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Putin Signs Emergency Phone Call Bill

President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill that bans cell-phone operators from charging a fee for 112 emergency calls, and requires carriers to report callers' location to emergency services, the Kremlin's press service said Tuesday.

The amendments to Russia's law "on communications," which were passed by parliament last month, state that "free calls to emergency services must be provided for every user of communication services, by dialing a single emergency call number," according to the bill posted on the Kremlin's website.

The amendments, which go into effect immediately, also state that carriers don't need to ask for callers' permission to provide their location to emergency services.

The rules are similar to those adopted in many other countries. However, in the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission warns cell phone users that if they make emergency calls from wireless devices, their location can be determined only approximately, and usually isn't specific enough for rescue personnel to reach the caller quickly.

The government has allocated more than 40 billion rubles ($1.2 billion) to get the "1-1-2 System" working in most Russian regions by 2017, Interfax reported.

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