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The Verkhovna Rada adopted the Law “On Electronic Communications”

On September 30, 2020, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the European Integration Law No.3014 “On Electronic Communications” that regulates the provision of telephone and Internet access services. The law will protect the rights of subscribers and improve the environment for telecom business development.

In 2019, BRDO experts advocated the implementation of the new EU Code instead of old Directives listed in the Annexes to the Association Agreement. This approach compensates for Ukraine’s delay in the implementation of the Association Agreement.

The first text of the draft law based on the EU Code was developed by BRDO experts and presented to the Office of the President on August 27, 2019. The text of the draft law was prepared for the first reading by a working group within the Verkhovna Rada’s Committee on Digital Transformation. The working group included representatives of operators, providers, associations, and experts from the Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO). The BRDO senior lawyer Nadiya Kostryba coordinated the working group to prepare the draft law for the first reading.

What will be changed for subscribers?
  • The state will ensure the Internet affordability and geographical coverage throughout Ukraine;
  • Subscribers will be able to choose a specific service provided separately from the “package” of services;
  • Operators will be required to report the minimum, average, and maximum speed of the Internet service so that subscribers can expect receiving a clear minimum service speed when choosing a service provider;
  • There is a possibility of out-of-court settlement of disputes between subscribers and operators. This will allow subscribers to protect their rights more effectively and quickly.
What will be changed for business?
  • Reduced bureaucratic barriers to the introduction of new technologies. From now on, if operators want to use new technology to provide services, there is no need to obtain a mandatory permit from the state.
  • Operators will be allowed to deploy low-power core networks under a simplified procedure without assigning radio frequencies to individual equipment. This, for example, will contribute to the faster 5G technology introduction.
  • The Ukrainian telecom market will become more attractive to European investors, as the updated regulation is harmonized with the European legislation.
  • Deployment of fixed and mobile broadband Internet access networks will be cheaper. The law provides for the possibility of operators to access each other’s infrastructure.
  • Operators will be able to transfer their radio frequency resource for use to third parties subject to the consent of the National Commission for the State Regulation of Communications and Informatization (NCCIR).
What will be changed for the state and international partners?
  • The state will have objective information on Internet coverage in Ukraine to build networks in regions where it is not available. Operators will be required to conduct geographic surveys of networks and update data at least once a year.
  • There will be a transparent electronic system for the interaction of all market players: there it will be possible to receive administrative services and access to registers and databases.
  • The adopted Law fulfills obligations under the Association Agreement and is harmonized with the updated EU legislation.

The law will enter into force on 1 January 2022. It consists of 128 articles and its volume exceeds 200 pages. The Government should update some bylaws during the year to put this document into practice.