "social Internet". Another possibility is the development of special tariffs with a fixed monthly subscription fee.
In addition to the government’s initiative, the tariffs are also under pressure from the falling ruble exchange rate against the dollar. All this was stated by the participants of the working group of the commission of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) on communications and IT. The group includes representatives of MTS, MegaFon, Vimpelcom, Tele2, ER-Telecom, Yandex, Mail.ru Group and industry associations.
As for the access to socially important resources itself, the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin instructed to provide it to citizens. After receiving this order, the Ministry of Communications offered to provide subscribers with free access to the portal of state services and the sites of all government agencies as early as March 1, 2020. But, unfortunately, it was not possible to do it in time. Therefore, the new document will be prepared by the department only by the beginning of April. Well and in action the order should enter into force since December of this year.
The Ministry of Communications opposes the introduction of compensation to telecom operators and Internet service providers. This was stated by the Minister in early March, noting that the regulator does not agree with the proposal of operators. He also said that the list of socially important resources should include the services Yandex.Food and Delivery Club, the social network VKontakte, messengers, online media, education and health services.
"Our position in this part is very clear and precise: the list of those resources, those sites that will be included for free receipt by our citizens, who are subscribers, will include all socially important things. That is, social networks, messengers, food ordering services, that is, all the things they need in everyday life, the things they often use" – said Minister of Communications Maksut Shadaev.
Operators believe that the introduction of special tariffs is a compromise solution that suits everyone. Business representatives believe that free Internet will lead to losses of 150 billion rubles a year. The representatives of Rostelecom stated that the project "Affordable Internet" will cause additional costs not only for operators, but also for the services themselves, which will have to increase the cost of servers and the size of payments to operators for traffic.
For free access to socially important resources, according to various estimates, will take 10-15% of the total traffic of operators. In the near future the department will conduct tests to study the possible growth of traffic. The Ministry will give its comments on the project only after these tests are completed.
The list of socially significant sites and services still does not exist. The Ministry of Communications developed a preliminary version back in January of this year. The final version is still missing. The preliminary version included such resources as "Vkontakte", "Odnoklassniki", "Close World", "Diary", "My World", "Among friends" and "Photostrana", domestic postal services and for some reason messenger Bip, which belongs to the Turkish communications operator.
"Affordable Internet" is not to the liking of the Federal Antimonopoly Service and the Ministry of Finance of Russia. According to the agencies, the launch of the project may result in a situation where the volume of tax revenues from operators and providers will decrease on the background of the reduction of revenues of these organizations. Accordingly, the burden on the federal budget will increase.

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