This page is written as an answer to the attempt of the state bureacracy to control the Internet.

Internet is in danger

On Dec. 18, 1998, the chief of the Committee for Post and Telecommunications has signed an order "List of telecommunication services which are to be licensed". The text of this document (in Bulgarian) is to be found at this address: http://www.cpt.acad.bg/BG/ - . (and is published at the State Gazette on Dec. 29. 1998). Point II ot this document says that in 1999 general license should be issued to 4.INTERNET - Internet Service Providers

The order is issued based on article 39 of the Telecommunications Act and on Decision 570 of the Council of ministers.


Before you continiue reading, we'd like to bring your attention to the following:
Nowhere in the quoted documents, used to justify the order of the Telecom boss, there's NO requirement for licensing of the Internet
If you doubt it, you may take a look at the following documents:
Telecommunications sector policy in Bulgaria (200 Kb!) or download it as sek_pol-eng.doc.
or you can just get this file directly from the CPT server (search for documents, 1998 and get the file sek_pol.exe.
Note point 5.2.9 - the place where they mention e-mail (not Internet; the word Internet is to be found nowhere in the "Telecom sectoru policy...")

On March 4, issue 9 of the "Impuls" newspaper, the CPT published a project of the decree according to which the licensing would be done. Text of this project can be seen at the following address: http://www.antzi.bg/net_reg/project_index.html. Reaction to this project followed in a letter of the Board of the Internet Society - Bulgaria, which was sent to the National Assembly (text of this letter can be seen at http://www.isoc.bg/handsoffthenet/).

For a while the state bureaucracy was quiet, until they prepared the Christmas present for the Internauts - the above mentioned order.

At a Board meeting of ISOC-Bulgaria on Dec 26th, 1998 a decision was taken to work out and publish until Jan. 15th, 1999, an "Opinion on the problems of the Internet in Bulgaria", against the will of the government to implement not only licensing but also control over freedom of information.

Restricitions to Internet access and to information, published on the net is not a Bulgarian creation. 3 years ago the Supreme court of the US rejected the CDA. Germany tried stopping access to sites with neo-nazi contents. But let's see which countries are licensing and restricting access to the net:

) China - local ISPs must register.

b) Singapore, Internet is regulated as every other media (tv, radio), and web sites with religious and political contents must register with the government.

c) Vietnam and Saudi Arabia, where there's only one, state owned ISP.

d) India, where prices for leased lines are extremly high.

Here's what KPMG recommends to the EC: Governments must plan convergency of the regulatory bodies so that a division between economic regulation and democratic and authoritative body in the public interest should occur. (http://www.ispo.cec.be/infosoc/promo/pubs/exesum.html).

In April, when the CPT published their decree-project, there was a discussion, which can be seen (in Bulgarian) http://www.antzi.bg/net_reg/comments.html each of the texts of the decree is commented there.

Unfortunately, our government, instead of listening to the European norms, prefers the Asian. With its actions it shows, that it has learn nothing (good) new and has forgotten nothing (bad) old.

Let's see what's in the EU web site, where Information Society is concern ( http://www.europa.eu.int/pol/infso/info_en.htm):

1.Market forces must drive progress to the information society. This means opening up to competition information services and infrastructure.
2.Universal service must be ensured together with network interconnection and the interoperability of services and applications throughout the Union. Similar measures are needed in other regions of the world which also guarantee equal access.
3.The job of financing the information society lies chiefly with the private sector.
4.Cultural and linguistic diversity should be protected and promoted.
5.Personal privacy must be protected and information must be communicated and processed securely and confidentially.
6.Cooperation should be developed with less economically advanced countries, particularly with neighbouring countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
7.Economic operators must be made aware of the new opportunities which the information society presents for them.
8.A similar awareness is needed among the general public. People need access to the appropriate training throughout all levels of education.
There's not a word about licensing of the ISPs or control over information, published in the global net. For the last member of the cabinet Mr. Tagarinski spoke during a conference in Shoumen, February 1998. This is what he said (in Bulgarian) http://www.gyuvetch.com/culture/tagarinski.html)

WHY would licensing of ISPs bring negative results to the overall development of the Internet in Bulgaria:

Besides the listed above, the Internet will become a service, which is hard to get, or even worse - which will be offered only by the state-owned ISP. This will constitute a strong damage to market principles and to fair trade. It is not the first time when the state tries to introduce one of its own companies as a monopolist on the market. Besides, unlike other similar cases, the Internet in Bulgaria has been developed not thanks to, but despite the state. Since the beginning the Internet in Bulgaria was developed by private enterpreneurs and thanks to private companies and students enthusiasm at this moment we have somewhat decent Internet access and services.

More information (about 70 pages) is available in Bulgarian, with detailed descriptions of laws and regulations, quotes from EC documents, the Constitution of Bulgaria, etc., etc. - all against the accepted licensing of ISPs.