Universal service (electronic communications)

 

Universal service is the minimum set of services available to all end-users under the same terms and conditions, at an affordable price and specified quality.

At the European level the issue of universal service is addressed by Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on universal service and users´ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services (Universal Service Directive) which is transposed in the Czech Republic into the Electronic Communications Act.

 

CTU is authorised within the universal service to impose on entrepreneurs an obligation to provide the following sub-services:
a) access to a public communications network at a fixed location,
b) access to a publicly available telephone service at a fixed location,
c) regular publication of subscriber directories and access of the end-users to them,
d) telephone directory enquiry service available to all end-users,
e) public pay telephones or similar devices enabling access to a publicly available telephone service,
f) access of disabled end-users to a publicly available telephone service, directory enquiry service and directories, equivalent to that enjoyed by other end-users, particularly via a special telecommunication terminal equipment, or
g) services additional to those stated under letter a) and b), that is:
  1. to allow consumers to pay for connection to the public communication network on the basis of payments phased over time,
  2. to bar outgoing calls of defined types, sending premium text or MMS messages or, if technically feasible, access to similar services with high price or calls to defined types of numbers for the subscriber,
  3. itemised bills for the subscriber free of charge,
  4. providing information on the subscriber´s request about lower prices or favourable price plans and about conditions under which are exercised, if available, and
  5. subscriber´s control of expenditure connected to using the publicly available telephone service including consumers´ notice free of charge in case of unusual or excessively increased use of the service.

 

Furthermore, within the universal service there is the obligation of so-called special prices being imposed which enables persons with special social needs to choose prices or special price plans different from standard price plans offered under usual commercial terms so that these persons could access and use the sub-services and publicly available telephone service.

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