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Russian authorities may switch to common Internet provider

MOSCOW, May 30. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian federal authorities may lose the right to choose Internet providers from 2016, and the Communications and Mass Media Ministry suggests appointing state-controlled telecom giant Rostelecom as the common provider, business daily Vedomosti reported on Friday.

The ministry offers to oblige federal executive bodies to use a common network for data transfer, according to the corresponding draft ruling. The document says that 39 bodies, including the Communications and Mass Media, Economic Development, and Labor ministries, should switch to the common network in 2015, while the remaining 29 units will join the system in 2016.

The government decided in late 2013 to create a common network for federal bodies. The communications ministry signed contracts on the matter with Rostelecom for 2.1 billion rubles effective until the end of 2014. The draft obliges the operator to furnish all the state bodies with communications channels, access nodes, and network equipment.

The Finance Ministry will distribute funds between bodies for the project. The federal budget’s spending on Internet access amounts to 24.28 billion rubles for 2015-2017, but the government could save up to 10% via switches to the common provider. Thus, Rostelecom may earn 21.85 billion rubles if it renders Internet services to state bodies.

In 2013, Rostelecom earned 45.6 billion rubles, or 14% of its revenue, from services provided to the state sector.