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02/03/2006 16:00 Local Time 
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Information Society and Telecommunications

The information society policy aims at the equal participation of all in the digital era, the access of all regions to the "global village", the abolishment of discriminations between those who have digital access and those who have not.


Technology and information

With the aim of promoting the information society in a coherent and integrated manner, a separate Operational Programme for the Information Society (OPIS) is proposed in the framework of the present Community Support Framework (2000-2006). This is an innovative horizontal programme, cutting across government departments, which aims at implementing the White Paper of the Greek government entitled “Greece in the Information Society” (February 1999), while also following through the implementation of the Lisbon strategy and Electronic Europe (E-Europe 2002 and 2005).


Telecommunications

In the new international stage, where telecommunications play a vital role, the Greek Ministry of Transport and Communications with the support of the Ministry of National Economy has undertaken an ambitious and multifarious programme, financed to a great extent by the European Union.

The programme is aiming at the upgrading of the infrastructure and the improvement of the offerred services. It places emphasis on the remote areas/communities, as well as at the development of new technologies and services. The telecommunications sector in Greece is being gradually liberalised.  The main aim of the new policy is the creation of the conditions to support new activities in the telecommunications market and the promotion of healthy competition in the areas of fixed and wireless telephony.

This process clears the way for the entry of private providers into telecommunication services, while allowing other state-owned enterprises to offer similar services. As a result of the new policy, as of January 1st 2001, the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) was deprived of its general natural monopoly for all telecommunication services.

The Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) ranks amongst the top groups of companies in Greece and the top ten telecommunications organisations in Europe. It has numerous subsidiaries (COSMOTE, OTEnet) with impressive performance and it participates in the international (global and regional) satellite telecommunications organisations and operational systems such as Intelsat, Inmarsat, Eutelsat and New Skies. OTE extends its activities beyond the Greek frontiers into South-Eastern European markets and the Middle East. Its foreign investment portfolio includes capital investments in other Telecommunication networks (Albania, Armenia, Jordan, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Yemen, Bulgaria, Georgia, Lithuania). Finally, mobile telephony is undoubtedly very popular in Greece.

In a country with a population of roughly 11 million people, there are about 5.6 million cellular telephone customers being served by the three largest cell phone providers in Greece: Vodafone, Telestet and Cosmote.

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