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Europe in Brief Now that his cabinet approved the Information Society Germany 2006 action plan, which calls for 75 per cent of Germans over the age of 14 to become Internet users within the next three years, chancellor Gerhard Schröder won back the domain name kanzlerschroeder.de (chancellorshroeder.de).

Until recently, the name belonged to German political activist Bernhard C. from Montabaur, who ran a website to air his opinions about the German government. A German judge ruled that he has no legitimate right to the name and has to give it back to Schröder or face a €250,000 fine.

It is not the first time the German government has forgotten to register domain names. In the past, kanzleramt.de, deutschland.de and kulturstaatsministerin.de all belonged to others. The American Nazi activist Gary Lauck owns kanzleramt.biz and Bernard C. hasn’t been silenced either: he is still the proud owner of kanzlerschroeder.fr.st.



Romania: MMS has arrived

Romania is definitely no longer Ceausescu's country. The Romanians now too have Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), thanks to local operator Connex and German phone manufacturer Siemens. The service, which combines image, sound and text, comes with the Siemens M55 phone.

Dieter Angerer, director of the information and communication department of Siemens Mobile Romania, told Bucharest Business Week that the M55 is designed for "the young, dynamic people who are keen on sharing their experiences with friends and family in their own, personal style". Whether they can afford MMS is a different matter altogether.



Hungary: cutting EDGE

Two of Hungary’s mobile providers are warming up for the next mobile revolution, according to Budapest Business Journal. Westel Mobile and Pannon GSM will roll out EDGE, an intermediate technology to 3G or UMTS. Both companies are the first in Europe to announce plans with EDGE.

The EDGE network offers speeds up to a 100 Kbit per second instead of 30 to 50 Kbit per second with GPRS. Westel already offers the EDGE service commercially, but there are no handsets yet available to support the system.



Netherlands: national ADSL coverage in 2004

Next year the Netherlands will be the first country in the world with a ADSL coverage of 97 per cent. KPN Telecom says it will modify its remaining 555 telephone exchanges, in order to make ADSL available to most rural areas. The remaining three per cent of the Dutch population is affected by technical obstacles such as the distance from their home to the exchange, which determines the maximum ADSL speed.

The number of consumers using ADSL from KPN has now reached 710,000, which is already higher than the year-end expectation of 700,000. The number stood at 310,000 at Q1, but rose to 609,000 by Q3. KPN expects one million customers by the second half of 2004. From January 12, KPN will again increase the ADSL transmission rate to 2 megabytes per second for a standard plan. ®

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