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Czech Labor Minister plans Internet subsidy for the socially vulnerable

9.7.2015 21:27
Michaela Marksová-Tominová (PHOTO: www.cssd.cz)
Michaela Marksová-Tominová (PHOTO: www.cssd.cz)

Czech Minister for Labor and Social Affairs Michaela Marksová-Tominová (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) is planning to subsidize reduced Internet rates for the 

socially vulnerable. "The aim is for people at risk of social exclusion to be able to use digital technology to improve their position in society," Jiří Vaňásek, director of the ministry's Labor Market Department, told news server iHNED.cz.  

The ministry estimates that thousands of families could be aided through such a subsidy. The Czech Statistical Bureau says 73 % of Czech families own a computer connected to the Internet - but in the case of the most impoverished, not even one in three enjoys such access.  

The Labor Ministry is currently reviewing who exactly would receive cheaper access to the Internet and how high the subsidy would be. Their connections to the Internet at a lower price would begin as of the end of 2017.  

The state would make up the difference to Internet service providers between the customary rate and the reduced rate paid by low-income consumers. The Labor Ministry also wants to provide impoverished people with computers, either for a symbolic price or completely free of charge.  

"We have considered the option of using refurbished computers, but at this moment we are looking at other variations," Vaňásek said. The ministry is still reviewing how precisely to construct the price reduction and who would be entitled to it.    

The Czech state already subsidizes some telecommunications services. Persons living with disabilities, for example, are entitled to a CZK 200 benefit towards telecoms.

That program only works for telephone services. Approximately 50 000 people are taking advantage of it in the Czech Republic. 

bau, iHNED.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Michaela Marksová-Tominová, MPSV, Sociální dávky, Sociální vyloučení



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