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Europe in brief

Russia: Peterstar buys ComSet

Peterstar, one of the St. Petersburg's largest telecommunications operators, has acquired Internet provider Kompyuternye Seti, or ComSet, for about half of the company's annual revenues.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, ComSet's client base is growing by 12,000 subscribers per month. Peterstar also hopes to win the title of number-one broadband services provider in St. Petersburg. The company owns a 2000km fibre optic network.



Germany: swift justice for traffic offenders

Traffic offenders in Berlin can blame Siemens Business Services for the delivery of swift justice. Any motorist caught speeding, jumping a red light or parking in an illegal zone will receive a letter from the local police authorities quicker than ever before, the company promises.

Siemens has developed a solution for Landesbetrieb fur Informationstechnik Berlin - an IT service centre for Berlin’s local government - which automates the penalty process and collates details of the traffic offence in an electronic file. Siemens will maintain the system for the next six years as part of a contract worth €4m.



Switzerland: GPS aids Backpackers

Armed with a modern mobile phone or PDA, backpackers will soon be able to roam through Europe's national parks and find their favourite animals and plants with ease.

That is what the WebPark, a consortium of partners from five European countries, is promising. It spent almost three years developing and testing a system that will enhance people's recreational experience in coastal, rural and mountainous areas.

The service interfaces to multiple location technologies, including GPS and location based technologies of mobile operators. Using any HTML, WML or i-mode enabled web browser, backpackers can select text, pictures and video about the park, its tourism facilities, and other information. Tests have been conducted in the Swiss National Park and the Wadden Sea Park in The Netherlands. Swisscom is considering using these services as a test-bed for future mobile development.



Romania: good results for Best Computers

Romanian IT retailer Best Computers reported a turnover of $9.3m in 2003 - 50 per cent more than in the previous year. This year, the company expects an increase of 60 per cent. Best Computers will also open ten new stores, according to Bucharest Business Week. Currently, the company has six stores in Bucharest and one in Braila. Best Computers is part of Best Group - launched in 1997 - which also includes a distribution and Internet security firm. ®

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