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The European Community seems to be showing New Zealand the way with an expanded telecommunications 'universal service obligation'.

The European Community seems to be showing New Zealand the way with an expanded telecommunications "universal service obligation".

Several years ago it mandated member countries to provide their entire populations with access to voice-telephone service and "low-speed internet", says Allan Fischer-Madsen, European vice-chairman of the International Telecommunications Users' Group.

What does "low-speed" mean in this context? Computerworld repeated the question we asked of the government's telecommunications inquiry, which is proposing a similar extension of the kiwi share agreement.

The local inquiry panel's reply -- "probably 14.4Kbits/s." Europe's standard? "Only 2.4 Kbits/s, I'm afraid," says Fischer- Madsen. "But that was a decision taken about five years ago."

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