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Communications Expenses Could Be Used to Measure Cost of Living

Medvedev thinks telecom costs should be part of the consumer basket. Igor Tabakov

The cost of mobile communications and Internet access may be added to the basket of consumer goods used as a benchmark for the cost of living, Communications and Press Minister Nikolai Nikiforov said Friday.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev instructed Nikiforov's ministry to look into the matter after the idea of adding communications costs was proposed by Medvedev during a meeting with students of the Siberian Federal University in Krasnoyarsk on Wednesday, Vedomosti reported.

Nikiforov said the decision to tweak the makeup of the benchmark would be preceded by a study that he expects to reveal gaps in the quality and costs of service from city to city.

“Prices for Internet access are a limiting factor. It's not within the means of every citizen, every household, to get connected if they do not fit into a certain basic economic framework. This, in particular, will give us the possibility to conduct more detailed monitoring," the minister said.

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