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RealTime IT News

Czech Internet Protest Partly Successful

More than 100,000 Czech Internet users signed petitions and several thousands took part in rallies to protest a proposed increase in local phone rates by Czech monopoly phone company SPT Telecom.

The company wanted to increase phone rates by more than 60 percent starting the first of the year. Groups of protesters began to form in first days of November to speak out against the proposal. In two weeks they gained more than 100,000 signatures, and on November 18 over 6,000 people took part in rallies in Prague, Brno and other cities.

Participants pledged to use neither the Internet nor phone during the day. Almost 1,000 Web servers joined the protest by either featuring a protest page instead of their normal services or by closing down.

In response, SPT Telecom replied with a modified proposal that included special rates for Internet access. Although it is not finally approved yet, this plan seems to be acceptable to both sides. Still, some questions remain.

This sort of solution doesn't cover BBS services, nor does it bring any improvement to the millions of people using regular phone service.